CRITICAL THINKING

| May 19, 2015

 

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HSS 328 Spring 2015 Critical Thinking Essay #2

In a six page paper write an essay with a clear and persuasive thesis that responds to

the below mentioned question. Your essay is an argument. What is an argument

essay? Please discover and research this, but for sure you will be judged on the

quality of your thesis and how well you defend it. For those of you, insecure about

thesis based writing, please see me before you begin to write your essay.

For an example of an argument essay about Brother’s Karamazov, please read this

link: http://www.lqbeta.org/reconsiderations/freedom-by-necessity.php?page=all and

you can look at essays from this website:

http://www.fyodordostoevsky.com/essays.php.

Your essay must be in 12 font, Times New Roman and double-spaced. Your work

should connect to your own worlds and you are not expected to do a lot of research.

You should not have more than three references outside the novel. You are

expected to do close readings and focus on quotes from the novel (details of what

a closed reading is are given below).

An A paper shows exemplary understanding of the novel and show a rigorous effort

to confront the main question in the examples below. This paper has a clear argument

about the novel as it responds to a specific question. This paper uses quotes or refers

to parts of the novel correctly. This paper’s form and style are excellent with unified

and coherent paragraphs that transition well. This paper performs close reading

well(see hand out). The paper uses vocabulary appropriate to the subject, exhibits

correct sentence structure, and follows MLA format for citations. It is well proofread.

Brothers Karamazov is a book of ideas. The novel concerns itself with the eternal

questions, organizing itself around discussion surrounding religious faith, atheistic

nihilism (pro and contra), justice, existentialism, evil, parenthood, love, families, and

so many other contentious issues. Within this issues, many questions are raised and

answered. But which of the book’s many questions is the most important? In other

words, which idea is the “hero” of the book? In your paper you might choose one idea

as the book’s central idea and argue why that idea is dominant or important.

Investigate how this idea is significant for the humanities. The client has chosen the

theme of suffering as the hero of the book.

What is Close Reading

Close reading is a specific method of literary analysis, which uses the interpretation of

a small piece of a text as a way to think about the whole. This kind of analysis invites

readers to pay close attention to the effects of the specific words on the page. We ask

ourselves why each word was chosen, how it contributes to the broader themes and

ideas of the text, and how it interacts with the other words/images of the text.

There is no “right” way to analyze a text, but there are more and less convincing ways

of interpreting different passages. The steps below will help you to persuasively close

read a passage in a literary text:

1. Summary

Page 2 of 2

2

Read the passage once without making any annotations. Start by asking yourself:

what’s going on here? What is the speaker/character/narrator saying? Who is

speaking? In what context? If you are unable to write a 1-2 sentence summary of the

passage, read through again until you have a clearer idea. Don’t panic if you’re

unsure, many texts are deliberately ambiguous or confusing; it is not always possible

to say for definite what is happening.

2. Mood & Tone

The second time you read through, think about the overall mood created by the

writing. Is it comic, tragic, sinister, serious? What is the tone of the writing: formal,

playful, ironic? Does the writer use understatement or exaggeration?

3. Literary Devices

Circle/underline the specific words, images and literary devices which contribute to

the mood and tone you have identified. These might include any of the following:

Unusual vocabulary/word choice (archaic words, neologisms, foreign

imports, slang/colloquialisms). Use an online dictionary such as

www.askoxford.com if you need to look up words you don’t recognize.

Symbols: does the writer use images which seem to represent

something else?

Metaphors and/or similes

Striking comparisons or contrasts

Personification

Alliteration and/or onomatopoeia

4. Structure 
Consider the overall “shape” of the passage you are analyzing. In

The Brothers Karamazov, does Dostoyevsky use regular punctuation and

sentence structures? What poetic forms does he employ? Is there dialogue in

the piece? What is its effect?

5. Bigger Picture

Having considered these details, you can start to develop your overall interpretation of

the passage. Consider the ways that your passage fits into the text as a whole. What

do you think is the text’s main message? How does it contribute to the broader themes

of the work? How do the particular literary devices you have identified help to

emphasize, intensify or undercut the other questions and issues that the text raises?

 

Preview attachment brothers_karamazov book.pdf

Preview attachment Essay written by client.docx

Page 1 of 2

1

HSS 328 Spring 2015 Critical Thinking Essay #2

In a six page paper write an essay with a clear and persuasive thesis that responds to

the below mentioned question. Your essay is an argument. What is an argument

essay? Please discover and research this, but for sure you will be judged on the

quality of your thesis and how well you defend it. For those of you, insecure about

thesis based writing, please see me before you begin to write your essay.

For an example of an argument essay about Brother’s Karamazov, please read this

link: http://www.lqbeta.org/reconsiderations/freedom-by-necessity.php?page=all and

you can look at essays from this website:

http://www.fyodordostoevsky.com/essays.php.

Your essay must be in 12 font, Times New Roman and double-spaced. Your work

should connect to your own worlds and you are not expected to do a lot of research.

You should not have more than three references outside the novel. You are

expected to do close readings and focus on quotes from the novel (details of what

a closed reading is are given below).

An A paper shows exemplary understanding of the novel and show a rigorous effort

to confront the main question in the examples below. This paper has a clear argument

about the novel as it responds to a specific question. This paper uses quotes or refers

to parts of the novel correctly. This paper’s form and style are excellent with unified

and coherent paragraphs that transition well. This paper performs close reading

well(see hand out). The paper uses vocabulary appropriate to the subject, exhibits

correct sentence structure, and follows MLA format for citations. It is well proofread.

Brothers Karamazov is a book of ideas. The novel concerns itself with the eternal

questions, organizing itself around discussion surrounding religious faith, atheistic

nihilism (pro and contra), justice, existentialism, evil, parenthood, love, families, and

so many other contentious issues. Within this issues, many questions are raised and

answered. But which of the book’s many questions is the most important? In other

words, which idea is the “hero” of the book? In your paper you might choose one idea

as the book’s central idea and argue why that idea is dominant or important.

Investigate how this idea is significant for the humanities. The client has chosen the

theme of suffering as the hero of the book.

What is Close Reading

Close reading is a specific method of literary analysis, which uses the interpretation of

a small piece of a text as a way to think about the whole. This kind of analysis invites

readers to pay close attention to the effects of the specific words on the page. We ask

ourselves why each word was chosen, how it contributes to the broader themes and

ideas of the text, and how it interacts with the other words/images of the text.

There is no “right” way to analyze a text, but there are more and less convincing ways

of interpreting different passages. The steps below will help you to persuasively close

read a passage in a literary text:

1. Summary

Page 2 of 2

2

Read the passage once without making any annotations. Start by asking yourself:

what’s going on here? What is the speaker/character/narrator saying? Who is

speaking? In what context? If you are unable to write a 1-2 sentence summary of the

passage, read through again until you have a clearer idea. Don’t panic if you’re

unsure, many texts are deliberately ambiguous or confusing; it is not always possible

to say for definite what is happening.

2. Mood & Tone

The second time you read through, think about the overall mood created by the

writing. Is it comic, tragic, sinister, serious? What is the tone of the writing: formal,

playful, ironic? Does the writer use understatement or exaggeration?

3. Literary Devices

Circle/underline the specific words, images and literary devices which contribute to

the mood and tone you have identified. These might include any of the following:

Unusual vocabulary/word choice (archaic words, neologisms, foreign

imports, slang/colloquialisms). Use an online dictionary such as

www.askoxford.com if you need to look up words you don’t recognize.

Symbols: does the writer use images which seem to represent

something else?

Metaphors and/or similes

Striking comparisons or contrasts

Personification

Alliteration and/or onomatopoeia

4. Structure 
Consider the overall “shape” of the passage you are analyzing. In

The Brothers Karamazov, does Dostoyevsky use regular punctuation and

sentence structures? What poetic forms does he employ? Is there dialogue in

the piece? What is its effect?

5. Bigger Picture

Having considered these details, you can start to develop your overall interpretation of

the passage. Consider the ways that your passage fits into the text as a whole. What

do you think is the text’s main message? How does it contribute to the broader themes

of the work? How do the particular literary devices you have identified help to

emphasize, intensify or undercut the other questions and issues that the text raises

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