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Pick ONE (1) of the following questions and write a 5-paragraph essay that answers the question fully using textual examples. I expect the following from every essay:

  • An introduction that identifies the writer and the title of the poem (properly marked), a clear subject, a clear thesis, a plan of development that indicates the three major points you plan to make, and a springboard statement into the essay.
  • Body paragraphs that have one clear point, that use quotations (with signal phrases, analyses, and parenthetical citations referencing the line numbers of the poem), and offers an insight that supports the essay's main thesis.
  • Quotes must follow the special rules for poetry for both short and long quotes (with citations using line numbers).
  • A conclusion that ties the three major points together with the thesis of the essay.
  • No works cited is required.

To assist you, you may prepare an outline (not the essay itself) on a 5" x 8" index card. I will check to make sure that you have not written out the whole essay on the card before the exam starts. If you cannot find a 5" x 8" index card, you may cut one out using paper. Copies of the poems will be provided, and you may list line numbers to remind you of what quotes you would like to use in the exam.

Please select ONE of the following questions for your essay topic:

1. "The Raven" features several references to forgetting. Track this image through the poem and indicate if the narrator of the poem is sincerely trying to forget or not.

2. How do the details of the first three stanzas of "The Raven" establish the narrator's specific mental and emotional condition? Pointing to at least three specific details, explain what the narrator's mental/emotional condition is as the poem opens and why it establishes a believable basis for the subsequent "conversation" with the raven.

3. The narrator of the poem claims to be engaged in a dialogue with an actual raven, but to what degree is he in control of both the questions and the raven's response? Given the last stanza, how much has this conversation helped the narrator to resolve his distress? Give specific examples to support your claims.

Your written essay will be graded out of 50 points. Your exam card will be graded out of five points.





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