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English 11 Our Town Essay
Must be submitted to turnitin.com by Friday, October 28 at 3:30 p.m.
Hard copy by Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at beginning of period
This assignment will accomplish several goals:
1. introduce you to literary criticism
2. reinforce MLA rules
3. develop signal phrase skills
4. help you to synthesize and analyze themes of Our Town
MLA format ____________(up to 10 points)
Use of direct quotes ______( up to 10 points)
Thesis in first paragraph and use of transitions________(up to 10 points)
Length and development_________________(at least 300 words, 2, 3, pages with Works Cited as last page-up to 10 points)
Mechanics, spelling, grammar______________(up to 10 points)
Total points _________________(up to 50)
You will choose one essay to answer in at least 300 words. Your thesis will be in the first paragraph and you may use other sources if you wish, but you must paraphrase and cite them properly with parenthetical citations.
Questions to choose from:
How do you interpret this quote? What implications does it have for your reading of the play? If you were directing a film of Our Town, would you let Emily live? Why?
7. Why does Wilder separate the three acts as: Daily Life, Love and Marriage, Death? Why not other options, such as birth, marriage, and death?
8. Why does Wilder follow George and Emily, and not other characters?
9. Is this a quintessentially American play, or would people from other countries and cultures also appreciate it? Why?
A signal phrase lets us know that a quote and a paraphrase are coming; they may also occur after the quote to connect it to a new idea. It is essential that the quotes enhance your writing instead of disconnecting your ideas. It is your paper, not Wilder’s.
There are three techniques that are useful in integrating quotes into your own sentences; ALL require contextual set-up beforehand. In your Our Town essays, you will be required to use of at least TWO of the techniques reviewed here (so you need at least two pieces of textual evidence).
Technique #1: Full sentence set up for a full sentence quote
· Block quotes (quotes of more than three lines)
· Quotes which are best explained when one or more full sentences of text are required
Long quotes require different MLA rules. See example below:
Nick makes it clear to us in retelling Gatsby’s first kiss with Daisy that though the act accomplished his dreams, it also destroyed them:
He talked a lot about the past, and I gathered that he wanted to recover something,
some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy. His life had been
confused and disordered since then, but if he could once return to a certain
starting place and go over it slowly, he could find out what that thing
Technique #2: Partial sentence set-up completed by full sentence quote
Proper punctuation and set up:
· a verb such as “says,” “writes,” or “indicates,” followed by a comma
Fitzgerald connects the realization of the Daisy image with a simile during their first kiss, saying, “At [Gatsby] lips’ touch [Daisy] blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete” ( Fitzgerald 111).
Technique #3: Partial sentence set-up completed by partial quote.
Proper punctuation: same rules apply as to any full sentence. Set up and quote, together, must read as a complete, non-run-on sentence.
Nick suggests, no matter how much Daisy might love Gatsby, he will never be satisfied until “she had obliterated four years with that sentence: ‘I never loved you’” (Fitzgerald 109).