Essay Instructions: Please write a symbolism analysis on the short story: The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck. Please use the literature book as the source, I am faxing copies of the story and book information. Please see the instructions below:
Assignment: Using a short story or a poem from your textbooks, write an essay in which you identify and explicate a central symbol (or chain of symbols) in the text.
Ways to Proceed: First, find a short story or poem that sticks out to you for its imagery. Then examine this imagery for how it comments on the text. Think of all of the symbols in “My Last Duchess” that lead you to believe that the Duke of Ferrara is a contemptuously evil person when it comes to marriage and his wives: the story that he tells, the bronze sculpture of Poseidon taming a seahorse, his bald arm-twisting regarding a dowry. All of these symbols inform his character. It is impossible to understand Ferrara without understanding the symbolism in the poem. In this case, it is the chain of symbols in the story that informs us about the Duke. Or think of what the bride represents in “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky.” She is the central symbol in the text explaining the impending civilization coming to the town. What does she represent? A woman represents in this era domestication, “settling down,” or, in short, civilization. She is the lynchpin that holds the story together. In other words, she is the central symbolic image upon which the story turns. Your goal is to find and interpret a similar symbol or chain of symbols that informs some aspect of the text. If you can do this, you can have a successful essay. Keep this in mind: a symbol is something that stands for something else in the text.
Criteria for Evaluation: Your essay should be at least three (3) pages in length, not including the Works Cited page. You will be expected to develop a thesis driven essay that focuses on one short story or poem and explicates a symbolic theme in the text. You will be expected to make general statements about the symbolism in the story and to develop and support these statements in paragraph form throughout the body of the essay citing textual examples when appropriate. I will be paying special attention to focus, development and structure (essay-, paragraph-, and particularly sentence-level structure). Make sure that your essay is well focused and structured for this assignment. Proper MLA citation and documentation—including parenthetical citations in the text of the paper and an “Works Cited” page—is an absolute necessity for this paper. Good luck on this assignment.
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