Document Analysis Assignment

Paper details:

This exercise in close reading asks you to compare assigned texts from the Course Reader and to formulate and substantiate a clear argument based on evidence from within those primary sources:
B. Franklin, “Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind, Peopling of Countries” (
M. Crèvecoeur, Letters from an American Farmer (pp. 66-105) (,%2D%2DThis%20is%20an%20American.)
F. Zeh, An Immigrant Soldier in the Mexican War (pp. 3-11, 45-59)

Answer one of the following questions in 400-500 words:
1. How do Franklin and Crèvecoeur assess the relative importance of genealogy and environment in shaping the experience and fate of immigrants to British colonies in North America during the eighteenth century? [Note that you are asked to describe and analyze the differences or agreements between the two authors, rather than trying to explain the origin of that difference/agreement.]

2. Compare Zeh’s experience of immigration to the U.S in the nineteenth century, as he describes it in the assigned excerpt, to the experience of Andrew the Hebridean in the colonial period, as described in Crèvecoeur’s fictional account. How do the two authors differ in their representation of the kinds of obstacles and challenges a newcomer faces. [Note that you are not being asked to speculate on why the two experiences being described might have differed.]

Other instructions:
• Make sure that your argument appears clearly in the first paragraph.
• Support your argument exclusively with evidence from the assigned texts.
• Consider the entirety of each reading assignment in making your argument –
showcase your grasp of the reading by reaching beyond obvious examples.
Avoid lengthy introductions; get to the point.
Do not waste your word allotment on lengthy quotations. Try to break up quotations, and to incorporate them into your own sentences.
Make sure you understand the meaning of every word you choose.
You need not include a title page or an essay title.
You need not use footnotes or endnotes. Whenever you quote from the assigned reading or refer to a specific moment in the text, simply indicate the page # from the original text (rather the pagination of the Reader) in brackets after the quotation or after the closing punctuation of your sentence.
Do not refer to these documents as novels (even though one of them is indeed a work of fiction).
Essays should be double-spaced, proof-read, and submitted by 5 pm on Friday February 11.
Late papers will be penalized by one partial grade (e.g., a B becomes a B-). No papers will be accepted after Tuesday 2/25 at 5 pm.

Grading rubric:

A papers
1. make a clear argument;
2. provide compelling evidence from the texts;
3. show a good grasp of the texts
4. are clearly and correctly written.
Pluses and minuses reflect how interesting, original, or insightful the argument is.
B papers do some but not all of the four things listed above
C papers do no more than one of the four things and may show some misunderstanding of the texts
D papers don’t make sense and are sloppy and perfunctory

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