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Must make an argument that responds to this question: “How do ‘personal’ and ‘political’
concerns intersect in this poem?”
3. Must state that argument clearly in a thesis statement in the introduction of the essay.
4. Must spend the body of the essay supporting/proving that thesis statement using evidence
(e.g. quotations and analysis of those quotations) from the poem itself.
a. Your thesis should be one that can be supported using textual evidence alone. You
shouldn’t be going to external sources as support for your argument about the
work. Think of this as a way to figure out how one text in particular works in a way
that you think it does, and then to share what you have learned with your reader.
b. When in doubt, “show your work”!
c. Tip: You will essentially be doing all of this in our synchronous document and in
our synchronous discussions, and when I use quotes from a poem to talk about
what the poem is up to, I’m modeling the exact same thing. Try not to think of this
as a scary “other thing”—it’s what we do all the time!
5. Must conclude by synthesizing the argument and offering a thought-provoking
remark.Imagine, here, that a reader has read your entire essay and agrees with you—you’ve
proven your argument. But then that reader turns to you and says, “So what?” Your
conclusion should include some answer to that reader’s question.
6. A Works Cited in MLA style.
a. You should also use in-text parenthetical citations in MLA style to cite your quoted
materials. See the end of this document for resources for MLA style.
b. Yes, it may well have only one “work” in it because this assignment requires you to
look at only one poem. It may well feel silly to do this anyway, but since it’s a basic
requirement of all academic writing, I’m asking you to do it to keep with good
7. All of the above should be approximately 5 pages in length (excluding the Works Cited),
with 1” margins, in size-12 Times New Roman double-spaced font.