For this assignment, you will write a 750+ word, analytical essay. In a well-developed, organized, and thesis-driven analysis, please respond to one of the following prompts:
Analyze Thoreau’s views on labor and connect it to a theme from the book.
Analyze Thoreau’s views on wealth and connect it to a theme from the book.
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation,” write Thoreau. Unpack this quotation and explain why it may be true, using the close reading of passages.
Identify passages where Thoreau mentions Nature. Connect these quotations to a common theme and explicate your understanding of Thoreau.
The railroad (a relatively new phenomenon in Thoreau’s world) is mentioned often in Walden. Analyze the role of the railroad and connect it to a theme from the book.
The key for this essay is to avoid simply summarizing the text – analysis means to pick apart, with the purpose of understanding how those parts relate. Think of analysis as finding an angle with which to explain how the text produces meaning. Only use summary and paraphrase to “set up” your analysis. Give your reader just enough summary to get a foothold, then move into analysis mode.
You can look at formal properties and techniques used by the writer, like organization, rhetorical structure, style, use of figurative language, symbols, and so forth. Or you can use a theme or topic as a way to dive into the text, using an explicit or implicit leading question, such as “how is nature depicted in this text and what does it add up to?”
Practicing MLA format, you will need to use textual evidence only from the text to support your thesis and rationale. Please include an introduction (complete with a hook and thesis), PEAT (point, evidence, analysis, transition) paragraph organization, directly cited evidence to support your essay’s development, and a conclusion that does not simply restate your thesis and paper but instead focuses on the LSS (larger social significance) of your topic.
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