A thousand Splendid Suns--comparative Literary Essay Assignment Background

Download 55.99 Kb.
Hajmi55.99 Kb.

A Thousand Splendid Suns--Comparative Literary Essay Assignment

“[Literature] teaches us a great deal about who we are…lets us see ourselves, even the parts that we’d rather not see.”

Actor Henry Czerny, Interview on CBC radio, Feb. 7, 2008
“Literature has many purposes and opens doors to unique worlds, which are never wholly removed from our own, and characters, who almost always have much in common with us and the challenges we face in the modern world. Through literature we rediscover ourselves and our world time and again.”

“Rediscovering Literature,” Middletown Thrall Library, http://www.thrall.org/redislit.htm.

Characters’ dialogue and actions serve to reveal themes in literary works. What characters learn from their experiences, we, as readers, learn vicariously. What is learned is a wide variety of themes. By examining specific actions and speeches of characters throughout A Thousand Splendid Suns, you should be able to discern distinct themes that develop.

Write a five-paragraph essay (minimum 750 words) comparing one of the following pairs of characters:

  1. Mariam and Laila; OR d) Babi and Jalil; OR

  2. Jalil and Rasheed; OR e) Babi and Rasheed

  3. Nana and Mami; OR

Discuss three of the characters’ traits and what the reader learns from the characters’ experiences (i.e. a theme). Your comparative essay will be an integrated analysis of both character and theme.

Sample thesis statements integrating both character traits and theme:

1) _______________, ________________, and _______________ give a person the strength to endure the most troublesome of times. (Fill in the 3 traits.)

2) Sometimes the most horrible treatment brings out some of the best traits in the victims, such as ______________, __________________, and _____________________. (Fill in the 3 traits.)

3) Putting others before oneself can be a difficult sacrifice, but it builds strength of character.

____________ and ____________ demonstrate such selflessness, as well as ____________, and _________________. (Fill in the characters’ names and 2 traits, in addition to selflessness.)

4) What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. This axiom is reflected in the experiences of _________________ and ________________ which demonstrate their common traits of ____________________ , ___________________, and ____________________________. (Fill in the characters’ names and 3 traits.)

5) The ____________________, ______________________, and ____________________ of _____________________________ and ______________________ in the face of injustice serve as a reminder that we must fight against the oppression of human rights. (Fill in the 3 traits and the characters’ names.)

6) ______________________ and _____________________’s experiences reveal their ____________________, _______________________, and __________________________ reflecting the theme(s) that ____________________________________________________

-some people will mistreat others rather than causing themselves shame

-it is easy to victimize the vulnerable

-lies have the power to destroy lives

-humankind has an excessive capacity to commit brutality against our own (Fill in characters’ names, 3 traits, and a theme.)

7) Fictional characters provide us with examples of parental behaviour to either follow or reject. Through __________________________and ______________________’s relationships with their children, we learn what we should or shouldn’t do. From their ______________________, ________________________, and __________________________ , we learn _______________________________________________________________________________________________________. (Fill in characters’ names, 3 traits, and a theme.)
To aid your brainstorming, use the chart below to compare your characters:

Traits to be compared

Support for each character

(select a key speech or action that reveals the trait in each character; include at least one quoted passage per paragraph from A Thousand Splendid Suns followed by page # in brackets)


What is learned from the characters’ experiences? (Express theme as a FULL sentence: a complete thought.

Second Draft Due: ____________________

Plagiarism Warning
Do NOT use ANY secondary sources. All you need is the book and your brain. Essays containing any borrowed wording (other than the necessary acknowledged quotations from the novel for support) or borrowed ideas will earn a zero. Submit your work online to turnitin.com using the instructions provided (available online also, from class Web site).

Use this list to get some ideas of three traits that your two chosen characters have in common. Since some words are synonyms for each other, be careful to choose three distinctly different attributes in your thesis statement; use the synonyms to add variety to the rest of your writing. If you don’t know what some of them mean, expand your vocabulary–look them up!
Character Traits

aggressive ambitious amoral angry depressed

apathetic argumentative artistic austere authoritative

awkward belittling brave bold bossy

businesslike calculating callous carefree caring

cheerful chivalrous clever cold confident

congenial considerate controlling cool-headed cooperative

courageous courteous cowardly critical crude

cruel curious daring deceitful demanding devious diffident

diplomatic disgusting dishonest disloyal disorganized

domineering dreamy duplicitous eager egotistical

empathetic energetic enlightened entertaining enthusiastic

faithful fawning fearful flamboyant foolhardy foolish

frank friendly generous gentle giving

greedy gullible happy-go-lucky hateful hesitant

honest honourable hopeful hot-headed hot-tempered

humble hypocritical ill-mannered ill-tempered impatient imaginative

immature immodest impulsive inconsiderate independent

indecisive industrious ingenious insensitive insincere

intelligent introspective introverted inventive irresolute jocular

joyous keen kind laid-back lazy

level-headed loyal macho mature meditative

mischievous miserly modest moody moral

mouthy nasty naive negative nervous

neighbourly nonchalant nosy obnoxious obsequious

observant optimistic organized outgoing outspoken

overbearing patient paranoid paternal peaceable

pedantic pensive perfectionist pessimistic picky

pious polite practical predictable proud

quiet racist rational reasonable rebellious

relaxed reliable respectful responsible romantic

rough rude sad sadistic saintly

sceptical scholarly secretive sensitive shallow

shy self-centered selfish selfless serious

sharp shallow shrewd sincere smug

sneaky snobby solemn spontaneous stingy

stoic suggestible suspicious sympathetic tactful

talkative thick-skinned thin-skinned thoughtful thoughtless

timid touchy tough treacherous true

truthful uncaring uncouth unctuous unfriendly

underhanded unreliable untruthful vain warm-hearted weak-willed whiny wishful wistful

worried zealous

The Comparative Literary Essay Checklist

(for an essay comparing characters and analysing theme)
On the first page (not a separate title page), include the writer's name, the teacher's name, the period, the date due, and an original, effective title for the essay. The essay should be double-spaced, have numbered pages, and include a word count on the last page.
I. Introduction
The introduction of a comparative literary essay contains several key ingredients:
1. The "hook": something to grab the reader's attention. A good hook is a bridge between what the reader knows about the world at large and what s/he will learn about by reading your essay.
2. Tie-in: a sentence that relates the hook to the essay topic. The tie-in is also where the title and author are placed.
3. Thesis: Introduce the characters being compared, their three comparable traits, and the theme revealed by those traits.
II. Body paragraphs
Each body paragraph will use the same formula: Statement, Proof, and Analysis (SPA).

The ingredients of the body paragraphs are as follows:

1. Statement of topic: mention the two characters and the first of the traits you intend to compare, connected to one of the novel’s themes. The second body paragraph's topic will be the second trait taken from the introduction, connected to the theme. The third body paragraph’s topic will be the third trait listed in the introduction, connected to the theme.
2. Set-up: This one sentence is a brief description of what is happening at the time of the supporting quotation you are using (see #3 next).
3. Proof: Provide at least one quotation from the literary work which supports your topic statement, along with additional paraphrasing and summarizing. Include proof for both characters. Don’t end a paragraph with a quotation; leave yourself the final word (see #4 next). If quoting dialogue, reproduce paragraph divisions, punctuation, and indentations exactly to help your reader follow the flow of conversation. When including speech within a quoted passage, use single quotation marks around what is spoken aloud, to distinguish it from the rest of what is quoted, which should be enclosed in double quotation marks (See below, and refer to online MLA Essay Style Guide for examples).
4. Analysis: a detailed examination of exactly how the proof supports your thesis. Roughly double the length of your quote. Connect your comparison of character traits with your analysis of theme.

Below is an excerpt from a comparative literary essay, demonstrating an exemplary introductory thesis paragraph, and a body paragraph showing the pattern of topic statement, set-up, proof, analysis, and concluding sentence:

(originally double-spaced, except for quotations, but single-spaced here to conserve space)

During our lives, at some point we will cross paths with the beasts of our society. Beneath all the heartache and destruction that they may cause, it is still possible to find those individuals whose acts give us the strength to stand back up on our feet. This is the message Khlaed Hosseini would like readers to learn throughout his novel A Thousand Splendid Suns. Putting others before ourselves can be a difficult sacrifice, but it builds one’s character. Laila and Mariam demonstrate such selflessness as well as bravery and strength.

There are certain people who always choose to think of ways to benefit themselves and never those around them. Throughout Mariam and Laila’s lives, they make many sacrifices to protect the ones they love. The greatest act of selflessness Mariam displays occurs when she willingly gives up her own life to provide Laila with one of freedom. She says:

“Don’t do this, Mariam. Don’t leave me. Don’t break Aziza’s heart.” “They chop off hands for stealing bread,” Mariam said. “What do you think they’ll do

when they find a dead husband and two missing wives?”

“No one will know,” Laila breathed. “No one will find us.”

“They will. Sooner or later. They’re bloodhounds”....

“Mariam, please ---”

“When they do, they’ll find you as guilty as me. Tariq too. I won’t have the two of you

living on the run, like fugitives. What will happen to your children if you’re caught?”

Laila’s eyes brimming, stinging.

“Who will take care of them then? The Taliban? Think like a mother, Laila Jo. Think

like a mother. I am.” (357-8)

Mariam shows the trait of selflessness by offering to give herself up for the death of Rasheed, rather than taking the chance of their both getting caught and executed. Unlike herself, she knows that Laila has a lot more to lose, namely her children and Tariq. Laila shows this trait when she chooses to stay in Kabul and live with Rasheed in order to protect her and Tariq’s unborn child.

Before Abdul Sharif’s visit, Laila had decided to leave for Pakistan....But, suddenly, leaving was no longer an option. Laila pictured herself in a refugee camp, a stark field with thousands of sheets of plastic strung to makeshift poles flapping in the cold, stinging wind. Beneath one of these makeshift tents, she saw her baby, Tariq’s baby,... its skin mottled, bluish gray...lowered into a hole dug in a patch of windswept land... How could she run now? ....Laila already saw the sacrifices a mother had to make.


In the beginning of this passage, Laila expresses her desire to leave Kabul and make a fresh start in Pakistan. Once she discovers that she is bearing Tariq’s child, she decides that leaving is no longer a suitable option. To supply her child with food and shelter, she chooses to enter an undesirable marriage with Rasheed. When we become mothers, portraying selflessness becomes second nature.

III. Conclusion
There are key ingredients to a well-written conclusion to the five-paragraph comparative literary essay as well.
1. *Restatement of thesis: State again for the reader the 3 comparable traits of the characters, and the theme revealed by the characters, without using exactly the same wording as in your introduction; don’t copy and paste.
2. *Reference to your hook: This reference brings the reader full circle, reflecting back to the hook which grabbed your readers' attention. You may choose, instead, some other ending which is linked to what you have proved in your essay, but which is also relevant to the reader beyond the scope of your paper: address the reader’s challenge, Why should we care?!

(excerpt from MLA Essay Style Guide; full version available online on class Web site)

In MLA style, referring to novel passages is done by using what is known as a parenthetical (bracketed) citation. This method involves placing a page number in brackets at the end of the sentence. A level 4 paper must follow this guide.
1. When quoting prose passages that are 4 lines long or less, simply integrate them with your own double-spaced commentary and introduce them with whatever punctuation would be necessary if all of the words were your own. When the quotation is written within the text in this way, punctuation is placed AFTER the brackets.
e.g. Nana feels bitterness over being betrayed; she has been treated like a weed: ripped out of Jalil’s life
and tossed aside: “To Jalil and his wives, I was a pokeroot. A mugwort” (8).

2. When quoting a short excerpt of dialogue by only one character along with narration, use single quotation marks around the speech, and regular quotation marks around the narration:

“But Laila has decided that she will not be crippled by resentment. Mariam wouldn’t want it that way. ‘What’s the sense?’ she would say with a smile both innocent and wise. ‘What good is it, Laila jo?’ And so Laila has resigned herself to moving on. For her own sake, for Tariq’s, for her children’s” (392).
3. When quoting prose passages that are longer than 4 lines on your page, indent ten spaces from the left margin (tab twice), single-space, and do not add quotation marks around narration. A colon generally introduces a quotation displayed in this way, although sometimes the context may require a different punctuation mark or none at all. In longer quotations set off from the text in this way, the final punctuation comes BEFORE the citation in brackets.
The imagery used to describe the setting helps add to our negative impressions of Rasheed’s
character and reflects Mariam’s mood of despair:
For most of the days, Mariam stayed in bed, feeling adrift and forlorn. Sometimes she went downstairs to the kitchen, ran her hands over the sticky, grease-stained counter, the vinyl, flowered curtains that smelled like burned meals. She looked through the ill-fitting drawers, at the mismatched spoons and knives, the colander and chipped, wooden spatulas, these would-be instruments of her new daily life, all of it reminding her of the havoc that had struck her life, making her feel uprooted, displaced, like an intruder on someone else’s life. (62-3)
4. When quoting dialogue involving two or more characters, follow the convention of beginning a new paragraph for each new speaker, to make the conversation easier to follow, and indent every paragraph:
The foundation of Laila’s love for Tariq is laid early, in their childhood friendship:
Nine-year-old Laila rose from bed, as she did most mornings, hungry for the sight of her friend Tariq. This morning, however, she knew there would be no Tariq sighting.

“How long will you be gone?” she’d asked when Tariq had told her that his parents were taking him south, to the city of Ghazni, to visit his paternal uncle.

“Thirteen days.”
“ Thirteen days?”
“ It’s not so long. You’re making a face, Laila.”
“ I am not.”
“You’re not going to cry, are you?”

“I am not going to cry! Not over you. Not in a thousand years.”

She’d kicked at his shin, not his artificial but his real one, and he’d playfully whacked

the back of her head.

Thirteen days. Almost two weeks. And, just five days in, Laila had learned a

fundamental truth about time: Like the accordion on which Tariq’s father sometimes played old Pashto songs, time stretched and contracted depending on Tariq’s absence or presence. (187)

5. a) When a quotation is introduced by a full sentence, end the sentence with a colon; otherwise use whatever punctuation you would use if the quotation marks were not there.

b) Use no punctuation when the quotation forms part of the sentence.

e.g. The image of “a fire sparkling in lovers’ eyes” helps to reflect the positive aspect of love (188).

c) If a quotation ends the sentence, use a period even if some other punctuation was

originally used.

To cut a quotation short, change the punctuation.

Works Cited

The last page of your essay, titled Work Cited, must indicate the text you used as the source of all of your quotations, following the instructions below:

Book with author Author's surname, first name and initial. Book title. (Nearest) city of

(novel, textbook, etc.) publication: publishing company, year of publication.

e.g. Adams, Charles L. Famous Musicians. Toronto: Wiley, 1981.

-Write in the present tense.

-Discuss and conclude your subtopics in the same order as that in which you introduce them.

-Follow guide provided re how to include supporting quotations.

-Discuss both characters in each of the body paragraphs.

-Discuss the characters in as much depth as possible, avoiding superficial observations such as similarities in physical features, clothing, etc.; focus on conclusions you have had to arrive at by interpreting dialogue and actions, rather than on details provided to you explicitly by the narrator.

--fill out plan below in point-form

Attention Getter: __________________________________________________________________________

Thesis (the 3 comparable traits you found in the two characters and a related key theme that is revealed through them): ________________________________________________________________________________




First Topic Sentence (subtopic/trait 1): ________________________________________________________

Support (Include at least one quotation along with paraphrasing and summarizing from novel):

1) ___________________________________________________________________________________________

2) ___________________________________________________________________________________________

3) ___________________________________________________________________________________________

Concluding sentence (summarize paragraph content; refer back to thesis): _____________________________


Second Topic Sentence (subtopic/trait 2); help make transition from previous paragraph: _____________

Support (Include at least one quotation along with paraphrasing and summarizing from novel):

1) ___________________________________________________________________________________________

2) ___________________________________________________________________________________________

3) ___________________________________________________________________________________________

Concluding sentence (summarize paragraph content; refer back to thesis): ____________________________


Third Topic Sentence (subtopic/trait 3); help make transition from previous paragraph: ______________

Support (Include at least one quotation along with paraphrasing and summarizing from novel):

1) ___________________________________________________________________________________________

2) ___________________________________________________________________________________________

3) ___________________________________________________________________________________________

Concluding sentence (summarize paragraph content; refer back to thesis): _____________________________



Review of 3 comparable traits and related key theme you found revealed by the two characters: ___________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________

Memorable Statement: _________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________
Comparative Literary Essay: Editing Checklist

Edited by: ___________________________Proofread ALOUD by: _________________

Has the writer done the following?
1. Provided an interesting and compelling "hook"?
2. Created a successful link between his/her hook and his/her topic?
3. Referred explicitly to the title of the book and its author in the introduction?
4. Created a clear thesis that makes a statement comparing three traits of two characters and linked them to at least one theme? Can you identify the thesis?
5. Used the correct method for writing book titles (i.e. underlining)?
6. Used a tone for the essay that is formal and academic?
7. Introduced each body paragraph with a clear topic sentence that refers back to the thesis (are there key words that are repeated in the thesis and topic sentences?), thus demonstrating that this paragraph will prove his/her argument?
8. In each paragraph, compared the characters explicitly and linked them to a theme of the novel? Used effective transitional words/phrases when doing so (e.g. similarly, likewise, also, on the other hand, in contrast, however, but, etc.)?
9. Used evidence from the text in the form of quotations in each paragraph?
10. Given each quotation context by introducing it briefly?
11. Used the correct method to cite the source of the quotation, and the correct punctuation for introducing and ending the quote? Consult the online MLA Essay Style Guide (www.ban.scdsb.on.ca, Staff, Hayward, MLA Essay Style Guide).
12. Analysed each quotation, demonstrating useful insights into the work and indicating a link between the quotation and the point s/he is trying to make in the paragraph (and the essay)?
13. Developed a concluding sentence for each paragraph that restates the topic sentence (without repeating the same word choice)?
14. Concluded effectively in the final paragraph?
15. Followed all the rules of Standard English? (Check for correct spelling, punctuation, grammar, capitalization, usage, etc.) Remembered to write consistently in the present tense?
16. Included a properly done Works Cited page at the end? Consult the MLA Essay Style Guide.

All literary essays must:

 on the first page, include the writer's name, the teacher's name, the period, the date due, and an original, effective title for the essay  be neat in appearance

 be double-spaced and have numbered pages  have a word count on the last page (should be 750+)

Level 1 (50-59%)

Below Provincial Standard

1- 1 1+

52% 55% 59%

Level 2 (60-69%)

Approaching Provincial Standard

2- 2 2+

62% 65% 69%

Level 3 (70-79%)

Meets Provincial Standard

3- 3 3+

72% 75% 79%

Level 4 (80-100%)

Exceeds Provincial Standard

4- 4 4+ 4++ 4!

82% 85% 89% 95% 100%



-support of central idea

-points of comparison

-reflects limited understanding of key points of comparison & theme

-thesis is simplistic or unclear

-identifies points of comparison & theme moderately well

-thesis is expressed with some effectiveness

-reflects considerable understanding of character similarities and theme

-thesis is expressed with considerable effectiveness

-reflects an insightful understanding of central points of comparison & theme

-thesis is extremely well formulated


-critical thinking

-supports central ideas with examples, quotations, and reasons that are limited in quantity, relevance and accuracy

-supports central ideas with examples, quotations, and reasons that are somewhat relevant and accurate

-supports central ideas with examples, quotations, and reasons that are relevant, accurate, credible, and sufficient

-supports central ideas with examples, quotations, and reasons that are relevant, accurate, credible, sufficient, and compelling



-focus on supporting central idea

-writing style

-use of language conventions and writing process

-correct documentation practice

-introduction and conclusion are limited in effectiveness

-limited development of body paragraphs

-demonstrates limited skill in sequencing parts

-limited grasp of formal tone

-limited vocabulary; expresses ideas with limited clarity

-many major and minor errors are evident and frequently interfere with reader’s understanding

-does not use correct form for citing quotations or for Works Cited

-some appreciation of the role of introduction and conclusion is apparent

-body paragraphs have topic sentences moderately developed by supporting details

-demonstrates some skill in sequencing parts

-tone is somewhat inconsistent

-adequate vocabulary; expresses ideas with some clarity

-some major and minor errors are evident and occasionally interfere with reader’s understanding

-uses some of the correct form for citing quotations and for Works Cited

-clear appreciation of how introduction and conclusion ought to function

-body paragraphs have topic sentences well developed by supporting details

-organizes ideas clearly and logically

-uses formal tone and style well

-very good vocabulary; expresses ideas very clearly

-some minor errors and infrequent major errors are evident but meaning is clear

-uses most of the correct form for citing quotations and for Works Cited

-presents unified and coherent structure, fully understanding how introduction and conclusion function and connect

-body paragraphs have topic sentences fully developed by supporting details

-organizes ideas very clearly and logically

-very effectively uses formal tone (no slang, abbreviations, contractions, or first-person pronouns) and style

-excellent vocabulary; expresses ideas with high degree of clarity

-very few minor errors in spelling, grammar, usage, punctuation, or capitalization evident; meaning is always clear

-consistently uses correct form for citing quotations and for Works Cited


-applies knowledge & understanding of characters, theme(s), and literary terminology with limited effectiveness

-applies knowledge & understanding of characters, theme(s), and literary terminology with some effectiveness

-applies knowledge & understanding of characters, theme(s), and literary terminology with considerable effectiveness

-applies knowledge & understanding of characters, theme(s), and literary terminology with exceptional effectiveness

*Note: A student whose achievement is below level 1 (50%) has failed to meet the minimum requirements of this assignment.
Download 55.99 Kb.

Do'stlaringiz bilan baham:

Ma'lumotlar bazasi mualliflik huquqi bilan himoyalangan ©hozir.org 2020
ma'muriyatiga murojaat qiling

    Bosh sahifa
davlat universiteti
ta’lim vazirligi
O’zbekiston respublikasi
maxsus ta’lim
zbekiston respublikasi
davlat pedagogika
o’rta maxsus
axborot texnologiyalari
nomidagi toshkent
pedagogika instituti
texnologiyalari universiteti
navoiy nomidagi
samarqand davlat
guruh talabasi
ta’limi vazirligi
nomidagi samarqand
toshkent davlat
toshkent axborot
haqida tushuncha
Darsning maqsadi
xorazmiy nomidagi
Toshkent davlat
vazirligi toshkent
tashkil etish
Alisher navoiy
Ўзбекистон республикаси
rivojlantirish vazirligi
matematika fakulteti
pedagogika universiteti
таълим вазирлиги
sinflar uchun
Nizomiy nomidagi
tibbiyot akademiyasi
maxsus ta'lim
ta'lim vazirligi
махсус таълим
bilan ishlash
o’rta ta’lim
fanlar fakulteti
Referat mavzu
Navoiy davlat
haqida umumiy
umumiy o’rta
Buxoro davlat
fanining predmeti
fizika matematika
malakasini oshirish
universiteti fizika
kommunikatsiyalarini rivojlantirish
jizzax davlat
davlat sharqshunoslik