EWRT 1C Kim Palmore 1
Essay 1: A New Critical Response to Poetry.
To Lean to Write a Clear and Cohesive Response to Literature using the New Critical approach
To Use Rhetorical Strategies: Analysis, Synthesis, Argument, Cause and Effect, Compare and
To Learn Critical Thinking Skills
To Learn MLA Documentation Style: Integrating quotations; Works Cited
In a thesis driven essay of 500 to 750 words, respond to one of the following poems using the
strategies of the New Critic. You need only the primary text for this essay, but you may
incorporate other texts we have read thus far as additional support.
New Criticism relies heavily on doing a good close reading. In this way, a writer can analyze a
text by paying careful attention to paradox, irony, ambiguity, tension, and the figurative language
of a short passage or poem. This attention to detail allows you to assess and discuss the larger
themes or concerns of the text as a whole. For this assignment, use a New Critical approach to
do a close reading of one of the following poems:
¨ “There Is a Girl Inside”
¨ “The Fish”
¨ “A Black Rook in Rainy Weather”
¨ “Memories of West Street and Lepke”
An effective close reading will discuss HOW the selected passage communicates meaning (what
poetic or rhetorical strategies are used) as well as address WHY these strategies are used in this
One of the greatest challenges of a close reading is synthesis. Even as you divide the poem into
its composite elements, you will want to discuss how those elements come together to form a
whole. Your essay should reveal how the parts of the poem relate and form a totality.
Ideally, your paper should reveal some of the excitement that first inspired you to choose this
Submission Requirements: Please submit an electronic copy to
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
EWRT 1C Kim Palmore 2
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 Stone Butch Blues. 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 text, keep in mind the prompt and highlight specific words, lines, or
images 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 information that is not intrinsic to the piece: That is make sure it is “in the text.”
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 with me.
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