First Essay Assignment

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Choose one of the following poems (all are in the Course Reader):

Write an essay on the one poem you choose, focussing on the content of the poem (that is, what it is saying) and the language of the poem (that is, how it says it). You may wish also to focus on the use of trees or tree images in the poem, though this is optional. You may ask yourself: What does the tree symbolize and how is the language of the poem contributing to my understanding of that symbol? What are the most interesting words in the poem, and how are they being used, especially in light of what the poem says? What words does the poem use in an interesting or novel way? How do the rhyme words contribute to the content of the poem? (You do not have to answer all or even any of these questions in your essay: they are provided here to help guide your thinking as you prepare to write your essay.)

Your essay should have a thesis, a theory or statement you want to prove or defend in the essay. The thesis should be stated clearly in the introductory paragraph. The whole essay should contribute to proving or supporting the thesis.

The essay should be between two full pages and three full pages: do not submit an essay that is shorter than two full pages, and do not submit an essay that is longer than three full pages. Use a 12-point Times New Roman font. Use double-spaced lineation. Do not add extra lines between paragraphs (other than the one blank line). Use one-inch margins on all four sides of the page. (Caution to Microsoft Word users: make sure the margins are correct.) Use left-alignment justification only (no full justification). Do not include a separate title page. Follow the essay presentation guidelines and example on pages 404-412 of Hacker.

Document your sources properly in a Works Cited page (which does not count as part of the length of the essay). For this assignment, you should not use any source other than the poem itself (from the Course Reader) and the Oxford English Dictionary (online).

Please include your seminar instructor’s name at the top of the first page (where you put your teacher’s name), along with your section number.

The essay is due on October 1st before the lecture starts. Late essays will be penalized according to the lateness policy included on the course syllabus.