Interpretive essay

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This assignment asks you to develop a contextualized interpretive argument about multiple works by a single author, with the aim of understanding their ethos and worldview. Your interpretive argument should arise from representation and analysis of at least one conceptual pattern (a subject, question, or theme that appears across multiple texts) and at least one formal pattern (an element of your author’s style that appears across multiple texts). In order to execute this analysis, you’ll need to keep track of the idiosyncrasies that characterize their writing. These include:

  • preoccupations: What themes run throughout their work? What subjects do they keep returning to? What type of evidence do they examine (and what do they disregard)?
  • values: What ethical stances do they tend to adopt? Do they adhere to or advance a certain ideology? What dilemmas or questions shape their thinking?
  • voice: How does their style inform the ideas they discuss? How would you characterize their tone? What rhetorical strategies do they use to present evidence, make claims, and issue judgments? What are their stylistic tics?

Your final essay must be at least 6 complete pages, and no more than 8 pages, not including Works Cited. It must engage meaningfully with at least 6 sources: at least 4 primary texts, and at least 2 secondary texts that help you contextualize and further develop your own interpretive claims. Follow MLA guidelines for formatting and citation.