English Assignment


Your goal is to “pose an interpretive question about a group of poems by the same author or about a musical album and respond analytically showing your readers how the lyrics/poetry support your interpretation.” You may use any single music album by one artist that features singing/rapping/lyrics or just a group of songs by the same musical artist. You cannot work with instrumental music. Whether you choose poetry or music lyrics, make sure the poems or lyrics all have something in common.

You need to pick no fewer than 3 poems or songs and no more than 5 poems or songs to support your thesis. “In the introduction to your essay, pose an interesting, problematic, and significant question about the lyrics/poetry, one that can be answered several different ways according to the evidence in the text. Look for a question that might lead to differences in opinion among your classmates and that offers readers new insights into the lyrics/poetry. Your task in this assignment is not to discover the right way to interpret the text, but to explain your way of reading some aspect of it.

Using a closed-form structure, present your thesis and your supporting arguments. Before you give your thesis, make clear just what question you are putting to the text and why. It is this question that engages your readers’ interest and makes them look forward to your analysis.” (In other words, no one should ask, “Who cares?” after reading your introductory paragraph). Then, in the body of your paper, explain your own responses to this question, contrasting your answer with other possible interpretations that (may) have been proposed by your classmates (or others) or that you yourself have considered.

You need to provide the citation/integration of at least two secondary sources that provide an insight into your reading of the lyrics/poetry. Feel free to dispute “the alternative interpretations” if necessary, but “concentrate on showing your reader how you arrived at your interpretation and why you think that interpretation is valuable. Use details from the poetry/lyrics (and appropriate secondary sources) for support.”

Good literary questions call attention to problematic details of the text, stimulate conversation, and provoke readers to return to the text to reread and rethink. You know you have a good question if (others) disagree about the answer and (can) contribute their own views to the conversation.” Good questions can arise from your textbook as well as the general questions on text, author, culture, and reader.

Evaluation Criteria:

-Provision of a fairly original interpretive question about poetry/music lyrics with an analytical response to it showing readers where and how the text supports your interpretation through the use of both details from the lyrics/poetry and secondary sources.

-Consideration and integration in writing of the ideas of at least two outside/secondary sources (remember the poems/songs are PRIMARY sources)
-Few grammatical errors; adherence to MLA style.
–Participation in peer editing sessions; evidence shown by draft(s) and peer editing documentation.

Requirements: All drafts and the final product must be typed, doubled-spaced (with one inch margins all around), Times New Roman (or other acceptable 12 pt. Font). The paper should have a proper MLA heading of four lines and a centered title with all pages numbered as per MLA stipulations (consult textbook or Purdue OWL Website).

Last Updated on February 10, 2019

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