Your assignment for the final is to write a 7-8 page (1750-2000 word) interpretation of a particular aspect (conflict, theme, chapter, passage, image, point of view, or other formal element) of Toni Morrison’s novel, A Mercy. Your primary evidence will be passages, quotations, and details from the novel that you identify using your good close reading (“research within the text”) skills. You must also quote from and engage with at least two secondary sources, which will provide evidence of how your “I Say” claims respond to conventional understandings of the novel and participate in the ongoing scholarly conversation about it. One of those secondary sources must be an essay or book chapter about A Mercy (Friedman’s or one that you discover in your own research); the second can be another essay or book chapter about A Mercy, Jonathan Culler’s chapter on point of view that you read in Week 2, Playing in the Dark, or a source that defines a concept from literary theory or cultural criticism that provides a compelling lens for interpreting the novel.
Your goals for the are:
Get evidence from the novel and your secondary sources and your good thinking/ideas about that evidence onto the page in a coherent form, using complete sentences that flow logically from one to the next.
Make a clear effort to define and begin to bear down on a topic, concept, or set of key ideas.
Write an introductory paragraph that starts with a provisional TS/IS sentence (or two) about the aspect of the novel that your essay will focus on and ends with a provisional TS/IS sentence (or two) about how your interpretation of that aspect complicates a surface or conventional understanding and/or participates in the scholarly conversation about the novel. For guidelines and different models of draft introductions and thesis statements, see “Introduction and Thesis” handout;