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As I lay Dying by William Faulkner Ant | Custom Assignment Helpssignme

Honors American Literature

Final Exam Essay

● Introductory paragraph that ends in a strong argumentative thesis.
● Body paragraphs (3-4) that begin with argumentative topic sentences (remember, like mini-thesis statements that orbit around the thesis/center of gravity) and that use supported and robust close reading analysis
● Conclusion (can use first person)


Dig into what resists you within the book; trust the weird; accept what is difficult; value your personal reading experience (your imagination, your confusion, your feeling-responses) as a central part of the piece of art. Deal with that as you deal with the language. Consider narrowing in on some motif/motifs that we’ve touched on and been intrigued by as a class: wood, water, fire, earth, blindness, horses, eyes, silence, sound, cows, horses, fish, floods, dresses, teeth, hair. Remember that with a work this complex, a narrow focus is likely to be a deeper, richer one.


  1. “Love”
    That’s what they mean by the love that passeth understanding: that pride, that furious desire to hide that abject nakedness which we bring here with us, carry with us into operating rooms, carry stubbornly and furiously with us into the earth again. (45-6)

Compare and contrast TWO characters’ understanding and/or expression of love. Through these characters, what does Faulkner suggest about love? Please include some discussion of the quote above.

No character is off limits, but please remember: organize your essay by IDEA, not by character. Make sure you are contending with both theme/meaning/ideas (“what” is being said) and form/style (“how” it is being said). Please read and review the rubric below.

Rubric—As I Lay Dying Final Exam Essay

 F to D-     D- to C 
 C to B- 
 B to B+ 
 A- to A+ 

Title (5 point) Title is thought-provoking and exciting.Consider the good old format “meaty quote bite”: Theme and theme or something about theme in William
Faulkner’s As I Lay
(10 points) Thesis answers a real, open-ended and exciting question and makes an argument that is interesting, textually based, clear and counter-intuitive.
Topic Sentences and
(10 points) Topic sentences answer real, open-ended and exciting questions that relate to the thesis. They make interesting, clear arguments that build off of one another.
Use of Close Reading
Skills for
(20 points) Evidence furthers the argument, NOT the plot.
Attention is paid to Faulkner’s stylistic choices, and passages are close-read in GREAT depth (consider all the elements of style that we’ve touched on in class). Each piece of evidence complicates or elaborates the ideas in an interesting way. Contradictory evidence is not ignored. The thesis-based argument builds and deepens throughout
Writing—Mechanics (10 points) Writing is clear and grammatically correct. Quotes are integrated
into the author’s sentences seamlessly, and cited properly. Essay follows the format assigned (see above). Author follows formal conventions.

Writing—Voice (10 points) Language is alive and ideas are conveyed with clarity and force. The author’s unique voice comes through.
Conclusion (10 points) Conclusion extends beyond the novel, adds to rather than repeats your idea


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