Write a three-page characteranalysis of any one of the characters from August Wilsons Fencesor David Henry Hwangs M.Butterfly. Usingyour skills in close reading and interpretation, you should develop acareful analysis of characterization that is well supported byspecific textual evidence from the play.
Youmay want to consider the choices the character makes, his/her majorphysical and mental traits, what the character says abouthim/herself, how the character is perceived by others in the play,and whether the character grows or remains the same. As with theprevious assignment, you should avoidsummarizing the plot. Thisincludes surface level observations about the characters. Forexample, dont just say Troy Maxson was a baseball player whenhe was younger and describe his athletic history. Youll need todo the work of explaining how that shapes his character and, thus,our interpretation of the meaning of the play. Remember that you areanalyzing,which means that you are not only describing what is in a text butdemonstrating whyit is in a text, why it is significant.
Youcould choose from several methods to back up your thesis:
1.Organization around a central characteristic, like loyalty, shame,bitterness, kindness, frustration borne of limited opportunity, etc.A body containing this sort of material would demonstrate how theliterary work brings out such qualities in the character.
2.Organization around a development or change of character. Here youwould attempt to show the character traits a character possesses atthe start of the work, and then describe the changes or developmentsthat occur, and why they are significant for our understanding of theplay.
3.Organization around central incidents that reveal primarycharacteristics. Certain key incidents will stand out in a work, andyou might create an effective body by using three or four of these asguide for your discussion, taking care to show in your topicsentences that your purpose is to illuminate the character you haveselected, not the incidents. Therefore, regard the incidents only asthey bring out the truths about the character. With thisorganization, you would have to show how the incidents bring out thecharacteristics and also how they serve to explain other things thecharacter might do and why. Awarning on this approach: therisk of falling into plot summary of the play is much higher here, soproceed with caution. If youre taking this approach, make surethat your argument remains rooted in specific analysis.
Thisassignment will build on your skills in carefully analyzing a text tocreate an interpretation using close reading strategies that we havebeen developing in class discussions. You will also continue tofamiliarize yourself with key literary strategies and examine moredeeply how writers build meaning through characterization.
Minimumof 3 full pages
Typed,12-point font, double-spaced, with 1 margins
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