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EARLY AMERICAN VOICES Case 1: Reader-Response Literary Analysis

Case 1 is a first experience writing a literary analysis. It is the first and only essay this session that may be written in the first person, “I.” It is a first opportunity to present your own observations and interpretations as a close reader of select texts.

Write a literary analysis in which you find “connections” between three of the readings from the list below. Specifically, for this first essay, focus on your impression of the voice of the speaker and their themes. A theme is an author’s message, or “lesson,” to the reader. It is often a general truth about life or mankind and represents universal and timeless ideas that are relevant in most people’s lives. Some might call it the “take-away” of the writing. For example, at the end of a fairy tale we might close the book and say, “Wow, honesty is the best policy!” Or after viewing a romantic comedy we might say, “The nice guy always gets the girl in the end.” Though simple examples, these are “messages,” or themes.

For this first essay, only your interpretation is to be included. No “research” or secondary sources are to be used in the process of writing this first essay; it is to be entirely written based on your point of view and supported with body points and details from the texts. There is no “correct” answer here.

Please note that uploaded student essays are scanned by Turnitin. As such, please be sure that your essay includes your own thoughts, words, and ideas.

Essays must be double-spaced in Times or Times New Roman font (12 cpi) with standard one-inch margins and no less than 700 words of text.


6/27/24, 12:23 PM Case – ENG201 Survey of American Literature (2024JUN24FT-1) 1/3
A well-organized essay has a beginning, middle, and an end. The beginning, or introduction, should include an opening sentence to grab your reader’s attention. Follow the opening sentence with a brief introduction to the selected readings. Be sure to always include the authors’ full names in the introduction of the essay. After that first instance, only the surname is used throughout the essay. The last sentence of the introduction is the thesis statement. The thesis states the main point of the essay, which in this case, would be a literary analysis addressing a common theme in selected readings.

A well-supported essay includes supporting points, details, and examples. For this essay, you must decide the best way to organize the body of the essay. Will each paragraph address a reading, or will your paragraphs be organized by themes? In any case, the body of the essay must support (explain) your interpretation (analysis) of the readings and the “connections” between them. Each body paragraph should begin with a topic sentence that states the main point of the paragraph.

The conclusion typically summarizes the main points of the essay and/or closes with a lasting impression. You may wish to suggest why these readings have endured over the years and/or why their themes are especially topical in our society today.

Be sure to proofread your essay and edit for proper grammar, punctuation, diction (word choice), and spelling, as errors in sentence skills will lower a final grade. A grade will be determined based on the Module 1 Case expectations and the Trident University General Education rubric for English found in the course syllabus.

In an organized and well-supported literary analysis, discuss voice and common themes in three of the following selections:

A letter to Ferdinand and Isabelle regarding his first voyage, Christopher Columbus (1493)

“Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America,” Benjamin Franklin (1784)

Speech to the Osages, Tecumseh (Winter 1811-12)

“Appeal to the Christian Women of the South,” Angelina E. Grimke (1836)

from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Written by Himself, Frederick Douglas (1845)

from “Ain’t I a Woman,” Sojourner Truth (1851)

from Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Harriet Jacobs (1861

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