Literature Writing on John Smith (SHORT ESSAY) Details below

Description

1. Based on the readings from weeks one and two,

discuss the images of


America the European writers constructed to promote colonization and


settlement. What kinds of unique natural resources and environmental factors


did they extol in their accounts of the New World?

Relate these images to

natural resources and environmental factors today.

(JOHN SMITH ATTACHMENT IS


THE PASSAGE FROM READING!)

2. Based on the readings from weeks one and two, choose one passage written

by one of the authors we’ve read.

Identify the author and the title of the


work. Then analyze the passage you chose in terms of its significance and


historical impact. You should explain why it was chosen, look at the details


provided in the passage, and explain in detail what the passage suggests


about the work as a whole including its value to American history as well as


to American literature.

3. This should be a

500-750 word essay and only be written in the third


person.

In the upper left-hand corner of the paper, place your name, the professor’s

name, the course name, and the due date for the assignment on consecutive

lines. Double space your information from your name onward, and don’t forget

a title. All papers should be in Times New Roman font with 12-point type

with one-inch margins all the way around your paper. All paragraph

indentations should be indented five spaces (use the tab key) from the left

margin. All work is to be left justified.

When quoting lines in literature,


please research the proper way to cite short stories, plays, or poems.

Whatever topic you choose

you will need a debatable thesis. A thesis is not


a fact, a quote, or a question. It is your position on the topic. The reader


already knows the story; you are to offer him a new perspective based on


your observations.

Since the reader is familiar with the story, summary is unnecessary. Rather

than tell him what happened, tell him what specific portions of the story

support your thesis.

The handout on “Literary Analysis”, (ATTACHED) is a


must for this aspect of the paper.



First Supply
JOHN SMITH
From The General History of Virginia,
New England, and the Summer Isles
The Third Book. The Proceedings and Accidents
of the English Colony in Virginia
CHAPTER II: WHAT HAPPENED TILL THE FIRST SUPPLY
Being thus left to our fortunes, it fortuned that within ten days scarce ten amongst us could either
go, or well stand, such extreme weakness and sickness oppressed us. And thereat none need
marvel, if they consider the cause and reason, which was this:
While the ships stayed, our allowance was somewhat bettered by a daily proportion of biscuit,
which the sailers would pilfer to sell, give, or exchange with us, for money, sassafras, furs, or
love. But when they departed, there remained neither tavern, beerhouse, nor place of relief, but
the common kettle.1 Had we been as free from all sins as gluttony and drunkenness we might
have been canonized for saints; but our President would never have been admitted for engrossing
to his private [use] oatmeal, sack, oil, aquavitæ, beef, eggs, or what not, but the kettle; that
indeed he allowed equally to be distributed, and that was half a pint of wheat, and as much barley
boiled with water for a man a day, and this having fried some twenty-six weeks in the ship’s
hold, contained as many worms as grains; so that we might truly call it rather so much bran than
corn. Our drink was water, our lodgings castles in the air.
With this lodging and diet, our extreme toil in bearing and planting palisades, so strained and
bruised us, and our continual labor in the extremity of the heat had so weakened us, as were
cause sufficient to have made us as miserable in our native country or any other place in the
world.
From May to September [1607], those that escaped lived upon sturgeon, and sea crabs. Fifty in
this time we buried; the rest seeing the President’s projects to escape these miseries in our
pinnace2 by flight (who all this time had neither felt want nor sickness) so moved our dead
spirits, as we deposed him [10 Sept. 1607]; and established Ratcliffe in his place, (Gosnoll being
dead), Kendall deposed. Smith newly recovered, Martin and Ratcliffe was by his care preserved
and relieved, and the most of the soldiers recovered with the skillful diligence of Master Thomas
Wotton our surgeon general.
But now was all our provision spent, the sturgeon gone, all helps abandoned, each hour
expecting the fury of the savages; when God, the patron of all good endeavors, in that desperate
extremity so changed the hearts of the savages, that they brought such plenty of their fruits and
provision, as no man wanted.
And now where some affirmed it was ill done of the Council to send forth men so badly
provided, this incontradictable reason will show them plainly they are too ill advised to nourish
such ill conceits; first, the fault of our going was our own, what could be thought fitting or
necessary we had; but what we should find, or want, or where we should be, we were all
ignorant, and supposing to make our passage in two months, with victual to live, and the
advantage of the spring to work; we were at sea five months, where we both spent our victual
and lost the opportunity of the time and season to plant, by the unskillful presumption of our
ignorant transporters, that understood not at all what they undertook.
Page 33
Such actions have ever since the world’s beginning been subject to such accidents, and
everything of worth is found full of difficulties: but nothing so difficult as to establish a
commonwealth so far remote from men and means, and where men’s minds are so untoward as
neither do well themselves, nor suffer others. But to proceed.
The new President [Ratcliffe], and Martin, being little beloved, of weak judgment in dangers,
and less industry in peace, committed the managing of all things abroad to Captain Smith: who
by his own example, good words, and fair promises, set some to mow, others to bind thatch,
some to build houses, others to thatch them, himself always bearing the greatest task for his own
share, so that in short time, he provided most of them lodgings, neglecting any for himself.
This done, seeing the savages superfluity begin to decrease [he] (with some of his workmen)
shipped himself [9 Nov. 1607] in the shallop3 to search the country for trade. The want of the
language, knowledge to manage his boat without sails, the want of a sufficient power (knowing
the multitude of the savages), apparel for his men, and other necessaries, were infinite
impediments, yet no discouragement.
Being but six or seven in company he went down the river to Kecoughtan:4 where at first they
scorned him, as a famished man; and would in derision offer him a handful of corn, a piece of
bread, for their swords and muskets, and such like proportions also for their apparel. But seeing
by trade and courtesy there was nothing to be had, he made bold to try such conclusions as
necessity enforced, though contrary to his commission: let fly his muskets, ran his boat on shore;
whereat they all fled into the woods.
So marching towards their houses, they might see great heaps of corn: much ado he had to
restrain his hungry soldiers from [the] present taking of it, expecting as it happened that the
savages would assault them, as not long after they did with a most hideous noise. Sixty or
seventy of them, some black, some red, some white, some parti-colored, came in a square order,
singing and dancing out of the woods, with their Okee (which was an idol made of skins, stuffed
with moss, all painted and hung with chains and copper) borne before them: and in this manner,
being well armed with clubs, targets, bows and arrows, they charged the English, that so kindly
received them with their muskets loaded with pistol shot, that down fell their God, and divers lay
sprawling on the ground; the rest fled again to the woods, and ere long sent one of their
Quiyoughkasoucks5 to offer peace, and redeem their Okee.
Smith told them, if only six of them would come unarmed and load his boat, he would not only
be their friend but restore them their Okee, and give them beads, copper, and hatchets besides,
which on both sides was to their contents performed; and then they brought him venison, turkies,
wild fowl, bread, and what they had, singing and dancing in sign of friendship till they departed.
***
Page 34
But our comedies never endured long without a tragedy, some idle exceptions being muttered
against Captain Smith for not discovering the head of Chicka-hominy river, and [being] taxed by
the Council, to be too slow in so worthy an attempt. The next voyage he proceeded so far that
with much labor by cutting of trees asunder he made his passage; but when his barge could pass
no farther, he left her in a broad bay out of danger of shot, commanding none should go ashore
till his return. Himself with two English and two savages went up higher in a canoe; but he was
not long absent but his men went ashore, whose want of government gave both occasion and
opportunity to the savages to surprise one George Cassen, whom they slew, and much failed not
to have cut off the boat and all the rest.
Smith little dreaming of that accident, being got to the marshes at the river’s head, twenty miles
in the desert, had his two men slain (as is supposed) sleeping by the canoe, while himself by
fowling sought them victual: who finding he was beset with 200 savages, two of them he slew,
still defending himself with the aid of a savage his guide, whom he bound to his arm with his
garters, and used him as a buckler. Yet he was shot in his thigh a little, and had many arrows that
stuck in his clothes but no great hurt, till at last they took him prisoner.
When this news came to Jamestown, much was their sorrow for his loss, few expecting what
ensued.
Six or seven weeks6 those barbarians kept him prisoner. Many strange triumphs and conjurations
they made of him, yet he so demeaned himself among them, as he not only diverted them from
surprising the fort, but procured his own liberty, and got himself and his company such
estimation among them, that those savages admired him more than their own Quiyoughkasoucks.
The manner how they used and delivered him is as follows.
The savages having drawn from George Cassen whether Captain Smith was gone, prosecuting
that opportunity they followed him with 300 bowmen, conducted by the King of Pamaunkee,
who in divisions searching the turnings of the river found Robinson and Emry by the fireside.
Those they shot full of arrows and slew. Then finding the captain, as is said, that used the savage
that was his guide as his shield (three of them being slain and divers others so galled) all the rest
would not come near him. Thinking thus to have returned to his boat, regarding them, as he
marched, more then his way, [he] slipped up to the middle in an oozy creek and his savage with
him, yet durst they not come to him till being near dead with cold he threw away his arms. Then
according to their composition7 they drew him forth and led him to the fire where his men were
slain. Diligently they chafed his benumbed limbs.
He demanding for their captain, they showed him Opechankanough, King of Pamaunkee, to
whom he gave a round ivory double compass dial. Much they marvelled at the playing of the fly8
and needle, which they could see so plainly, and yet not touch it, because of the glass that
covered them. But when he demonstrated by that globe-like jewel, the roundness of the earth,
and skies, the sphere of the sun, moon, and stars, and how the sun did chase the night round
about the world continually; the greatness of the land and sea, the diversity of nations, variety of
complexions, and how we were to them antipodes, and many other such like matters, they all
stood as amazed with admiration.
Notwithstanding, within an hour after they tied him to a tree, and as many as could stand about
him prepared to shoot him, but the King holding up the compass in his hand, they all laid down
their bows and arrows, and in a triumphant manner led him to Orapaks, where he was after their
manner kindly feasted and well used.
Their order in conducting him was thus: Drawing themselves all in file, the King in the midst had
all their pieces and swords borne before him. Captain Smith was led after him by three great
savages, holding him fast by each arm, and on each side six went in file with their arrows
nocked. But arriving at the town (which was but only thirty or forty hunting houses made of
mats, which they remove as they please, as we our tents) all the women and children staring to
behold him, the soldiers first all in file performed the form of a bissone9 so well as could be; and
on each flank, officers as sergeants to see them keep their orders. A good time they continued
this exercise, and then cast themselves in a ring, dancing in such several postures, and singing
and yelling out such hellish notes and screeches, being strangely painted, every one his quiver of
arrows, and at his back a club; on his arm a fox or an otter’s skin, or some such matter for his
vambrace;1 their heads and shoulders painted red, with oil and pocones2 mingled together, which
scarletlike color made an exceeding handsome show; his bow in his hand, and the skin of a bird
with her wings abroad dried, tied on his head, a piece of copper, a white shell, a long feather,
with a small rattle growing at the tails of their snakes tied to it, or some such like toy. All this
while Smith and the King stood in the midst guarded, as before is said, and after three dances
they all departed. Smith they conducted to a long house, where thirty or forty tall fellows did
guard him, and ere long more bread and venison was brought him than would have served
twenty men. I think his stomach at that time was not very good; what he left they put in baskets
and tied over his head. About midnight they set the meat again before him. All this time not one
of them would eat a bit with him, till the next morning they brought him as much more, and then
did they eat all the old, and reserved the new as they had done the other, which made him think
they would fat him to eat him. Yet in this desperate estate to defend him from the cold, one
Maocassater brought him his gown, in requital of some beads and toys Smith had given him at
his first arrival in Virginia.
Two days after, a man would have slain him (but that the guard prevented it) for the death of his
son, to whom they conducted him to recover the poor man then breathing his last. Smith told
them that at Jamestown he had a water3 would do it, if they would let him fetch it, but they
would not permit that, but made all the preparations they could to assault Jamestown, craving his
advice, and for recompense he should have life, liberty, land, and women. In part of a table book4
he writ his mind to them at the fort, what was intended, how they should follow that direction to
affright the messengers, and without fail send him such things as he writ for. And an inventory
with them. The difficulty and danger he told the savages of the mines, great guns, and other
engines exceedingly affrighted them, yet according to his request they went to Jamestown, in as
bitter weather as could be of frost and snow, and within three days returned with an answer.
Page 36
But when they came to Jamestown, seeing men sally out as he had told them they would, they
fled; yet in the night they came again to the same place where he had told them they should
receive an answer, and such things as he had promised them, which they found accordingly, and
with which they returned with no small expedition, to the wonder of them all that heard it, that he
could either divine, or the paper could speak.
Then they led him to the Youthtanunds, the Mattapanients, the Payankatanks, the
Nantaughtacunds, and Onawmanients upon the rivers of Rappahannock and Potomac; over all
those rivers, and back again by divers other several nations, to the King’s habitation at
Pamaunkee, where they entertained him with most strange and fearful conjurations:
As if near led to hell,
Amongst the devils to dwell.
Not long after, early in a morning a great fire was made in a long house, and a mat spread on the
one side, as on the other; on the one they caused him to sit, and all the guard went out of the
house, and presently came skipping in a great grim fellow, all painted over with coal, mingled
with oil; and many snakes’ and weasels’ skins stuffed with moss, and all their tails tied together,
so as they met on the crown of his head in a tassel; and round about the tassel was as a coronet of
feathers, the skins hanging round about his head, back, and shoulders, and in a manner covered
his face; with a hellish voice, and a rattle in his hand. With most strange gestures and passions he
began his invocation, and environed the fire with a circle of meal; which done, three more such
like devils came rushing in with the like antique tricks, painted half black, half red, but all their
eyes were painted white, and some red strokes like mutchatos,5 along their cheeks. Round about
him those fiends danced a pretty while, and then came in three more as ugly as the rest, with red
eyes, and white strokes over their black faces. At last they all sat down right against him, three of
them on the one hand of the chief priest, and three on the other. Then all with their rattles began
a song, which ended, the chief priest laid down five wheat corns. Then straining his arms and
hands with such violence that he sweat, and his veins swelled, he began a short oration. At the
conclusion they all gave a short groan and then laid down three grains more. After that, began
their song again, and then another oration, ever laying down so many corns as before, till they
had twice encircled the fire. That done, they took a bunch of little sticks prepared for that
purpose, continuing still their devotion, and at the end of every song and oration, they laid down
a stick betwixt the divisions of corn. Till night, neither he nor they did either eat or drink, and
then they feasted merrily, with the best provisions they could make. Three days they used this
ceremony, the meaning whereof they told him was to know if he intended them well or no. The
circle of meal signified their country, the circles of corn the bounds of the sea, and the sticks his
country. They imagined the world to be flat and round, like a trencher,6 and they in the midst.
Page 37
After this they brought him a bag of gunpowder, which they carefully preserved till the next
spring, to plant as they did their corn, because they would be acquainted with the nature of that
seed.
Opitchapam, the King’s brother, invited him to his house, where, with as many platters of bread,
fowl, and wild beasts as did environ him, he bid him welcome; but not any of them would eat a
bit with him, but put up all the remainder in baskets.
At his return to Opechancanoughs, all the King’s women and their children flocked about him
for their parts, as a due by custom, to be merry with such fragments.
But his waking mind in hideous dreams did oft see wondrous shapes,
Of bodies strange, and huge in growth, and of stupendous makes.
At last they brought him to Meronocomoco,7 where was Powhatan their Emperor. Here more
than two hundred of those grim courtiers stood wondering at him, as he had been a monster, till
Powhatan and his train had put themselves in their greatest braveries. Before a fire upon a seat
like a bedstead, he sat covered with a great robe, made of rarowcun8 skins, and all the tails
hanging by. On either hand did sit a young wench of 16 or 18 years, and along on each side the
house, two rows of men, and behind them as many women, with all their heads and shoulders
painted red, many of their heads bedecked with the white down of birds, but every one with
something, and a great chain of white beads about their necks.
At his entrance before the King, all the people gave a great shout. The Queen of Appamatuck
was appointed to bring him water to wash his hands, and another brought him a bunch of
feathers, instead of a towel to dry them. Having feasted him after their best barbarous manner
they could, a long consultation was held, but the conclusion was, two great stones were brought
before Powhatan; then as many as could laid hands on him, dragged him to them, and thereon
laid his head, and being ready with their clubs to beat out his brains, Pocahontas, the King’s
dearest daughter, when no entreaty could prevail, got his head in her arms, and laid her own upon
his to save him from death, whereat the Emperor was contented he should live to make him
hatchets, and her bells, beads, and copper, for they thought him as well9 of all occupations as
themselves. For the King himself will make his own robes, shoes, bows, arrows, pots; plant,
hunt, or do any thing so well as the rest.
They say he bore a pleasant show,
But sure his heart was sad.
For who can pleasant be, and rest,
That lives in fear and dread:
And having life suspected, doth
It still suspected lead.
Two days after, Powhatan having disguised himself in the most fearfulest manner he could,
caused Captain Smith to be brought forth to a great house in the woods, and there upon a mat by
the fire to be left alone. Not long after from behind a mat that divided the house, was made the
most dolefulest noise he ever heard. Then Powhatan more like a devil than a man, with some two
hundred more as black as himself, came unto him and told him now they were friends, and
presently he should go to Jamestown, to send him two great guns, and a grindstone, for which he
would give him the country of Capahowosick, and forever esteem him as his son Nantaquoud.
So to Jamestown with 12 guides Powhatan sent him. That night they quartered in the woods, he
still expecting (as he had done all this long time of his imprisonment) every hour to be put to one
death or other, for all their feasting. But almighty God (by his divine providence) had mollified
the hearts of those stern barbarians with compassion. The next morning betimes they came to the
fort, where Smith, having used the savages with what kindness he could, he showed Rawhunt,
Powhatan’s trusty servant, two demiculverins1 and a millstone to carry Powhatan. They found
them somewhat too heavy, but when they did see him discharge them, being loaded with stones,
among the boughs of a great tree loaded with icicles, the ice and branches came so tumbling
down, that the poor savages ran away half dead with fear. But at last we regained some
conference with them, and gave them such toys; and sent to Powhatan, his women, and children
such presents, as gave them in general full content. * * *
1624
1. The common stores.
2. Small sailing ship.
3. A boat for use in shallow waters.
4. A village near the mouth of the James River ruled by the son of Powhatan.
5. Priests.
6. In actuality, about three weeks.
7. Agreement.
8. Compass card.
9. A military maneuver.
1. Forearm armor.
2. A red dye.
3. Medicine.
4. Notebook.
5.Mustaches.
6.Platter.
7.The chief’s town, on the James River, where they arrived January 5, 1608.
8.Raccoon.
9.Capable.
1.Cannons capable of ?ring shots of about ten pounds.
Literary Analysis
“What distinguishes literature from other forms of knowledge is that it cannot be
understood unless we understand what it means to be human.” (J. Bronowski)
There are many ways to interpret, analyze, and evaluate literature. Perhaps you’ve
already been asked to make an observation or take a position about a work of literature
(whether a poem, short story, novel, play, or film) and examine such elements as plot,
characters, theme, setting, conflict, structure, point of view, imagery, or symbolism.
When you are asked by a teacher to write an interpretation, a critique, or a literary
analysis, you are being asked to figure out what is going on in a work of literature. Much
more complicated than merely summarizing a piece or writing a personal reaction to it,
literary analysis requires that you read between the lines of a text and discover something
meaningful there. Why does a specific image recur throughout a poem? How does a
novel relate to a social issue facing the author at the time it was written? Do you
recognize a pattern or perceive a problem with a character’s behavior in a play? How is
the role of women significant in a movie? Answers to all of these questions can be
determined only through critical thinking and the synthesis of your ideas.
•
•
•
•
An interpretation—explains a text’s overall meaning or significance, explaining
your reasoning for this interpretation with supporting evidence from the text.
A critique—also called a critical response or a review, it provides your personal
judgment about a text, supported by reasons and references to the work of art and
often secondary sources.
A formal analysis—different from a critique in that examines a work of art by
breaking it down into various elements to discover how the parts interrelate to create
meaning of effect.
A cultural analysis—examines a work of art by relating it to the historical, social,
cultural, or political situations in which it was written to show how the author was
influenced by personal experiences, events, prevailing attitudes, or contemporary
values.
How can I persuade readers that my view or interpretation is reasonable?
First, be sure that your view or interpretation asserts a debatable claim.
For instance, if you were to say that “Antigone is a play about a young woman who
questions authority,” you wouldn’t be saying much beyond a summary. But if you said
that, “Antigone’s punishment is well-deserved because she violates the laws of the king,”
that is debatable. Another student could just as easily argue that Antigone’s punishment
is not well-deserved and that she should be commended for respecting the higher laws of
the gods over the laws of the king.
Because you are essentially arguing that your perspective is a valid one, you have to
support it effectively with reasons, evidence from the piece (direct references to specific
quotations, lines, passages, scenes, etc.), and—if required—secondary sources (articles
and books written about the piece, which is otherwise known as the primary source).
What Can I Possibly Say About a Work of Literature that Hasn’t Been Said Before?
Because no two people interpret literature the same way, it is entirely possible that you
could raise an issue, address a problem, or offer make a unique observation that moves
beyond an obvious interpretation of the piece you’re examining. It is THIS type of
analysis that you should strive for—the kind that makes literature more meaningful and
rewarding for the rest of us!
There are Two Main Ways to Analyze a Work of Literature:
1. The Formal Approach: Examine one (or more) of the following elements and explain
how it relates to the whole:
Plot
Paradox
Character
Oxymoron
Theme
Hyperbole
Setting
Allusion
Conflict
Simile
Structure
Metaphor
Point of View
Alliteration
Genre
Assonance
Style
Onomatopoeia
Tone
Personification
Imagery
Rhythm
Symbolism
Rhyme
Irony
Figures of Speech
Narrator
Foreshadowing
2. The Critical or Theoretical Approach: Analyze the work of literature by using one of
the following critical frameworks or theoretical approaches:
New Critical Approach
Archetypal/Myth Critical Approach
Structuralist Approach
Post-Structuralist Approach
Semiological Approach
Deconstructionist Approach
Reader-Response Critical Approach
Historical Approach
New Historical Approach
Marxist Approach
Psychoanalytical/Psychological Approach
Feminist Approach
Black Feminist Approach
Gender Studies Approach
Morality Studies
Religious/Theological Studies
Language Studies
Law Studies
*If you have never heard of these scary-sounding approaches and have no idea what they
are about, don’t panic! Try doing a basic Internet search on two or three that sound
interesting to you, and see if they offer an interesting angle or lens through which you can
view the work of literature you’re analyzing.
Why write about literature in school?
Because reading literature can sometimes be challenging or confusing, writing about it
can help make sense of it and assist you in generating insights about your reading of it.
As Lynn Troyka and Douglas Hesse note in their Quick Access Reference for Writers,
literature “helps you understand other people, ideas, times, and places. It shows you how
authors use language to stir the imaginations, emotions, and intellects of their readers”
(89). Writing about literature is also a way to broaden your own understanding and to
share your own reading experiences—whether they be frustrations or revelations—with
other readers.
What Special Rules Do I Need to Know for Writing about Literature?
1.
Be aware of the distinction between the author and the narrator/speaker.
The narrator tells the story and the speaker serves as the voice of a poem, but you
must never assume that the author and the narrator/speaker are the same person,
sharing the same values, beliefs, or perspective.
2.
Use an author’s name correctly.
The first time you mention an author’s name, use the first and last name: “Kate
Chopin.” For every other mention throughout the paper, use only the last name:
“Chopin.”
3. Be aware of literary time.
The concept of “literary time” is often something that students overlook when writing
about literature. Always use the present tense when describing or discussing a
literary work—even when the author is no longer living. Once literature is penned, it
is considered both “eternal” and “living.” This is why students and scholars alike use
present tense to discuss works of literature. The only time you use past tense is when
you are referring to the historical time frame in which a work was written. (“The
Scarlet Letter was published in 1851.”)
EXAMPLES:
-In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne explores…(not explored)
-When Hester runs into Dimmesdale in the forest…(not ran)
-In her 1985 essay, Jane Tompkins argues that Hawthorne’s novel was admired in the
nineteenth century for reasons much different than it is admired today. (not
argued)
4. Underline or put into italics titles of longer works like books, magazines
(journals), and movies. Use quotation marks around the titles of shorter works
like short stories, essays, songs, and poems.
5. Assume that your audience shares a general knowledge of the work you’re
discussing (unless you’ve been asked to write a summary or report). Otherwise,
you’ll fall into the trap of summarizing the work instead of reacting to it.
6. Use quotations. When writing about literature, refer to specific lines, scenes, or
passages to support your main point. When quoting a few lines of poetry, use a slash
(/) to separate lines. When quoting more than three lines of poetry or four lines of
prose, indent the quotation one inch on either side instead of using quotation marks.
TIP: NEVER leave a quotation by itself. It is your job to show why it was important
enough to put in your paper. Introduce it, explain it, and show how it relates to your
thesis.
7. Cite authors and page numbers within your essay for all quotations and for any
secondary sources (books or articles written about your subject) that you may
use to support your points or to provide background, and include an
alphabetical list of Work(s) Cited as the last page of your paper. Use MLA style
documentation.
8. BIGGEST TIP FOR SUCCESS: Read it at least twice.
The most important strategy for writing a good response to literature is to read the text
more than once, the first time for enjoyment and the second or third time for “work”—to
take notes, to underline or highlight important passages, to ask questions as you go along,
to figure out what’s going on in the text. This second reading is often called a “close” or
“critical” reading.
On time?
Yes
EXEMPLARY
LEVEL
A
18-20
Purpose and
Audience
(20 Points)
The writing
engages the
reader with an
original approach
to the subject.
It may artfully
encompass
conflicting ideas
and inspire the
reader to
contemplate the
relationship of
complex ideas.
Topic, Thesis
and Support
(20 Points)
The essay
complies with
topic and
assignment
criteria.
The writing has a
clearly articulated
original thesis and
eloquent
subordinate
subtopics
supported by
reliable and
relevant evidence
based on original
research.
Main ideas are not
lost in
surrounding
supporting
evidence.
ACCOMPLISH
ED
LEVEL
B
16-17
Points
DEVELOPING
LEVEL
BEGINNING
LEVEL
C
14-15
D
11-13
The writing
clearly goes
beyond the
minimum
requirements
of the
assignment.
The writing
meets the
minimum
requirements
of the
assignment,
but no more.
It attempts to
engage the
reader through
originality and
presentation of
complex ideas.
It offers
minimal
insight into the
subject
through basic
logic and the
presentation of
ideas based on
some
evidence.
The essay
deviates from
the topic
and/or
assignment
criteria with
distracting
results.
The essay
generally
complies with
topic and
assignment
criteria with
minor
deviation.
The writing
has a clearly
articulated
thesis and
adequate
supported by
appropriate
evidence and
sound logic.
Minor gaps in
logic and
argument may
appear.
Main ideas can
be
distinguished
from
supporting
evidence with
some effort.
The writing
has a thesis
and some
related
subordinate
ideas
supported by
appropriate
evidence [a
tad more is in
order].
Main ideas
cannot always
be
distinguished.
The writing
fails to meet
the minimum
requirements
of the
assignment.
/100
/20
It does not
offer insight
into the
subject and
has serious
flaws in logic
and omissions
in evidence.
The essay
does not
comply with
topic or
assignment
criteria.
Writing may
need a more
clearly
articulated
thesis and/or
appropriate
related
subordinate
ideas.
Fuzzy logic
may be
evident and
adequate
supporting
evidence is
lacking.
/20
Organization
(20 Points)
The writing flows
smoothly and
logically from a
well-defined
thesis.
Body paragraphs
support topics
identified in the
thesis.
It contains an
appropriate
introduction,
conclusion, and
smooth
transitions.
Style
(10 Points)
The writing
engages the
reader through an
original prose
style appropriate
to the subject.
Language is
precise.
Sentences are
varied to provide
interest.
Third person
narrative voice is
used.
All quoted or
paraphrased
material is
properly
documented and
cited in MLA style.
Annotations are
included, when
appropriate.
The writing is
organized
logically and
flows well.
An
introduction
and conclusion
are evident.
Body
paragraphs
generally
support thesis
subtopics.
The writing
keeps the
reader’s
attention
through a
carefully
crafted prose
style.
Language
chosen is
appropriate to
the subject,
but may call
attention to
itself in minor
ways.
There are
minor lapses
in third person
narrative
voice.
Most quoted
and
paraphrased
material is
properly
documented
and cited in
MLA style.
Annotations
are included,
when
appropriate.
The writing
demonstrates
rudimentary
organization
and logical
structure, but
ideas may be
more fully
developed and
supported by
more
appropriate
evidence.
Body
paragraphs
frequently
deviate from
thesis
subtopics.
The writing is
clear but could
be expressed
in a style more
appropriate to
the subject.
It is jargonfree but may
require a more
complete
explanation of
some terms
used.
There are
frequent
lapses into
first or second
person
narrative
voice.
Sources are
documented
and cited but
need to show
greater
consistency in
use of MLA
style.
Annotations
missing or
completed
incorrectly.
The writing is
noticeably
lacking in
organization.
/20
There is no
clear
introduction
nor conclusion
and ideas are
neither
carefully nor
fully
developed.
Body
paragraphs
wander and
have no
correlation to
thesis or
subtopics, if
any have been
identified.
Supporting
evidence is
clearly lacking.
The writing
lacks clarity
and is
sometimes
confusing.
The language
chosen is not
appropriate to
the subject nor
the
assignment.
First or second
person
narrative voice
is used to
distraction.
Sources are
overly quoted
or
paraphrased
and not
adequately
documented
nor cited in
MLA style.
Annotations
missing.
/10
Grammar and
Mechanics
(20 Points)
Formatting
and Cover
Letter
(10 Points)
The writing is free
of proofreading
errors.
The writing
contains
sentences that
are always
complete and
grammatically
correct, and free
of confusion and
ambiguity.
Student provides
a high-caliber,
formatted
assignment in
proper MLA style.
The writing
may exhibit a
few minor
errors in
proofreading,
but they do
not impair the
flow of the
reading.
The writing
contains
sentences that
are complete
or which imply
unstated
connections
and/or
conclusions.
Assignment
presents an
above-average
use of
formatting
skills with few
errors in MLA
style.
The writing
could benefit
from additional
proofreading,
as some errors
impede the
flow of the
reading.
The writing
contains some
grammatical
errors easily
corrected.
Additional
proofreading
would help
eliminate
errors.
Appearance of
final
assignment
demonstrates
an average to
below average
ability use MLA
style
formatting.
The writing
exhibits
substantial
errors in
proofreading.
/20
The writing is
confusing and
ambiguous
owing to
substantial
errors of
grammar and
syntax.
There is no
evidence of
proofreading,
editing, or
rewriting.
Appearance of
the final
assignment is
distracting.
The number of
MLA style
formatting
errors impedes
easy reading.
/10

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