Description:               1000-1250 words, plus MLA-format Works Cited page

Sources:                       Jane Eyre OR The Virgin Suicides (just one, not both)



The Assignment


Essay 2 will give you a choice between two topics. You may either write about homelessness in the film Jane Eyre OR home-entrapment in the novel The Virgin Suicides. Instead of doing a comparative analysis akin to previous papers, Essay 3 will require you to focus on just one of these two texts.


Remember, it’s important to “start small, stay small.” That is, your introduction should be focused and specific, avoiding the tendency to make blanket statements about life by analyzing specific details from your text. The thesis should maintain this focus by drawing down your general topic (either homelessness or entrapment) into something smaller and more manageable. That is, if you choose Jane Eyre you will focus on one aspect of Jane’s homelessness instead of trying to approach homelessness from all angles.


Below are some questions that may help get you started on the assignment. You may choose to answer one (and only one) of these questions, or you may strike out in a direction of your own choosing:


Jane Eyre is technically only homeless for a very short period of the film; however, in what way does her homelessness exist metaphorically before and after this?

In the end, Mr. Rochester loses his mansion to a fire. How is his homelessness like Jane’s? How is it different?


Mrs. Lisbon says of the girls, “I thought if they stayed at home, they’d heal better” (137). However, their subsequent behavior seems to prove otherwise. Shouldn’t home be a place of healing? Why does it not seem to be for the girls?

The Virgin Suicides makes many references to the girls being “like something behind glass. Like an exhibit” (216). How is their home a cage? Where does this metaphor break down? To what extent, if any, did the gaze of the neighborhood, the boys, the reader, etc. contribute to their grief and suicides?



Criteria for Evaluation

1.  Does the thesis draw down the assigned topic into a more specified claim?

2.  Does the essay offer a focused analysis of details that serves a larger claim about the texts’ representation, assumptions, and/or approaches to the home?                                                           

3.  Does the essay remain independent and objective by relying on textual details?


4.  Does the essay exhibit coherence through a logical flow of ideas, well-developed paragraphs, and the use of transitions, attributive tags, and strong verbs?

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