Comparative Literary Analysis
                                   ENGL 2327: Survey of American Literature I
For this assignment you will write a comparative analysis of three or more works by different authors (from the list below) and develop a narrowly-defined argumentative thesis that reflects an analysis of the literary devices employed in each piece. You will want to build paragraphs around specific points you would like to explore that require a critical synthesis of the works and support a larger thesis related to the prompt. As you develop your analysis, make sure to support your critical assertions with specific evidence from the texts. Avoid unnecessary plot summary; plot summary is not a substitute for critical analysis.
The most important thing about this paper, in addition to having a critical analytical synthesis and an arguable thesis statement for the prompt and literary works you have selected, is to make sure that you ground your analysis in a CLOSE reading of the literary works, including concrete details and explanation to engage the audience. No matter which elements you choose to explore (and you have free reign to develop any critical analysis you like that is appropriate to the literary works; there are no “right” or “wrong” interpretations in this course, only stronger and more weakly developed ones), just be sure to connect your main observations and ideas to each other and support them with textual evidence. Move beyond summary and interpretation and into analysis to critically examine your selected literary texts.
Important Note: One of the pitfalls of the comparative analysis is that students will sometimes write a paper in which the essay simply compares “similar” and “dissimilar” aspects of a work. An example of this might be a paper that compares and contrasts “A Young Housewife” and “Marriage” as examples of a feminine perspective of a relationship (pointing out how they are similar, and how they are also different in certain ways), or that describes all the ways in which mythological allusions are “important” in both “Venus Transiens” and “Leda” in similar and different ways. This is what we call a straight “compare and contrast”-type essay, but it does not necessarily have anything interesting to say beyond listing certain obvious features of both works. The important thing to remember is to have a debatable (and hopefully creative and interesting) point you want to argue (and this requires judgment and analysis on your part–you have to have some sort of critical edge in which you are adopting a particular opinion that requires persuading your reader to understand your point of view, even if they don’t ultimately agree with it). Your thesis should be a point you want to make that could be contested; it should also pass the “why does it matter?” test. In other words, what is ultimately interesting about the point you want to make, and how does it go beyond just a literal reading of the surface details of the poetry itself?
Develop a comprehensive and detailed 5 to 10 typed (double-spaced) comparative analysis of three or more works (see list below) by different authors that interest you, and that you feel would be interesting to a general audience. Because you will be writing about multiple literary works, you will need to include a Works Cited page (after your 5-10 page composition) to complete your assignment. You should focus on how the literary works employ your selected literary devices and the purpose of each, carefully constructing both your thesis statement and analytical comparison (so that your analysis should be very clear and grounded in interesting textual evidence). No additional outside sources are to be used for this paper, which should solely represent your own analytical thinking. When in doubt, contact me for further guidelines about your chosen subject.
Other Considerations
· Select a minimum of three different works written by different authors.
Consider the following questions when developing your comparative analysis:

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