The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao


Paper 3:The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

5-6 pages, double-spaced.


The final analytical paper for this course represents the culmination of the analytical thinking and writing skills we have been developing over the entire quarter.  As such, your paper will be expected to present a sharp, analytically interesting thesis, solid detail analysis, and effective paragraph structures.  The subject of the paper will be Junot Diaz’s novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.


For this paper, write an analytical essay in which you address the following questions:


The Power of the Narrator:Yunior, the narrator of most of the novel, frequently interrupts the story to insert footnotes or to comment on the action.  Occasionally, he even calls attention to the fact that the novel itself is made-up and fictional.  Look, in particular, at “A Note From Your Author” on pages 284-85 and footnote #17 on page 132.  Write a paper that explains the significance of these narrative intrusions.  What is the effect of the occasional insertions?  How might they illuminate one of the novel’s larger themes?  (In writing the paper, focus on a small number of good examples that you analyze carefully.  Don’t try to cram in a long list of examples that are not well analyzed.  Do more with less.)


Do not use any outside sources for this essay.  This paper should represent your own thinking about this novel, not that of some other critic.  As for your audience, imagine that you’re writing to someone who has read the novel, but is not in our class.


Criteria for Evaluation

  • A strong thesis statement that makes a clear, provocative, arguable claim.
  • Effective, well-structured introduction and conclusion
  • Strong topic sentences that make a clear, provocative sub-claim of the thesis and organize the body paragraphs.
  • Specificexamples from the novel that you carefully analyze using the tools we have practiced in the course to support your claims.
  • A developedargument based upon a few good examples, rather than a list of unanalyzed details or a mere plot summary.  Remember, do more with less.
  • A coherent argument with a logical progression held together by strong transitions.
  • Clear and correct quotation, diction, punctuation and grammar.

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