Final Comments on Room
Introduction to essay #3
Writing essay #3
Final Exam Review
End of Days!
Room: Approaches and Ideas?
“In the night there’s vampire germs floating around with masks on so we can’t see
their faces and an empty coffin that turns into a huge toilet and flashes the whole
world away. […] Then Ajeet is all crazy putting Raja’s poo in a parcel to mail to us
because I kept six toys, somebody’s breaking my bones and sticking pins in them”
“He thinks my brain is probably doing a spring cleaning. […] ‘Now you’re safe, it’s
gathering up all those scary thoughts you don’t need anymore, and throwing them
out as bad dreams.’ […] I don’t say because of manners, but actually he’s got it
backwards. In Room I was safe and Outside is the scary” (218-219).
Q: Is Dr. Clay right about the cause of Jack’s bad dreams? Is his brain doing a
“spring cleaning” to throw away scary memories during the captivity?
Q: Why does Ma become defensive
towards the doctors as they attempt
to treat Jack’s wounds?
Anger is a typical reaction after a
traumatic event. However, as
Donoghue illustrates, Jack was all she
had. Ma’s only reason for living is
Jack, keeping him safe and raising
him was all she cared about in Room.
Jack helps her cope with her
situation and ultimately is her savior.
For Ma, this was insulting to her, as
would anyone be if they were
question about their whole life’s
PASSAGE: “I am using the the Dora
Explorer passage. This is when he
first introduces us to his friends and
describes what goes on in the TV. The
passage is too long to post.”
(This is one of my favorite passages
because it is very innocent and
QUESTION: Using a psychoanalytic
lens, what does this passage say
about Jack and what he believes to
Essay #3: Response to the Novel
The Writing Assignment
In a thesis driven essay of 4-7 pages, analyze one or more
aspects of Elie Wiesel’s Night, Cormac McCarthy’s Outer
Dark, or Emma Donoghue’s Room. Consider using one
extrinsic theoretical lens (Feminist, Psychoanalytic, or
Trauma theories), we have practiced this quarter to
complicate your argument. Aim to convince readers that
your interpretation adds to the conversation among those
who read stories and write about them. Back up your
analysis with reasons and support from the story. Use the
critical strategies that we have practiced this quarter.
See the complete assignment on our website
Due before the Final
Submission Requirements: Please submit
an electronic copy to
Format Requirement: MLA-style
formatting and citations
Length: Your finished text should be
between four and seven pages, excluding
the Works Cited page.
Research Requirements: 3-5 secondary
sources are required for this essay.
The Interpretive LiteraryThesis
The most common method of examining a text is through
an argumentative literary paper: a paper with an
interpretive literary thesis. Note that an interpretive
literary paper differs from a simple literary analysis. An
interpretive paper or analysis argues; a simple literary
analysis does not argue but rather just points out the
elements of literature in a literary work.
Do some reading and research: What do you need to know to refine
or support your idea.
Develop a working thesis: this must be an arguable point.
Outline your main points
Gather sources and textual evidence
Revise, Revise, Revise
How to Proceed
Consider tensions and themes in the text. Use a theoretical lens
to imagine these tensions and themes from different
perspectives. Sometimes, ideas are fuzzy in their earliest stages.
As you read, think, and write, your idea should take on more
clarity and depth. Sometimes the opposite happens; if it does,
discard the idea and begin again. Often, such failures are
Creative ideas and uncommon theses are great, but be sure that
you can find adequate support for your thesis. Also, make sure
that there is not strong proof against your thesis in the literary
work. It also is acceptable to have a more usual or average
interpretation; however, avoid using a thesis that is so obvious
to the other readers of the literary work that they could choose
your thesis and write your paper as easily as you. You want to
have at least some originality.
The thesis statement is the most important
part of your paper
1. The thesis statement is the announcement of the analytical argument that you
intend prove in your paper. It is the readers’ road map. It is your road map.
2. It should probably be placed somewhere in the introduction of your paper. It
often fits well at the end, though you are not confined by that rule.
3. Successful thesis statements provoke thought and should read beautifully.
This is not the place for awkward sentences or grammar errors.
4. Your working thesis statement should generally include two parts:
What claim are you making about the text?
Why is your claim important? Your thesis should answer the “so what?”
5. A thesis statement is usually, but can be more than, one sentence long.
Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn is a great
Why is this thesis weak? Think about what
the reader would expect from the essay
This thesis suggests you will provide a general,
appreciative summary of Twain’s novel. This is your
opinion of the novel. This is not an interpretive thesis;
instead, think about why it’s such a great novel—what
do Huck’s adventures tell you about life, about America,
about coming of age, or about race relations?
Pick an aspect of the novel that you think is important
to its structure or meaning—for example, the role of
storytelling, the contrasting scenes between the shore
and the river, or the relationships between adults and
In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain develops a
contrast between life on the river and life
on the shore.
Is this one better? Why? What will your
analysis reveal to the reader?
Here’s a working thesis with potential: you have highlighted an
important aspect of the novel for investigation; however, it’s still
not clear what your analysis will reveal. Your reader is intrigued,
but is still thinking, “So what? What’s the point of this contrast?
What does it signify?”
Perhaps you are not sure yet, either. That’s fine—begin to work on
comparing scenes from the book and see what you discover. Free
write, make lists, jot down Huck’s actions and reactions. Eventually
you will be able to clarify for yourself, and then for the reader, why
this contrast matters.
Through its contrasting river and shore scenes, Twain’s Huckleberry
Finn suggests that to find the true expression of American
democratic ideals, one must leave “civilized” society and go back to
This final thesis statement presents an interpretation of a literary
work based on an analysis of its content. The words I have bolded are
forecasting words—words that you will return to in the essay as you
work to prove your thesis.
Of course, for the essay itself to be successful, you must now present
evidence from the novel that will convince the reader of your
Modified from a handout from “The Writing Center.” University of North Carolina
The blogging post points (150) require self-
assessment. Consider three aspects of your responses:
• First, how many of the posts did you make? (35 possible)
• Second, what was the quality of your responses?
• Third, how timely were your submissions?
Write a brief argument justifying your grade.
This is due Friday before noon.
Please submit your justification as an email to
100 points available
Comprehensive objective section, with an emphasis
on classes 38 to 47 (about 2/3 of the test is on the
new material): 60 points
Essay Question: 500 words: 40 points
Schedule and Due Dates
Class 52: Wednesday
No formal meeting: optional individual
Class 53: Thursday
No formal meeting: optional individual
Class 54: Friday
Homework Evaluations due at noon
Class 55: Monday
Make-up or re-take of exam #1 or #2
Essay revisions due before class
Essay #3 Due before the Final meeting.
10:30 Class meets Tuesday 6/24 9:15-11:15
11:30 Class meets Wednesday6/25 11:30-1:30
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