LIT 322 Final Project
November 2, 2022
Imagine that the Literature Department at SNHU is creating a journal of critical literary studies. The editors of the journal have issued a call for papers for a special issue on contemporary and popular fiction. Specifically, the editors are looking for critical essays that compare and contrast a theme that reflects trends in contemporary literature and the connection to the commercial success of those works. Contributors are encouraged to consider the question of why certain books become popular. Why do these works resonate with so many people? Is the commercial success of these works connected to concerns or issues in our
everyday lives? Are their themes universal and/or complex? Or, do they focus on themes or events of particular concern within our current society?
Prepare a 5–7 page submission to this journal. Your essay should provide a literary analysis of two selected popular works of contemporary fiction, which you have read in this course. Select 1–2 literary devices (symbol, metaphor, imagery, etc.) to illustrate that theme in both novels. (See the complete list of literary devices on the Norton Anthology website.) Your goal is to create a thesis that makes a claim about your chosen theme and literary device. Here is a sample thesis on another topic and work:
In Ghost Singer, Anna Lee Walters uses ghosts, particularly the figure of the naked Indian man, to record and recover the violent and erased histories of Native Americans; similarly, in Donald Duk, Frank Chin uses ghosts to haunt the dreams of Donald Duk to help reestablish Chinese traditions and make the history of Chinese immigrants and Chinese-Americans visible. Thus, the theme of cultural haunting in Donald Duk and Ghost Singer becomes a reconstructive agent, functioning as a means of cultural translation—a vehicle for the reestablishment of history and tradition.
As you compare and contrast the theme in both works, discuss how the theme reflects trends in contemporary literature and/or current societal events. Also, consider the connection of this common theme to the commercial success of the novels. For example, you might consider how Suzanne Collins uses televised interviews in The Hunger Games and Gillian Flynn uses Amy’s false diary entries in Gone Girl to illustrate the theme of appearance versus reality. As you write your paper, analyze specific passages and include concrete examples to support your interpretation of the literary device and theme.
The following critical elements must be included in your essay:
I. Craft the Introduction to Your Essay
A. Theme and Novel Introduction: Introduce your two novels and the theme, which is present in both works. Discuss why this theme was chosen.
B. Thesis Statement: Write a clear thesis statement indicating how you will compare and contrast the way in which each book addresses this theme. Include your general thoughts about whether this adds to or detracts from the book’s popularity.
II. Craft the Body of Your Essay
A. Literary Analysis: The paper must analyze at least one specific literary device—such as the use of plot or imagery in the texts. If you choose to analyze the plot, for example, do not merely summarize the texts. Thoroughly analyze the chosen literary device, as it relates to central theme, across multiple texts. In other words, the paper should highlight your literary analysis skills.
B. Compare and Contrast: The paper must compare and contrast the use of the chosen literary element(s) between the two texts. Specifically,
how does each author use the chosen element(s) to illuminate a theme? In what ways are the authors’ uses of the literary device(s) similar? In what ways do they differ? Explain how the literary device(s) and/or theme add to or detract from the book’s popularity.
C. Supporting Evidence: The paper must include specific textual support (e.g., quotations, passage references) to help build your thesis argument.
A minimum of two course texts must be cited. You should also cite two academic sources (critical essays, book chapters, or periodical articles).
D. Interpretation: The paper must clearly apply the analysis of the literary device(s) to a common theme and discuss trends in contemporary literature, current societal events, and the commercial success of the novels. Include a brief discussion of historical happenings that may have influenced the genre, author, or work.
III. Craft the Conclusion of Your Essay
A. Review: Be sure to circle back to your thesis statement and review the main points you made in the body of your essay.
B. Summarize: Include your final thoughts about the way the author addresses the theme and whether this adds to or detracts from the book’s popularity.
IV. Writing Mechanics
A. Structure: As you develop your thesis, be sure to use a clear pattern of organization. Make sure your flow of ideas is logical and easy to understand.
B. Articulation of Response: The paper should be free of errors related to citations, tone, style, grammar, spelling, and syntax. It should be presented in a professional and easy-to-read format.