The American War in Vietnam 1
ANALYTICAL ESSAY #2
Students are expected to write a 3-4 page comparative analysis paper on two assigned primary
texts. One text must be from the third unit of the course, “The War in Vietnamese Contexts”:
Bao Ninh’s The Sorrow of War, Nguyen Huy Thiep’s “The General Retires,” or the excerpts from
Le Ly Hayslip’s When Heaven and Earth Changed Places. The second text must be from the fourth
unit of the course, “Refugee Narratives, Diasporic Imaginaries”:
• Viet Thanh Nguyen, “Black-Eyed Women” and “War Years” from The Refugees
• Dir. Gail Dolgin and Vicente Franco, Daughter from Đà Nẵng (2002)
• Aimee Phan, “We Should Never Meet” from We Should Never Meet
• GB Tran, Vietnamerica: A Family’s Journey (2010)
Your essay should present a thesis about the significance of the relationship between the two
works you have chosen. As always, you need to support your argument with concrete textual
evidence and close reading analysis. Papers will be evaluated on four main criteria: (1) thesis and
argumentation; (2) close reading and comparative analysis; (3) organization and structure; and
(4) formatting and style.
As you write…
• Keep in mind that you are not comparing and contrasting your chosen texts just for the
sake of highlighting similarities and differences. Instead, use your analysis of these works
to support a broader argument about what kinds of insights we gain by putting these two
texts in conversation with each other. In other words, think carefully about your own
motive as a writer and what you hope a reader will be able to take away from your
discussion of these two works.
• Remember to keep your essay as focused and coherent as possible. To do so, you might
want to identify specific literary elements (e.g. characterization, narrative perspective,
themes, etc.) that are vital to the argument you are making. This will help you organize
your thinking about your chosen texts and give structure to your essay.
• The passages you cite should be well-chosen and relevant to your thesis. When you quote
from the text, you should take the time and space necessary to unpack and elaborate on
how that quote supports your argument at that particular point.
• Never generalize or make broad, sweeping claims—always be specific and explicit, and
say only what you can prove in the scope of your essay. (In other words, avoid vague
phrases like “Throughout history,” “Many people say,” “Women have always been
• To avoid generalization, define key terms. Do not assume that your readers share the
same understanding of concepts like “society,” “feminism,” or “culture.” Also, keep in
mind that dictionary definitions may not always be the best resources for your writing
because they are written for popular audiences. Instead, consider defining these ideas in
your own words so their connection to your argument and the texts you are examining is
AMST 150. The American War in Vietnam 2
• 3-4 double-spaced pages, typed, in standard 12-point Times New Roman font, with 1-inch
margins, and page numbers in the upper right-hand corner
• Include a heading in the upper-left hand corner that lists your name, TA’s name, course
number, and date
• Give your essay an informative and, if possible, engaging title
• Include proper parenthetical citations in MLA/Chicago citation style
Refer to your TA for specific instructions.
The final grade for a late paper will be dropped one whole letter grade for each day it is late,
including weekends. For example, a paper that merits a “B” will result in a “C” grade if it is turned
in one day late. Deadline extensions, though rare, may be granted for extenuating circumstances.
Students must consult TAs for an extension at least one week before a paper is due.
Last Updated on March 6, 2018 by EssayPro