English Composition II
The Mid-term Essay: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
“Oh, how I love thee! How I dote on thee!”
- Option A: Write an analytical essay on the theme of the dark side of romantic love in A Midsummer Night’s Dream by focusing on three of love’s disturbing features as presented in the play.
- Option B: Write an analytical essay on an element
of drama from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, such as character, plot,
setting, symbolism, imagery, or theme.
- Note: Your thesis must be approved in advance.
- Option C: Write an argumentative essay on a controversial issue that A Midsummer Night’s Dream alludes to.
- Note: Your thesis must be approved in advance.
- The Primary Source: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
- The Secondary Sources (optional): books, library database articles, and/or film adaptations
· The Style Sheet: Modern Language Association (MLA)
· The Font: Times New Roman
· The Print: 12-Point Size/Black Ink
· The Length: a minimum of 1,300 words, or 5.5/6 pages, exclusive of the “Works Cited” page
- The Due Date: Friday September,27.
- You can earn an extra credit point by having a draft of your essay reviewed by one of the writing instructors at the ACE Center.
The Basic Structure of a Literary Analysis
The Introductory Paragraph
- The Lead
- The Synopsis
- The Thesis
- The Essay Map
The Body Paragraphs
- The Topic Sentences
- The Evidence
The Concluding Paragraph
- The Summary
- The Closing
Evaluating a Literary Analysis
(The Norton Introduction to Literature, Chapters 29, 30, 31, and 32)
- The Content: The content of your essay is the rational argument you present in which you state a topic, offer an opinion on that topic, provide reasons for that opinion, and give evidence for each of those reasons.
- _____ The Thesis: Your thesis should clearly and concisely state your opinion on
the topic you are analyzing in your essay.
- _____ The Focus: Your analysis should stay focused throughout your essay on your
- _____ The Reasoning: Your essay map should clearly and concisely state three
supportive, separate, and sufficiently broad reasons for your thesis.
- _____ The Evidence: The evidence you provide for each of your reasons should be
specific, adequate, and insightful. You should provide a minimum of three
relevant citations from the primary source.
- _____ The Basic Structure: The ordering of the elements of your essay should follow
the outline presented on page 2 in this handout.
- _____ The Ordering of the Reasoning and the Evidence: Your reasons as well as
the evidence provided for each should be chronologically and/or emphatically
ordered. In addition, the ordering of your three reasons in the body of your
essay should reflect the order as presented in your essay map.
- _____ The Topic Sentences: Each of your reasons should be clearly and concisely
stated in a topic sentence at the beginning of the relevant body paragraphs.
- _____ The Transitional Words, Phrases, and Paragraphs: You should use a variety
of transitional words and phrases selected from the supplemental class
handout entitled “Transition Words” whenever you introduce reasons and
evidence. In addition, remember to generally divide paragraphs whenever you
introduce a new reason or a new piece of evidence.
- The Rhetoric: Rhetoric is the art of effective or persuasive writing. In your essay, focus on the following various compositional elements and techniques to engage your audience’s interest.
- _____ The Audience: You are writing for a specific readership, one that is educated and
has read the literary work you are analyzing.
- _____ The Level of Language: You should observe correct sentence style, use standard
English, and adhere to the conventional rules of grammar, punctuation, and
- _____ The Tone: You should establish a rational, objective tone.
- _____ The Point of View: You should write from an objective, third-person point of view.
- _____ The Title: Your title should creatively announce the theme of your essay.
- _____ The Lead: Your lead should briefly introduce the theme of your essay by employing
one or more of the rhetorical strategies provided on the supplemental class handout
entitled “Beginnings and Endings.”
- _____ The Synopsis: Your synopsis should introduce the author’s full name, the title of the
work you are analyzing, and a brief overview of the play in one, two, or three
- _____ The Summary: Your summary should creatively restate your thesis and essay map.
- _____ The Closing: Your closing should briefly close on the theme of your essay by
employing one or more of the rhetorical strategies provided on the supplemental
class handout entitled “Beginnings and Endings.”
- The ABC’s of Communication
A) The Literary Conventions
- _____ When referencing the author of a text for the first time in your essay, use her or his full name;
afterwards, use her or his last name only.
- _____ When analyzing A Midsummer Night’s Dream, correctly spell the name of the author, the title
of the drama, and the names of the characters as well as the places where the action of the play
- _____ Consistently underline or italicize the titles of plays, films, and books; enclose the titles of essays,
articles, short stories, and poems in quotation marks.
- _____ Use present-tense verbs when discussing works of literature or citing secondary sources; use
past-tense verbs only when discussing historical or biographical data, or when identifying
events that occurred prior to the time of a drama’s main action.
- _____ When referring to specific acts or scenes from a Shakespearean play, use capital letters and
- Example: Act 3, Scene 3
- _____ Cite the primary as well as secondary sources correctly and make certain the parts of the texts
cited are smoothly incorporated into your analysis so that they are understandable to your readers.
- _____ When citing lines of verse from a Shakespearean play, note the correct use of the slash mark and
follow the text’s use of capitalization within the citation; when citing lines of prose from a
Shakespearean play, do not use slash marks and follow the text’s use of capitalization within the
citation. Refer to example 1 on page 7 in this handout.
- _____ When quoting from a Shakespearean play, use the long-quotation format when citing more than
three lines of verse or prose, or when citing a dialogue. Refer to examples 2 and 3 on page 7 in
- _____ When citing from a Shakespearean play, give the act, scene, and line number(s) using Arabic
numerals and separating the numerals with periods.
- Example: (3.3.3-33)
- _____ Since you are writing for a specific readership that has read the Shakespearean play you are
analyzing, generally avoid summarizing the plot.
- _____ Since you are writing for a specific readership that is educated, generally avoid explanations
of literary terms as well as definitions of familiar words.
- _____ Stay focused on objectively analyzing the text by generally avoiding moral judgments, personal
commentary, sweeping generalizations, or subjective evaluations of either the author or the text.
- _____ Generally avoid using expressions such as “in my opinion,” “I think,” “I feel,” “I believe,” and
so on. In addition, generally avoid announcing your intentions in the essay with phrases like
“I will analyze,” “My interpretation will focus on,” “This paper will show,” and so forth.
B) Modern Language Association (MLA) Papers
- A Writer’s Reference, Table of Contents, page 362
- _____ MLA In-text
- A Writer’s Reference, Directory to MLA In-text Citation Models, page 363;
Section MLA-4a, MLA In-text Citations, pages 384-392
- _____ In
addition, review the following:
- _____ Using quotations effectively (Section MLA-3a, pages 374-375)
- _____ Using the ellipsis mark (Section MLA-3b, page 375)
- _____ Using brackets (Section MLA-3b, page 376)
- _____ Setting off long quotations (Section MLA-3b, page 376)
- _____ Using signal phrases (Section MLA-3c, pages 376-380)
- _____ MLA List of
- A Writer’s Reference, Directory to MLA Works Cited Models, pages 363-364;
Section MLA-4b, pages 392-423
- _____ MLA
- A Writer’s Reference, Section MLA-5a, pages 423-426; A Sample MLA Research Paper, Section MLA-5b, pages 426-432
C) Sentence Skills
- _____ Sentence Style (A Writer’s Reference, Section S, pages 109-138)
- S1 Parallelism S2 Needed Words S3 Modifiers: Misplaced, Dangling S4 Shifts
S5 Mixed Constructions S6 Sentence Emphasis S7 Sentence Variety
- _____ Word Choice (A Writer’s Reference, Section W, pages 139-168)
- W1 Glossary of Usage W2 Wordy Sentences W3 Active Verbs W4 Appropriate Language W5 Exact Language
- _____ Grammatical Sentences (A Writer’s Reference, Section G, pages 169-218)
- G1 Subject-Verb Agreement G2 Verb Forms, Tenses, and Moods G3 Pronouns: Agreement, Case, Reference, Shifts
G4 Adjectives and Adverbs G5 Sentence Fragments G6 Run-on Sentences
- _____ Punctuation and Mechanics (A Writer’s Reference, Section P, pages 257-326)
- P1 The Comma, Comma Splices P2 Unnecessary Commas P3 The Semicolon and the Colon P4 The Apostrophe
P5 Quotation Marks P6 Other Punctuation Marks: End Punctuation, Dash, Parentheses, Brackets, Ellipsis Mark, Slash
P7 Spelling, Hyphenation, Proofreading P8 Capitalization P9 Abbreviations and numbers P10 Italics