Writing About a Play
To understand the essay assignment, do the following:
1. Read the biographical sketch of each author very thoroughly.
2. Read each work actively by making marginal notes, underlining important ideas, and writing your first impressions.
3. Find the meanings of words that you do not understand.
4. Determine what is happening, where it is occurring, and who is involved.
5. Read Chapter 42 – (1362) Writing About A Play
Read Critically – 1362
Common Approaches to Writing About Drama – 1363
How to Quote a Play – 1370
Select one of the following topics and write a seven hundred and fifty-word essay (750 words/2 Pages).
Be sure to review procedures for writing about drama above.
1. What is the significance of the fence in August Wilson’s Fences? What does the fence
represent to Troy and to Rose? How does Wilson use the fence to develop theme?
2. Troy talks a great deal about the importance of independence and self-reliance, but he
is also a user and manipulator of others. Does this make him a liar? Something else?
3. How does Troy’s character change over the course of the play? Support your opinion
with specific examples from the play.
4. Are Troy’s problems self-created or out of his control? Support your opinion with
specific examples from the play.
5. To what extent is Troy wrong about how American society has changed during his
lifetime? To what extent is he right?
Writing the Essay
Your 750 word (two pages) essay should have an introduction, body, and conclusion.
The introduction should do the following:
1. Interest the reader with an effective opener
2. Identify the subject, work, and author (give author’s full name)
3. Introduce essay’s topic
4. Define key words, if necessary
5. Present a thesis statement
The Body should do the following:
1. Have logical organization
2. Have unity – present one central idea and be coherent.
3. Provide sufficient information to explain thesis statement
4. Have paragraphs that are unified, coherent, and adequately developed with details and evidence.
The conclusion should do the following:
1. Restate the thesis
2. Summarize the main points
When writing about literature, remember to do the following:
1. Place quotation marks around the titles of poems, short stories, essays or chapters of a
book and italicize the titles of novels or plays.
2. Use the present tense. For example, when explaining what a narrator says, you would
write this: The narrator describes the people gathering for the lottery: “Soon the men
began to gather, surveying their own children, speaking of planting and rain, tractors and
taxes” (233). Notice that the verb describes is in the present tense.
3. Incorporate quotes into your writing by introducing the quote as I did above or by
blending the quote into your sentence like this: The men discuss “planting and rain,
tractors and taxes” (233).
4. Document quotes from the literary works by placing the page number from the prose
work in parenthesis and the line number from a poem in parenthesis. Then write the
source cited on a works cited page like this example:
Jackson, Shirley. “The Lottery.” Literature – An Introduction to Reading
and Writing. Ed. Edgar V. Roberts and Henry Jacobs. 5th ed.
Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 1998. 233-238.
ENG 200 Spring 2018 Professor Long
5. Give your essay a title which reflects the content of your essay.
Remember that your essay should be double-spaced with your name and page in the upper
Plagiarism: Any student found guilty of plagiarism will receive a 0 for the assignment with
no opportunity to rewrite.