Essay 1

These papers will be graded, but they are basically diagnostic, so that I can familiarize myself immediately with your writing and interpretive skills. In order to write this paper, you need to perform a close reading of the poem or short story. All ideas are to be your own (or those of classmates or the professor, always acknowledged, of course), and you should not consult any literary criticism for this assignment. You can, however, cite any of the assigned readings up through Session #4, if you believe that it can be useful to constructing your argument. In two pages, you cannot be exhaustive; so you will likely wish to select some aspect or passage of the text as the focus of your essay.

A good 2-page essay will be able to synthesize a good deal of already processed information and interpretation. If you are writing on the short story, you can analyze the story's structure, narrative voice, tone, or narrative temporal perspective. If you are writing on the poem, definitely consult "Introducción a la poesía" by Friedman, Valdivieso, and Virgilio and "La poesía: Guía general para el lector". If you are writing on the short story, I do not want a plot summary, that is, a lengthy reconstruction of what happens. If you are writing on the poem, however, it might be interesting to note if anything concrete actually happens during the poem, and to reflect on why there is so much or so little action. (If you want to read an example of an analysis of one of Darío's early sonnets, you can read the poem "Ite, missa est" [1896] and my own quick commentary on it. Also, if you chose to write on "A la deriva," you should consult the reading questions for this story and you can write on any of these questions (or combination thereof) or design your own topic. However you design your topic, you should not stray from what is written in the text, itself. In all cases, this is supposed to be a close textual reading.

I am looking forward to seeing what each one of you can come up with, working on your own.