Essay Format details: 6-8 pages, double-spaced, 12-point font with reasonable margins, Chicago Style or MLA format for citations.
Building from a question in Elinor Fuchs’s essay (see below), you will report on and provide an argument about a central feature of your chosen play’s “small planet.” CLOUD NINE BY CARYL CHURCHILL
HOW TO PREPARE AND WRITE THIS ESSAY:
STEP 1: Journal article reading
Read Elinor Fuchs’s essay entitled “EF’s Visit to a Small Planet: Some Questions to Ask a Play”
STEP 2: Analyse source context and content of this article
What are the primary arguments Fuchs sets forth in this article?
Why does she begin with the premise that there are no “accidents” or events that happen “by chance” in the world of the play? How does she organize the questions? Why does she leave questions about character to the end of her article?
STEP 3: Play reading. Select one of the post-reading week plays on our syllabus.
Read the play you have chosen to focus on and then re-read and analyse it using Fuchs’s series of questions. Which questions prompt the most vivid and clear responses for you? Where do you encounter puzzles or ambiguity? Do other questions help to clarify these latter areas?
STEP 4: Identify the part of Fuchs’ essay that has been the most generative for your thinking about the play
For example, if the series of questions made you understand an enigmatic secondary character differently, you could explain how it did so and the ways in which that character contributes to what Fuchs describes as the “artistic pattern of the play.” As another example, if the questions lead you to understand puzzles or problematic aspects of the play differently, you could argue for why these are central to the principles that govern the world of the play. Alternately, your essay might focus on her main question in section 3: “Why was it essential to pass through the gate of the central image to get from the first to the last?”
STEP 5: Building on the part of Fuchs’s essay you identified in STEP 4, report on and provide an argument about a central feature of the play’s “small planet.”
In other words, this essay assignment asks you to engage with both Fuchs’s essay and a play to build a thesis argument. The essay should not be a simple description of the play or one of its elements. Rather, it should offer an analysis of a particular aspect and sources of evidence as they are tied to a specific argument. Most importantly, please remember that in an essay you must present a cogent argument and support it with evidence.
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