English homework help

English homework help. English 102/Tenenbaum
Essay #2: Analysis of The Lightest Object in the Universe, by Kimi Eisele                                   100 points


  • To conduct an in-depth analysis of a long work.
  • To learn techniques for this analysis.
  • To support a thesis with examples and explanation of those examples.
  • To write clearly about complex topics.
  • To practice MLA documentation.


Due Dates

Please fill in the dates below: They are announced in class and in Canvas.
________                       Preliminary thesis sentence due. Bring a typed copy to class, and submit through Canvas
at the end of class.
________                       Meet in Library Classroom
________       Essay 2 due in writing groups. Bring three paper copies.
________                       Essay 2 due. Canvas submission.


Typed and double-spaced, MLA style, with a Works Cited Page.


About 4-5 pages, or 1000-1250 words, not including the works cited page. This is a general guideline. If your essay is very much shorter than 5 pages, your thesis might not be focused or complex enough, or you might not have gathered enough evidence, or you might not have explained your ideas enough. If your essay is much longer than this, it’s likely that your sentences waste words and require editing. So yes, aim for this length, but more importantly, aim to discuss an interesting idea clearly and fully.

The Audience

The members of our class, including the instructor—people who are familiar with the book, but might be interpreting it in a different way or looking at it from a different angle.

The Assignment:

Write an essay which sets forth a thesis about The Lightest Object in the Universe, and which explores and defends this thesis. Your essay can choose one of the options below, and your essay will make a claim (thesis) about this topic and support the claim using evidence and analysis of the book. This essay is drawn from in-depth analysis of the book, and from outside sources where needed (see “Outside Sources” below).
Option 1: A theme in the book: This approach would explore one of the “threads” or binary tensions you have been following in your reading journal and in the class discussion, showing how this theme/tension develops in the book, and supporting a thesis about what the book says about this thread/theme, or about the overall significance of this theme or tension.
Option 2: The development of Carson or Beatrix’s character and/or their connection with each other: This approach will support a thesis about either of the main characters in the book, or their relationship. To develop the analysis, this essay might look at the following questions: Does the character change from the beginning to the end of the book? If so, what causes the change? What does the character represent? How does the character interact with other characters in the book? What theme or issues might these relationships illustrate?
Option 3: The theme of travel in the book. This essay will support a thesis about what travel means in the book. To develop the analysis, the essay might look at the following questions: What are the different modes of travel in the book? What are peoples’ reasons for travel? For any of the characters, does the purpose of the journey change during the journey? Do different kinds of travel mean different things? What are the different uses of travel?
Option 4: Real vs fictional post-apocalyptic scenarios: For this option, you’ll be discussing whether one or more aspects of the book’s imaginary future are likely or possible. For instance, in reality, how vulnerable is the electricity system in the U.S. Is it possible that it could fail? How successful are communal or utopian groups likely to be (there is a history of utopian communities in the U.S. that could be interesting to look into.) Is Jonathan Blue’s religious movement like other evangelical religious movements? Are there other predictions of what might happen in the U.S. were the electricity to go out and all government to fail? In other words, for this option, you would research one of these areas, or another that you find in the book, and discuss how closely the book aligns with the predictions of history and/or contemporary experts.
Option 5: A literary look at the novel as a novel. For this option, you’d be discussing how well this novel holds up as a novel, analyzing it in terms of the usual elements of fiction: character, plot, setting, point of view, as well as other criteria you think of. For this option, you would look up reviews of the book and interviews with the author to help you pinpoint aspects of the book for focus on, or to support what you would like to say about the book.
The topics above are not mutually exclusive: That is, a book analyzing character will probably of necessity have to talk about travel and one or more of the thematic threads we will have been discussing.
Does this essay contain your own opinion? The entire essay is your interpretation of the book, and so is a product of your brain, of your particular ways of looking. All your statements are supported by evidence from the book and from your other sources, if any, and by your analysis of these.

Outside Sources

The options vary in the kinds and number of outside sources they require.
Options 1 & 2: These focus on the book itself and require the least outside sources. However, where the book refers to facts or histories unfamiliar to you, you will need to look them up in order to understand and interpret the book. It could also be useful to look up interviews with the author.
Option 3: For this option, though the focus is mostly on what meaning you find in the book, you’ll need to find out about quests and journeys in literature, and how others have interpreted their meaning and purpose.
Option 4: This option is research-based: You’ll study an aspect of history or the contemporary world that features in the novel (for instance, the U.S. electrical grid, utopian communities, evangelical movements) to find out if what this novel imagines about it is realistic or likely.
Option 5: This option requires that you read reviews of the book and interviews with the author.
All options: You will of course have looked up words and unfamiliar references so that you can better understand the book, but unless they are referred to in your essay, they won’t be on your works cited page.

Essay Structure

Same as for Analysis Essay #2:

  • Opening paragraph that leads to a thesis at its end;
  • Paragraphs that follow from the thesis, each starting with a topic sentence, and comprised of examples and explanation;
  • Throughout the essay, a consideration of counterarguments and alternative interpretations;
  • A revisiting of the thesis to show how it has expanded or gathered complications as a result of the essay’s analysis;
  • An ending that extends the essay’s ideas and has emotional impact;
  • A Works Cited page.


Grading: 100 points

Basic MLA formatting (3 points): The entire essay is formatted according to MLA guidelines (double-spaced, indented paragraphs, title, heading, etc.).
Thesis (13 points): The essay has a clear and meaningful thesis, complex enough to require discussion, to which everything in the essay pertains.
Example, Explanation, Evidence (20 points): The thesis is illustrated with plentiful evidence from the text (and from outside sources if you have used or needed them), and this evidence is deeply analyzed, explained, and connected to the thesis. Alternative interpretations and counterarguments are addressed.
Opening and Ending (9 points): The opening is immediate and compelling. The conclusion is meaningful, gives a sense of closure, takes the essay a little further, and avoids repeating the beginning.
Organization (14 points): The essay follows the assigned structure. The paragraphs are organized (PIE) so that each develops the point made in its topic sentence. Each paragraph develops an aspect of the thesis. The paragraphs within the essay all relate to the whole, and follow logically from one to another.
Style and Sentence Clarity (9 points): The writing should be clear and fluid. Verbs should be strong and active. Word choice should be accurate and specific, and the words should be used correctly. Clutter and wordiness have been eliminated.
MLA documentation and mechanics of quotation (12 points): The essay avoids plagiarism and correctly uses the MLA system of documentation, including  a works cited page. All quotation, paraphrase, and summary from sources is introduced (meaningfully!) and formatted correctly.
The essay has made use of relevant and reliable outside sources according to what the chosen option requires.
Grammar and proofreading (20 points): The essay has been proofread and avoids distracting errors. Grammar and spelling should be standard and correct.

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