Drama and Research Basics

Drama and Research Basics

In class, we explored how a work of literature can be analyzed by examining traditional literary techniques to examine how an author creates a theme. For your next essay, you’ll be writing about A Midsummer Night’s Dream or Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and using a secondary source to aid your interpretation. 

You’ll be graded on your ability to write a concrete thesis statement and support it with grounded, academic paragraphs. An ideal paragraph has a strong topic sentence, concrete claims, and specific evidence. I’ll pay attention to your ability to integrate literary terminology and your ability to frame and cite sources. 

Only respond to one prompt; only write on one play.

1. Write an analysis of AMND or a Doll’s House by answering the question: How does your author create a theme using imagery? 

2. Write an analysis of AMND or a Doll’s House by answering the question: How does your author create a theme using characterization?

3. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream’s best known speech, Theseus asserts that “The lunatic, the lover, and the poet/ are of imagination all compact” (5.1.7-8). Citing evidence from the play and outside sources, write an essay analyzing Shakespeare’s characterization of love—not only in the play’s action but also in words of the love obsessed characters. Is Shakespearean love merely a kind of madness, or does it contain hints of a guiding wisdom beyond the awareness of lovers themselves?

4. Early in A Midsummer Night’s Dream Egeus declares, “As she is mine, I may dispose of her—/ Which shall be either to this gentleman/ Or to her death—according to our law (1.1.45-8). Later, Oberon declares, “Well, go thy way: thou shalt not from this grove/ Till I torment thee for this injury (2.1.517-18). Compare and contrast how power structures lead to complications for the lovers in both the fairy realm and Athens. Does Shakespeare seem to endorse the position of characters such as Theseus and Oberon, or does he use these conflicts to show the strength of characters at conflict with authority?

5. Compare and contrast Nora’s characterization in act one vs act three. Answer this question: how does contrasting Nora’s characterization’s reveal Ibsen’s theme?

Minimum Length: 825 words, plus a Works Cited page, plus an outline. Max length 1050 words. Works cited and outline don’t count toward word count. 

Organization: Intro, conclusion, body paragraphs, and a clear thesis statement.

Sources: Three minimum: a primary source (the play) plus two secondary sources. Use MLA when citing. Your secondary sources should be scholarly sources from academic journals; you’ll be penalized if you opt to use poor sources. 

Assessment : You will be graded on your ability to 

Write concrete thesis with a clear claim and a reason (20 percent),

Organize your essay with a clear introduction; conclusions, and body paragraphs which include topic sentences, transitions, and balance between claims and evidence (20 percent)

Make original arguments by analyzing the primary sources using literary terminology, claims, and reasons; and explaining, agreeing, and disagreeing with secondary sources (20 percent)

Cite by framing and responding to in-text sources and properly formatting your works cited page (20 percent)

Construct a sentence outline using MLA rules (10 percent)

Format the essay with proper mechanics and grammar (10 percent).

You may view the “rubric” for a more detailed breakdown of these areas. 

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