Author ________________ Editor ______________
Use the instructions (page 2)to edit your partner’s paper.
Is the thesis interpretive? How?
Is the methodology specific enough? How could it be MORE specific?
Does EACH underlined section of close reading SPECIFICALLY address syntax, tone, diction, imagery, repetition, grammar, or word choice? Mark the ones that do not. Below, suggest how they might.
Intro Paragraph: Put thesis statement in bold, methodology in italics.
Hedda Gabler explores a great many social pressures, anxieties, and human needs. Chiefly, students of the play have focused on the portrayal of marriage and class in Ibsen’s society. In this paper, I propose to argue that Ibsen’s primary theme is not either marriage or class, but rather the more abstract—and basic—possibility of personal freedom in contemporary society. Specifically, Hedda Gabler suggests that any appearance of personal freedom is a cruel illusion. The best way to pursue this argument is to consider comparatively the two major characters who appear to be the most able to be free, Lovborg and Tesman, and the two major characters who seem least able, Hedda and Thea. I will show that even the “freest” characters are no more free than those whose lives are most obviously determined externally.
Body Paragraphs: Underline topic sentence; italicize the part of the sentence that defines the paragraph’s topic; put in bold the part that connects the topic to the thesis. Underline prose that interprets use of language.
As men from respectable families, men with professions and status, and simply as men, Lovborg and Tesman would seem to be icons of personal freedom. Almost as soon as Lovborg is mentioned in the play, Tesman says, “I am so glad to hear it. He is quite respectable again” (560).1 Notice the syntax of Tesman’s assessment of Lovborg: respectable is bordered on each side with adverbs of intensification. Lovborg is not merely “respectable,” but quite respectable again. These intensifiers suggest that by a subsequent action—in this case by writing a critically and popularly successful history book—a man can not only mitigate past indiscretions, but erase them. Could a woman, once she has lost respectability, become “quite respectable again,” merely by writing a book? Would a book she might write even be published? Lovborg’s success implies that, at least for professionally successful men, personal freedom is a possibility. One may also notice that the men seem to have the ability to speak up for one another. Tesman, at least publicly, seems happy about Lovborg’s success. It is only when the professional success of one man threatens the professional success of the other that a tension arises. Otherwise, it seems quite a “live and let live” existence, a happy boys’ club.
1 All quotations from Hedda Gabler come from Drama: Classical to Contemporary. Eds. John C. Coldewey and W. R. Streitberger. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1998.
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