your general argument/interpretation (the thesis), followed and supported by your specific evidence and analysis. In other words, I’d like this essay to have a thesis, a main point/interpretation, which should probably be stated early on in your essay.
Here are some possibilities:
- Make a claim about the (larger, more universal) argument a particular work of literature seems to be making—what is its intended or unintended implied message? Think of the literary work as an essay—what is it arguing, through its portrayal of ___________? Essentially, what is your argument about the story’s argument? (Another way of looking at this prompt: what is the story trying to say about the real world? What sort of commentary or argument is the story offering about society? For instance, what argument is Fun Home making about homosexuality? Or the effects of suppressing who you really are?)
- Identify a particular abstract idea, concept, or term that the work of literature addresses in some form. Then, make a claim about how the literature defines (or, if you prefer, re-defines) this idea, concept, or term. (For example, how does a story like “Doe Season” define masculinity? Or how does Fun Home define family? Or more specifically, how does the novel define what a father is?)
- Identify a specific, core, fundamental value or belief—a value or belief shared by a particular culture or subculture; then, examine one work of literature through the lens of this value/belief, arguing whether the story ultimately condones and endorses this belief/value—or criticizes, challenges, or even rejects it. (For instance, is “Territory” condoning or endorsing homophobia? Or is it challenging or arguing against it? Is “Emergency” condoning a belief in God? Or rejecting this belief?)