ESSAY 5—Writing about Drama


The goal of this assignment is to understand the relevance of a play’s overall message (or messages) for

today’s society. Many passionate issues are presented in the major plays that are assigned for Comp. II.

Hopefully, you can find one or two that might get your juices flowing enough to develop a sound argument

based on logical reasoning! I expect you to use the literature as a springboard to the issues themselves.

Put on your critical thinking caps and discover the connections that link earlier societies to today’s society,

based on the issues identified in the play. For example, you might discuss the cultural stereotypes of

Eastern and Western societies and how they are distorted in M. Butterfly. Consider the theme of Women

and the Law and how Trifles illustrates stereotypical male/female roles in earlier Americana. Finally, you

might analyze the irony in Beauty. The sky’s the limit!


Once you decide upon a focus for your paper, you must provide examples or illustrations as evidence that

will support your argument. Quotes from the play will enhance your paper, but be careful not to overdo!

(Critical questions for reading plays can be found in your textbook on page 722.)


For an effective argument, you must include the following information:


? Make an overall claim–your thesis about an issue presented in the literature.

? Briefly describe the drama being used to illustrate the issue.

? Select specific details and quotes from the play as evidence to support your ideas.

? Provide support from at least four (4) credible outside sources.


Organize your argument in a manner that is easy to follow—introduce the play and playwright in the

introductory paragraph and include your thesis statement. The body paragraphs will continue to develop

the arguments you are making about the issues presented in the play along with evidence from credible

sources supporting or refuting your argument. Support each opinion sufficiently. Avoid over-generalizing

in your judgments or claims. Be sure to have an effective introduction, clear thesis, and effective



**Since this is a major research assignment, you must include at least four (4) properly documented

outside reference sources, in addition to quoting from the text, and include a Works Cited page.

Sources that are by themselves considered “substantial” are articles in scholarly journals or separate

critical books that either focus specifically on the author or the particular text you’ve selected or

provide critical/theoretical background for the subject, period or genre. Select secondary material

that can give you historical, sociological, psychological, feminist, theoretical, etc., perspectives on the

play you’ve chosen. Do not use encyclopedias, quotation books/websites, student essays posted

online, study guides, or other similar sources. You will find a wealth of wonderful sources by

accessing the online databases in the Rose State College Learning Center.



? 4 ½ – 6 pages, Times New Roman 12-pt. font, double-spaced, 1” margins.

? A properly formatted MLA-style “Works Cited” page (does not count towards the 4 ½ -page


? Properly formatted in-text citations.

? This paper must be written in THIRD PERSON POINT OF VIEW!!!!!!!

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