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Theme: “a unifying or dominant idea, motif, etc.” A theme is not necessarily a moral of story. For a story like “Chickamauga,” a theme might simply be stated, “War causes unanticipated collateral damage, claiming even the lives of non-combatants.” This is not a moral, but it is a theme. Make sure your chosen theme is fully articulated. If it is one or two words in length, you are not capturing the whole idea/point being made in the story.

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ENG 232 Thematic Explication Paper (3-5 pages, not including works cited) Due August 2nd
Theme: “a unifying or dominant idea, motif, etc.” A theme is not necessarily a moral of story. For a story like “Chickamauga,” a theme might simply be stated, “War causes unanticipated collateral damage, claiming even the lives of non-combatants.” This is not a moral, but it is a theme. Make sure your chosen theme is fully articulated. If it is one or two words in length, you are not capturing the whole idea/point being made in the story.
For this paper, you are required to choose any text that we have covered this semester. It will be your responsibility to write a 3-5 page paper that incorporates two scholarly secondary sources and explains and analyzes how a theme is presented in your chosen text. *Note: There are oftentimes multiple themes in a single text* For the purposes of the paper, you will explain how the author presents this theme using textual evidence from the story/text you selected and support from the secondary sources. For instance, if you chose “The War Prayer” by Twain, you might write about how warmongering can easily cause people to ignore the realities of warfare. Here is an example outline that could be used for an explication paper:
I. Intro – Introduce the text you will be discussing by explaining who wrote it, what time period it is from, and any relevant biographical information about the author (for instance, Hemingway’s own experience in WWI would be relevant in a discussion of “Soldier’s Home.”) Thesis: Clearly state what theme you will be explaining and discussing in your paper.
II. Explain how this theme is presented within the text you chose. Use textual evidence by quoting passages from the story that show the author’s use of this theme. This section should likely be multiple paragraphs.
III. Explain how this text’s theme relates to other texts’ themes. Does it align with/contradict other themes we have encountered?
IV. Conclusion – Close with comments about how the theme affects the reading of this story / how it enhances the efficacy of the story
You may choose to organize your paper in a different way. The primary objectives of this paper remain the same: clearly articulate a theme of a work, explain how the author presents that theme in particular passages, and explain how that theme is echoed or contradicted in other texts.
Rubric
The following rubric will be used to grade your final publish of the assignment. Check your work against the rubric before submitting.
Focus/Thesis: The entire essay is focused and cohesive. The thesis is clear and central to the focus of the rest of the essay. 20%
Evidence/Detail/Content: The author provides a sound thematic analysis and avoids summarizing the literature. The introduction has a hook and thesis. The body paragraphs support the thesis and provide details. Each paragraph has a topic sentence. The conclusion answers the “so what?” 50%
Organization: The essay’s structure makes sense, and the author leads the reader from one idea to another. There are smooth transitions between and within paragraphs. The author makes logical connections between ideas. The author uses the literature’s plot as needed but does not rely on the plot for the structure. 10%
MLA Formatting & Documentation: The author correctly cites paraphrases and quotations in MLA style. All pages (including the works cited) are correctly formatted in MLA style. 15%
Grammar/Mechanics: There are no grammatical or mechanical errors. The essay’s punctuation and spelling are correct. The essay shows evidence of careful editing. The author’s style and voice are lively and engaging. 5%
*Please refer to the resources in Moodle that discuss theme

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