eng 1a write an 8 to 9 pages minimum essay


8-12 pages (the 8 the page must at least be completely filled – I suggest spilling at least 1 word into your 9 the page), 12 pt font, double spaced, Times New Roman, MLA Format. -Include 4-5 sources that inform or elaborate the theme you have chosen to write about. -For each requirement not met you will be deducted 10 points.

Literary Analysis Essay Prompt for Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Refugees

The purpose of this last essay is to critically analyze a work of literature through a specific theme you’ve chosen, and explore what the stories are “saying” about your chosen theme. Essentially your essay will discuss how your chosen theme is explored by discussing how characters and events contribute to it. This essay encompasses all the skills and strategies in reading and writing we have covered this semester, in lectures and previous essays. Your essay will be a thesis driven paper, where you choose a single topic or theme from the collection of stories and you find specific quotes, passages and sections from at least 3 stories that support your thesis. Remember, your thesis guides your essay and opens the lens to find the examples that support your thesis and claims.

Additionally, when you analyze literature, there are many avenues/lenses to approach the way/method in which you “read” the text, those being: Psychological, Sociological, Historical, Structural, etc. With this, you are to have 4-5 outside sources to contextualize the book, from one of these disciplines, as a way to strengthen and sophisticate your writing. Themes that may be explored with this essay are:












Identity Formation


Gender roles/experiences

(this is not a complete list – if you would like to discuss another theme not on this list make sure you get that theme approved by me first) You should primarily use the stories from book to support your claims, but the 4-5 sources I am asking you to include should also be used to support your claims as well (not to stand as their own points). In other words, use your sources to substantiate the claims you make about the elements of the theme/topic/issue of the collection of short stories. It may help for you to pose some questions for yourself before and as you are writing your essay. Examples of these kinds of questions are (your chosen theme goes in the blank underlined spaces): Discuss the role of _______ in the book. What does it/do they represent? How do they control, affect, change or alter the events and/or (other) characters in the story?

________ changes people. Choose three to four characters from the book and discuss

how they are changed throughout each story. It may help to include how the author

describes them early on (or in the past) and then how they are affected over time by the

events that surround or involve them.

What do you notice about how the book examines the Vietnamese refugee experience

versus other refugee experiences you know (or have researched) about? Versus other

immigrant experiences?

Of course the above questions are just guidelines as to the types of questions you should be asking yourself for this essay and they do not have be the ONLY questions you answer for your essay.

Keep in mind that the success of this essay is based on the clarity and sufficiency of its

examples. This kind of writing demands tight organization and control. Therefore, your essay


(1) cover the topic you are writing about,

(2) have a central idea (stated in your thesis)

(3) quote from the book for each claim you present

(4) provide thorough analysis of in- text citations

(5) be organized so that everything contributes something to the reader’s understanding

of the central idea.

Avoid being general in your writing. Avoid presenting the obvious—break the surface, go in-

depth with your analysis, fish out the invisible, show me what you have found hiding in the

crevices of the stories! Avoid summarizing parts of the book just to fill up pages! Look at your

essay this way: Every sentence and thought should contribute to your thesis!