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Literary Analysis

Paper Objective: In this paper you will consider a work of popular fiction and explain what benefit it can be to contemporary audiences, particularly in helping them understand the relationship between science, religion, and magic.

This assignment will help you develop your skill of discussing, explaining, and analyzing a piece of writing, and it will also help you develop your skills of evaluating a piece of writing and of reacting to another's writing. Additionally, it will demonstrate that you can identify themes within and components of literature.

Harry Dresden, Chris McGrath

Your first step on this assignment is to pick a Dresden Files novel or episode. After choosing a piece, re-read or re-watch it several times to make sure you remember and understand its finer details.  In this paper you will explain what (its theme) and how it means, particularly in relation to science, religion, and magic.

You should discuss how at least one of the elements the author or director uses is essential to the communication of the piece's theme (for example, a thesis for Sharon Olds's "Sex without Love" might be that the sarcastic tone helps convey that people can have different attitudes toward sex) or you might concentrate on how specific symbols or words are used to communicate the piece's theme (a thesis might explore how several of the characters in Ivan Reitman's Evolution illustrate that people who have trouble getting along with others often impede their own success). 

Remember that the theme, for these purposes, can be understood as the moral or lesson that readers learn about their own lives from the poem--and it will have something to do with science, religion, and/or magic.

Remember to state your thesis clearly in your opening paragraph.  You must then pull (and quote) evidence from the piece, or from research on the piece, to support that thesis and organize it in a logical manner.

  The main difficulties you are likely to experience while working on this paper (after deciding what to use) are creating your thesis, narrowing it effectively and then making sure that the rest of your paper supports that thesis and does not stray to other interesting but irrelevant points and/or does not repeat the same supporting points. You should steer clear of including biographical information about the writer or director, as that can often sidetrack you from the theme or lead you to make the error of believing the story's narrator is its author.  Writers often adopt different imaginative personalities to communicate their themes. 

Format: This paper should be double-spaced, carefully edited and proofread, and prepared using MLA format; it should have a heading listing your name, my name, the course title and section number, and the date on it.  You should have the paper number and the title of your essay on a separate centered line before you begin your paper.  Additionally, your last name and the page number should appear at the top right of each page.  The essay should be two to three pages in length with one-inch margins, not including your required Work(s) Cited.


Images from http://www.imagination-forge.com/wp/?p=11 and http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1555601664/tt0486657