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please examine the elements of style in Leo Tolstoy’s novella, “The Death of Ivan Ilyich.”
Specifically, this assignment asks you to demonstrate your ability to:
Outcome 1.1 – summarize the main ideas or arguments of a given text
Outcome 1.3 – analyze the way the formal literary elements function within a piece of fiction
Outcome 1.4 – apply close-reading techniques to specific passages to reveal relationships in
the language and details that drive the text’s meaning
Outcome 1.5 – make claims about the way a piece of fiction (including both its text and
subtext) addresses issues beyond its pages (how fiction speaks to a general theme)
Outcome 2.1 – construct clear, effective, rigorously-revised arguments supporting a claim
Outcome 2.2 – provide and analyze relevant evidence in support of claims
Outcome 2.3 – use proper protocols and conventions of academic writing, including
correctly citing sources according to MLA guidelines and avoiding plagiarism
First, please return to Tolstoy’s novella, “The Death of Ivan Ilyich.” Reconsider it from a critical perspective. What techniques do you notice? A non-chronological time frame? Free indirect discourse? Shifting points of view? Long, circuitous sentences punctuated with em dashes? Terms borrowed from other languages? Large chunks of dialogue? Something else?
Next, identify in the story a single element of style that illuminates/reveals a single theme. For M.H. Abrams in A Glossary of Literary Terms, style is “the manner of linguistic expression in prose…it is how speakers or writers say whatever it is that they say.” Literary devices are the equivalent of the rhetorical devices you learned about in your W131 or W170 composition classes. These devices include, but are not limited to: point of view, voice, narration, tone, imagery, symbolism, figurative language, structure, metaphor, diction, and syntax. All of these exist in Tolstoy’s piece, but a few are significant for theme and meaning. You must tell me what it is that the piece says (theme), and how it says it (element of style.)
Please cite relevant evidence from the story and include MLA citations. All submissions this term that involve textual analysis should have a Works Cited page, even if Tolstoy is the only author you cite.
Your word count is 750 minimum.
Although brief, this is a formal writing assignment. Please be prepared to give yourself time to plan, draft, and revise before submitting on the evening of Monday, 5/23. This assignment will be evaluated according to the four criteria listed in the grading rubric below. Because I want to encourage you to take risks with your writing and to spend time developing your skills, I am separating your grade from the evaluation of your work on this assignment. In terms of grade, you will receive either 0 or 60 points based on whether you submit a satisfactory and complete assignment by the deadline. Submissions without Works Cited pages or MLA in-text citations will not be considered complete. At the same time, I want to provide you with helpful, timely feedback regarding your ability to demonstrate specific skills; therefore, I will evaluate your writing based on the criteria listed in the rubric below, letting you see the grades you would earn if this essay were evaluated for a letter-grade.