In a Tortoiseshell: This excerpt from Victoria Gruenberg’s essay, “Cast List,” concerns the layers of performance in Hamlet and the implications for both the performers and the audience when experiencing the show. Because the essay deftly situates the complicated audience-performer relationships in the play and considers the broader questions Hamlet asks of metatheater, we believe this essay demonstrates the characteristics of a strong conclusion. Continue reading
In a Tortoiseshell: This paper analyzes a 1982 personal essay written by Annie Dillard about the experience of watching a total solar eclipse. The author, Isabelle Laurenzi, observes a strong link between the structure of Dillard’s essay and the subject of Dillard’s recollection, thus arguing that the essay features an eclipse of its own. The excerpts below, taken from the paper’s introduction and body, balance a chronological organizational strategy with a thematic one, thereby showcasing the author’s excellent command over the structure of her essay. Continue reading
In a Tortoiseshell: This excerpt comes from an English paper that analyzes “the differences between contemplation and action, or…the intellectual life and the physical” in the epic poem The Faerie Queen through a close reading of three passages. It is particularly strong on in its masterful use of evidence and textual analysis. Continue reading
In a Tortoiseshell: In the introduction to a Junior Paper on Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping, the author sets up her argument by defining the subtle difference between Nature (capital N) and nature (lowercase n). This exploration of key terms allows for a smooth transition into her thesis about existential and social questions and the separation of biological sisters.
In a Tortoiseshell: A seminal work of English literature, Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales” are difficult to decipher, but in this excerpt, the author demonstrates an excellent use of his evidence in making Chaucer’s general prologue accessible to the modern reader. Continue reading
In a Tortoiseshell: In this excerpt, the author engages with a particularly risqué scene from “One Thousand and One Nights,” demonstrating a strong use of evidence and analysis. Newberger quotes a long scene, then sifts through it, step-by-step, which paves the way forward to support his unique argument. Continue reading
In a Tortoiseshell: This essay analyses the character of Meursault in Albert Camus’ L’Etranger (The Stranger), contextualizing him in the space of the novel as well as in a larger scholarly conversation. The author analyses a set of critical reviews, and motivates his argument by suggesting that there is something the critics are missing — a clear understanding of Sartre’s existentialism. The author posits the term “post-reflective” consciousness, and develops a thesis with this term to refine the scholarly criticism and propose his own interpretation of Meursault.
The thesis (and paper as a whole) involves complicated and philosophical literary criticism, and succeeds in clearly orienting the reader to the text, scholarship, and a very sophisticated argument. What is excerpted here are the first three pages of a twenty-page paper. Continue reading