Second Assignment: Chapter Analysis

PURPOSE: to keep working on developing ideas about a text by looking at specific details from the text

LENGTH: 350-450 words (about a page-and-a-half, typed & double-spaced)

  Pick a theme or issue or topic in Alcott's novel that interests you . Then pick out a chapter (or part of a chapter) that seems to you to be a good place to look at how the novel expresses or dramatizes that issue, to see what you think the novel is saying about that issue. Then, in a 350-450 word essay, show me what you think that chapter/episode is saying.

  As with the first assignment, you should quote specific phrases and lines, and cite specific examples. But this time I want you not only to focus closely on one issue, but also to use the essay to reach a conclusion about that issue. One other way to think of this: this writing assignment should ask and answer a specific question about an issue in Little Women, using a chapter as the evidence on which the answer is based. At the end of your essay you can connect what you've seen in the chapter to the novel as a whole, but I really want you to keep the body of the essay focused specifically on the one chapter or episode you've chosen.

  In class we'll list many of the novel's thematic preoccupations, and I'll try to give you a concrete example of what I'm asking you to do.