Critical Reading and Analysis

Critical Reading and Analysis

1000 words (max), double-spaced, 12-pt Times New Roman font


This assignment asks you to follow a specific series of steps to enable you to present a cogent analysis and argument: you are to analyze two passages in the story closely and then tie the conclusions of that analysis to the larger work in which the passages appear. This process allows you to analyze narrowed elements of the story in order to better understand the story as a whole.

The presentation of your analysis must follow a specific structure:

A brief initial paragraph in which you introduce your passages by identifying the text and the topic under discussion. The passages are listed below. In your assignment, simply refer to the first as Passage 1 and the second as Passage 2.

A second section, a possible one paragraph or two for each section, in which you present your close reading of your chosen passages, namely, your analysis of each. In doing so may want to include quotations from your primary text to contextualize, illustrate and prove your claims. A Works Cited page is not required for this assignment.

In a final paragraph, move outwards and tie the specific results of your analysis to the larger text (the story as a whole): what role do the passages have in relation to the larger narrative? How does your close reading influence your understanding of the storys major themes and its ending?

Question: The Garden Party

The Garden Party is a bildungsroman which focuses on Lauras growing questioning of the bourgeois boundaries within which she and her siblings live and are protected. However, although she acquiesces to her mothers influence throughout, access to Lauras consciousness enables the reader to perceive the characters sensibility and capacity for empathy. It also prefigures her visit to the Scotts house and her subsequent epiphanic reaction to the dead man, but the ambiguous dialogue at the storys conclusion raises questions concerning Lauras capability to sustain the development of her emotional growth. This assignment asks you to look closely at two passages that contain evidence of Mansfields presentation of the above assertion and to analyze the ways in which it speaks to the larger themes that emerge at the storys conclusion.


The passage beginning:

The front door bell peeled  Heres the man.  (page 65)

Laura only wanted to get out Forgive my hat, she said (pages 81 – 82)

      A word count must be included at the end of the assignment.

Please note: you may choose to write on another theme for this question (see PowerPoint slides on The Garden Party for list of themes) but you must limit yourself to analyzing TWO passages of no more that 20 lines each and adhere to the required word limit.


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