ELIT 48C Kim Palmore 1
Essay 1: A Response to Literature of the Modernist period.
To Lean to Write a Clear and Cohesive Response to Literature
To Learn Rhetorical Strategies: Analysis, Synthesis, Argument, Cause and Effect, Compare and Contrast
To Learn Critical Thinking Skills
To Learn MLA Documentation Style: Integrating quotations; Works Cited
In this second half of our quarter, we have read and discussed multiple texts, theories, and opinions on
both literature and literary analysis, and for this reason, I offer you several choices for your first essay. In
a thesis driven essay of 500 to 750 words, respond to one of the following prompts. You need only the
primary text for this essay, but you may incorporate other stories, manifestos, or critical theory as
additional support. Remember, you can also draw on your own experiences and knowledge to discuss,
explain, and analyze your topic.
Topic: Choose One
How does Ginsberg define the different kinds of madness in the first section of the poem? The narrator argues that
Carl Solomon is in fact mentally ill and needs psychiatric help. The speaker blames "Moloch" for his friend's sad
situation. Who or what does Moloch represent? Does the speaker have grounds for his assignment of blame?
No group defied the rules that defined orderly life in 1950s America quite like the Beats. Ginsberg was no anarchist,
but he believed that the severity of the justice and health systems stunted the creativity of the nation's most
promising individuals. Does the poem attempt to justify breaking the law? Do the law-breakers in the poem espouse
the principle of civil disobedience, or are they just common criminals?
The second and third sections of the poem deal with confinement. Moloch is the god of prisons, governments, and
boring suburbia, while Rockland represents the mental and physical confinement of the mental institutions. Where
do you find examples of physical confinement in Howl, and where do you find examples of mental confinement? Is
there a clear line dividing these two kinds of confinement?
In Ginsberg's view, America has been flipped upside down, and democracy and the common man have taken a
backseat to profits, politicians, and policemen. Does the speaker of Howl have a problem with America in
particular? Consider either Ginsberg’s Marxist or patriotic views and how they shape his opinions as expressed in
Write an essay analyzing Howl through one critical lens.
Note: You are free to pursue another writing topic. Please, discuss it with me before you begin so we can
make sure that it is viable.
Submission Requirements: Please submit an electronic copy to firstname.lastname@example.org
ELIT 48C Kim Palmore 2
Format Requirement: MLA-style formatting and citations
Length: Your finished text should be between 500-750 words, excluding the Works Cited page.
Research Requirements: none
Works Cited Page
A Works Cited page names all of the sources that were used in an essay or research paper; it credits the
source or sources for the information you present, evaluate, analyze, and synthesize to support your
thesis. A Works Cited page also serves as a reference to the sources that were used so that a reader or
writer can quickly refer to the original text. The Works Cited page for this research project will include at
least one primary text. If you use other sources, including other primary or secondary sources from class,
please list those too.
Expected Student Learning Outcomes
§ Demonstrate outlining and brainstorming abilities
§ Demonstrate an awareness of the time needed to plan, search, and write an essay
§ Demonstrate increased awareness of strategies for organizing ideas and structuring essays
§ Demonstrate an ability to use complex sentence structures
§ Demonstrate an understanding of multiple rhetorical strategies
§ Demonstrate active reading strategies by finding textual evidence
§ Learn to integrate quotations effectively and correctly
Previously Learned Skills Required to Complete this Assignment
ü The ability to summarize sources
ü The ability to use multiple rhetorical strategies: Narration, Description, Exemplification
ü An awareness of plagiarism issues
ü The ability to write grammatically correct, clear sentences.
ü The ability to write a clear and concise thesis.
ü The ability to brainstorm material for an essay.
ü The ability to organize an essay
Ø As you (re)read the primary text, keep in mind the prompts and highlight specific passages, lines,
or scenes that may support your argument.
Ø Write a thesis that helps readers understand both your argument and your reasoning.
Ø Include textual examples that illustrate your points.
Ø Avoid telling the reader that something is “interesting,” or “exciting”; instead create images or
use examples that show it.
Ø Come to my office if you are unsure, confused, or behind.
Traps to Avoid:
Ø Choosing a topic that you do not understand or one not on the list that you have not discussed
Ø Failing to assert a clear and strong argument.
Ø Seeking to present the subject from memory or hearsay.
Ø Failing to support the argument with evidence from appropriate sources.
Ø Citing Wikipedia (or other non-academic or unreliable sources) as a source for your paper.