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Aim: To come to a better understanding of Sag Harbor, to practice literary analysis (specifically close reading), and to get those writerly juices flowing.
Prompt: Sag Harbor offers little by way of eventful plot; yet it builds a striking picture–of characters, a small community, a place in time, etc.–through the accumulation of seemingly inconsequential detail. Put differently: Through apparently trivial details (incidents, background episodes, character details, interactions, etc.) the novel’s tone, concerns, and ideas emerge.
In this essay, I want you to focus on one episode from Sag Harbor in detail, making a case for what’s significant about it and how it ties into (or helps us better understand) the novel’s primary themes, concerns, etc. Basically, you are doing a close reading of a scene, and showing why it’s important.’
For instance, you might consider the New Coke incident, or the chicken that Benji’s dad grills, or the time the power goes out, or Benji’s Siouxsie and the Banshees t shirt . . . But make sure you focus your analysis on one scene, and make sure you have something specific to say about it.
Guidelines: 1) Give your paper an interesting and informative title, 2) format it in the normal way (name, date, 1 inch margins, 12 point font, double spaced, indented paragraphs, etc.) 3) use no outside sources or online material 4) have an introduction and conclusion, but try to avoid an organizational pattern that reeks of the High School Five Paragraph Essay and 5) use quotations and textual evidence.
The essay is 3-4 pages (circa 800-1000 words).
Essays will be evaluated primarily for the following:
To what extent does it have a clear main idea / argument?
To what extent does the writer offer careful textual analysis and support their claims with evidence?
To what extent does the essay have a unified, coherent focus?