Critical Essay on the novel The Road by Cormac McCarthy

| July 14, 2015
  • *The novel needed to be read for this assignment is The Road by Cormac McCarthy*
  • *The information below is the exact information my teacher provided me for this assignment *
  • *please include any rough work and research used*
  • ¨ You are going to write a critical essay that explores your novel through one of the several critical approaches we have studied in class
  • ¨This essay will incorporate research about/from one of the approaches
    • ¡ That means outside quotes from your own research AND quotes from your novel!


  • ¨Your research must be about/from your chosen critical approach.  In other words, you’re doing TWO things here:
    • ¡ 1: You’re partly doing a research essay on a critical approach or incorporating theories/aspects of your critical approach (i.e. You become that kind of theorist).  Choose one that interests you and you’d like to learn more about
    • ¡ 2: You’re applying that approach to your ISU novel. So you’re partly doing a literary essay in which you are exploring and analyzing the text
  • ¨ you are NOT finding outside quotes ABOUT your novel but you are getting to know more about the theory you have chosen and then you are applying it to our text on your own.
  • ¨ Minimum 12 PPAs! (Point, Proof, Analysis)
  • ¨ Yes, TWELVE. What?! This is your grade 12 final essay! You thought this would be easy? You thought this will be just as short/long as other essays you’ve written? You think you’re ready RIGHT NOW for university and that the essays you’ve written so far in English are university-level essays? THINK AGAIN!!! (about all of it!)
  • ¨ Minimum 6 quotations (PPA) from theory research and 6 quotations (PPA) from your novel
  • ¨ Divide these up any way that best fits your arguments (therefore, NOT NECESSARILY only 3 arguments and certainly NOT just 5 paragraphs (ie. no “hamburger” essays)
  • ¨ It’s grade 12—time to break out of the mould!
  • ¨ Easiest way to think of this essay is: provide a PPA from research and then demonstrate how that is reflected in the novel with your next PPA or vice-versa
  • ¨ Step 1: Background Research – do some research on a potential critical approach to get ideas for your thesis and overall essay
  • ¨ Step 2: Develop and write a thesis
    (properly-worded, formally-written)
  • ¨ Step 3: Write your arguments (minimum of 3, but potentially more, depending on how best to prove your thesis). Might be based on different characters, situations, themes, aspects of your theory, etc.)
  • ¨ Step 4: Research from within the novel (find quotations)
  • ¨
  • ¨ Step 5: Research for outside quotations
    (online and in library)
  • ¨ Step 6: Synthesize these quotes into cohesive arguments (i.e. an essay outline)
  • ¨ Step 7: Write the rough draft (several paragraphs long, must have intro and conclusion)
  • ¨ Step 8: Polish, edit, revise
  • ¨ Step 9: Peer Edit
  • ¨ Step 10: Final draft (requires further revision and polishing)
  • ¨ Step 11: Submit ALL hard copy materials (including research notes, outline, rough draft, etc.)
  • ¨For research you should be looking for:
    • ¡ Books and scholarly journals
      (including online or e-journals only)
  • ¨Your thesis statement must still be:
    • ¡ be succinct (1-2 sentences)
    • ¡ be arguable
    • ¡ be provable
    • ¡ be specific
    • ¡ avoid lists (don’t list what will be your arguments, that can go in your introduction)
    • ¡Include a critical theory (CT) as a focus
      • ¨ Your thesis does not necessarily need to mention the critical approach itself, but it should allude to and clearly argue the TRUTH from that one perspective.
    • ¨Make sure you still make reference back to your thesis in EVERY PPA, research OR text
      • ¡ This means your analysis for research blends with a point you’re making about the text
    • ¨ Your thesis should be the thread that runs throughout your ENTIRE essay
    • ¨ You should be proving it (or at least different parts of it) 12 different times in this essay!
    • ¨ The creative part of essays: how do you not make this sound repetitive?

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