Reading Response 8: First Half of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman Please see the attached file for the source. Only refer to Act One for this assignment. The Reading Responses are designed to give you low-stakes, judgment-free places to develop your ideas and prepare for the essay. Therefore, you should read the essay prompt first, understand what is going to be asked of you in that assignment, and to keep it in mind when you write your responses. As such, these responses should not be plot summaries, nor should they merely describe the content of a reading; they should be insightful commentaries on the ideas/images/feelings that are expressed in the works that you will be reading. You may choose to respond to a single work or make comparisons between any number of the class’s assigned readings, but you must limit your responses to the works we are covering in this class only. This also means that, for the Reading Responses and for the Essays, you should not discuss things that are outside of the poem, story, or novel. A literary analysis means you have to analyze the work of literature itself and nothing else. If, for example, we are reading a poem about a soldier in World War I, don’t digress and discuss foreign policy or military warfare or even your own views about war. The essay requires you to address only the author’s or the work’s message; so for the previous example, you would focus only on what the poem itself is telling us about war. While this assignment is somewhat informal, your responses should be thesis-driven, argumentative attempts to establish an interpretive point about the text (interpret its message/lesson). Always support your observations by referring to specific passages from the text but do not oversaturate your reading responses with quotes or summaries. Use only the right amount of textual detail that illustrates your point. Your reading response should mainly address the question: What is the message of the work? In other words: What is the author trying to teach us? When answering this question, do not be content simply with a surface level interpretation. Do not settle for clichés or platitudes, such as “The message of the work is that you have to keep trying, no matter what.’” That kind of superficial sentiment is something we hear all the time. We don’t need to read poetry or fiction in order to come to realize that perseverance is a wonderful trait to have. Authors write imaginative works of literature in order to get at deeper things about life. Let’s try to hear what they’re saying! Use these assignments to explore that. Requirements: 12-point font, Times New Roman, 1-inch margins 500 – 800 words per assignment (That’s approximately 2 to 3 pages) Use MLA style in-text citations (But no Works Cited page is required) Do not use ANY sources other than the assigned readings themselves. The reading response should include only your own words and ideas with quotes from the text you’re analyzing to illustrate your points. Do not plagiarize or even use other sources (whether that includes ideas, analysis, quotes, or information).
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