Essay Assignment Number Two: Close Reading Analysis, Interpretation, and Argumentation. In this paper you will use your close reading skills to analyze one or both of the following novels: The Stone Gods, 10:04, or The Lives of Animals (if you didn’t write on it for essay one). Your job is to persuasively interpret the novel’s meaning and develop an argument for its broader significance. Therefore, the logic of the paper is based on a movement from analysis to meaning to significance. That said, the format of the essay should begin with a sharply constructed, original, and creative thesis statement that foregrounds, from the outset, the meaning and significance of the essay. As the essay progresses, this initially unsubstantiated claim will gradually become more persuasive as the essay takes the reader through a series of close readings. Prewriting: In preparation for the essay you’ll want to go over your notes and select passages that interest you. The passages might be puzzling, beautiful, outrageous, lyrical, disturbing or otherwise noteworthy. You’ll then analyze each literary element very carefully, paying close attention to diction, imagery, syntax, tone, irony, and other patterns of possible meaning and interpretation. Once you’ve analyzed each passage you should then compare the passages with each other, looking for overlapping themes, keywords, echoes, contradictions and interpretations. From this wealth of analysis you can then develop an overarching argument that is substantiated by the close reading of multiple sections of the novel. Please Note: your argument should not be based on the lowest common denominator or the broadest possible thematic interpretation (both passages show “fear of death”). Instead, the argument, if it is to be original, persuasive, creative, and worthwhile, should be based on a sharper interpretation of the novel – an interpretation that is neither universal nor individualistic.