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Essay Prompt: Working to advance one central idea (articulated in a thesis statement), conduct a thoughtful, well-crafted analysis of an aspect of love treated by Milan Kundera, in his novel, Ignorance. As a critical framework for your analysis, you may use any of the texts listed above by applying these to your analysis of Ignorance, wherever relevant. In order to formulate a workable thesis, you might take up one of the following three possibilities as a line of inquiry:
1. Examine the love between a pair of characters in Ignorance, arriving at conclusions about the nature/quality of their love.
2. Through an examination of various aspects of love in Ignorance, extrapolate a “theory of love” that Kundera might be offering. What is he telling us about love, at least in part?
3. Focusing on one character in Ignorance, examine the shape, nature, tendencies of that character’s love, in an attempt to arrive at conclusions about the character.
Format: Your essay should be roughly 4-5 pages in length (1,200-1,500 words). Make certain you have one-inch margins all along the page, double-space your work, and use size 12 Times New Roman font. Proofread for spelling and for mechanical and grammatical errors. Have fun and good luck!
• Be sure that you have a general-to-specific introductory paragraph that culminates in a thoughtful, rich thesis statement containing a position and a rationale.
• Be sure that your introduction includes the secondary source(s) you’re using by full name and title of piece.
• The remainder of your essay should be very well-organized, as you should have clear, convincing topic sentences.
• Then, your body paragraphs should be unified, complete, ordered, and coherent.
• Every single sentence should be closely linked to the one before it and the one after it. Nothing should be out of place.
• Integrate quotes and ideas from the secondary source(s) and from your primary source (the novel), weaving them in, in meaningful, thoughtful ways.
• Remember that substantive body paragraphs function in a number of ways: 1) their topic sentences help advance your thesis; 2) all the remaining sentences within the paragraph help support the topic sentence; 3) sentences are comprised of explanations, descriiptions, definitions, claims, opinions, etc., and they work to explain thoroughly to your reader your process of thought.
• In a paper that examines literature, you are noting your observations about the novel in claims, discerning a pattern from your observations, explaining this pattern to your reader, providing textual evidence through references to details in the text or by direct quotes from the text in order to substantiate your claims, and then analyzing the textual evidence to tell your reader what it all means, how she should interpret the text, etc.
• To the extent possible, be sure you are focusing on literary elements, remembering that you are writing about art—about a work of fiction. You are not, instead, examining a real life situation, as you might in a different course, in a different academic discipline (like psychology, philosophy, political science, history, etc.) To that end, keep your eye on literary elements – characterization, plot, setting, narrative devices, etc.
• Your concluding paragraph should be meaningful—don’t say empty, fluffy things just to wrap things up!
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