Brief: for this paper, analyze a single relationship in the novel and explain how it expresses or informs the theme. Details: The relationships for this assignment fall into one of three categories. Romantic: Macon/Ruth; Milkman/Hagar; Corinthians/Porter. Familial: Macon/Milkman; Pilate/Milkman; Ruth/Milkman; Macon/Pilate. Friendship: Guitar/Milkman. Again, choose a single relationship (and not an entire category). Remain open-minded if your writing leads you to discuss aspects of the novel outside of your chosen relationship, but such a strategy runs the risk of creating a paper that is too superficial. Theme: you have a fair amount of room to interpret the theme. In the brief version of the prompt, Your theme/conclusion could be, and probably should be, specific to your analysis. To put it another way, what does your chosen relationship tell us about the novel as a whole? Further: this paper will require significant support from the text. In fact, you are advised to anchor each of your paragraphs with a significant quotation. Choose your quotations carefully, and give yourself some options early in the drafting stage (that is, highlight more than enough of the text). When you begin analyzing the quotations, you’ll discover connections and ideas that were not apparent at first. You want to be flexible enough to let your essay take shape from this analysis, rather than having a rigid thesis and outline from the beginning, and trying to squeeze everything into it. Be sure to cite any outside source materials that you consult while writing this paper. You do not need to use outside material, but if you do: cite it in your essay and include a works cited/consulted page. As always, it is your responsibility to provide original insight. Don’t settle for simple explanations, but rather try and uncover the novel’s complexity. Take risks—just make sure that your work is supported by the text.

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