Why should an informed reader of the text care?

Write a 3-4 page analytical paper that argues a critical interpretation of Light in August. You should demonstrate awareness of the recent, ongoing critical conversation surrounding our classroom discussion of your topic through proper contextualization, but the majority of the paper should make evident your own engagement with the text. Your ultimate objective is to contribute to our critical conversation, but to do so you must support your own arguments clearly and convincingly with textual evidence from the book.

Do not write a report or a summary of the reading. You should provide a brief overview of the text to contextualize/introduce your analysis in your introduction; state your thesis at the end of that introductory paragraph.

The body of your paper should consist of multiple paragraphs through which you prove your thesis. A body paragraph should begin with an argumentative topic sentence that supports and develops your thesis; use quotations from the text to support your assertions; further develop your assertions over the course of the paragraph.

Your conclusion should do more than merely summarize your previously-stated arguments. Project outward and consider the “big picture” here. Why is the outcome (your reading of the text) important or significant? Why should an informed reader of the text care?

The finished product should be typed in MLA format (use 12-point Times New Roman font). At minimum you should have 3 full pages of text and a Works Cited page that lists your source. Use the below prompt to devise your own thesis statement for this paper.

In Requiem for a Nun, William Faulkner writes that “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” He and numerous other Southern writers wrestle with the “burden of history” and the influence of past events on the present to the point that Southern literature has often been referred to as a literature with a “backward glance.” Write a short paper that makes an argument concerning the significance of Joe Christmas’s history and its influence on his present. Choose one specific event or occurrence in his past to make an explicit argument concerning Christmas and the outcome of the text.


Write in third person. DO NOT refer to yourself, your own experiences, or the experiences of anyone else not present in the reading; this is not a paper about you or your feelings. Do not refer to the reader as “you.”
DO NOT make connections between the text and “today’s society.” Concern yourself solely with the setting of the text.
DO NOT consult secondary sources of any kind; if you do so, you will have plagiarized (see the syllabus regarding academic honesty). I want to see you working with the book, and you should use evidence from Light in August (only) to support your points.
This paper is due when indicated on the syllabus. I will accept late papers—but I will deduct 5 points from the paper’s final grade for each calendar day that passes between the due date and the submission date. Papers submitted after class has begun on the due date qualify as “late,” as do papers left in my mailbox or under my office door—even if left there on the due date.
Failure to use MLA format correctly will result in a lowering of your final grade on the paper.


Approximately 250 words