Saturday, April 23, 2011

Critical Paper on Bryant's "The Prairies"


As we have noted in class, many writers of the young nation called for the emergence of an American poetics during the first half of the 19th century. Write an essay in which you perform a close reading of William Cullen Bryant’s “The Prairies.” How can we say that Bryant has established a distinctive American poetic voice in that poem?

In crafting your essay, you will need to establish your overall position in a clear and specific thesis statement in the essay’s opening paragraph. The success of your paper will hinge on your ability to defend that thesis in the body of your paper. Each body paragraph should express one main point that directly supports your thesis. Build that main point by quoting and analyzing Bryant’s text. In addition, you will need a reflective conclusion to end your paper.


The purpose of this paper is for students to closely explore a canonical text while relating its ideas to larger themes in American literature. This paper will also give students an opportunity to gain experience in analyzing and interpreting a work of literature while formulating a thesis-driven and well-supported essay.


This paper should be approximately 3-4 pages in length.


The format for this paper is MLA.


This paper will be given a traditional letter grade. It will be assessed as part of your “Major Assignments” grade.


This essay is due in class on 4/29 (No emailed papers please)

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