English 279- Write a 5-6 page interpretive essay of the book “Leaves of Grass: The First (1855) Edition (Penguin)” has to be MLA and follow the rubric included. Have to use these 3 close reading topics. 1. In section 21 of “Song of Myself,” Whitman declares: “I am the poet of the body, / And I am the poet of the soul.” What are some of the uses of the body as an image in this first poem? Consider, in particular: sections 11, 21, and 24. Explore the trope of embodiment more generally in Leaves of Grass. What imagery, word choices, metaphors, or other figurative language does Whitman employ to depict various forms of embodiment? In exploring the trope of embodiment, you might consider also “The Sleepers” and “I Sing the Body Electric.” 2. Read closely section 6. How does Whitman use nature imagery, and “leaves of grass”? How is this imagery linked to the trope of embodiment? Consider as well the recurrence of this imagery (and the link to the body) at the very end of “Song of Myself.” 3. Whitman begins section 23 describing his own poetry thus: “Endless unfolding of words of ages! / And mine a word of the modern … a word en masse.” Consider the modernity of Whitman’s poetry, in terms of its content and themes. In what ways does Whitman present his poetry as “a word of the modern”? Where and how is “the modern age” itself figured in Leaves of Grass? Where and how does Whitman incorporate into his poetry contemporary issues or conflicts, and modern concepts or themes? Consider, for example, the poem “Europe: the 72d and 73d Years of these States.” What perspectives does Whitman voice regarding these contemporary issues raised by him in the poems? How does he voice these perspectives? The student’s paper will be graded based on its success at: Proposing a complex interpretive thesis, and developing that thesis with supporting claims throughout the paper. A complex interpretive thesis is one that explains why a claim is significant, how observations are related, and how they work together to lead to the claim you’re making. See the “Structure of an Interpretive Paper” sheet for elaboration. Including three close reading sections that: Contextualize, but does not summarize, your chosen passage/textual evidence by situating it within the larger text. Analyze the figurative language of the chosen passage (including but not limited to defining words and their connotations, analyzing tropes, imagery and other literary devices, examining literary and/or historical allusions, and analyzing syntax and grammar). Explain why your analyses/close readings of the language is relevant to your thesis, and illustrating what about the language and passage you’ve chosen is significant in terms of your thesis, including clear transitions between ideas. Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the following as they relate to your thesis and close reading claim(s): the text (e.g., the autobiography, novel, poem, or other work); lectures/class discussions; and supplementary class materials on the course Moodle, including historicization of ideas, images, words, etc.; and the paper topic questions. Providing a conclusion that briefly touches on your main point and mainly speculates about the broader implications of your argument. See the “Structure of an Interpretive Paper” for more information on essay conclusions. Following academic standards for mechanics (MLA style, including integrating quotes in a proper way); a thoroughly proofread paper; format (consult the “Paper Style and Close Reading Tips” sheet; and academic style (clear, concise, and engaging prose).
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