How can I organize this essay so that I can be sure to touch upon all necessary portions of the prompt while still writing a cohesive and comprehensive literary analysis? "Concentrating on...

How can I organize this essay so that I can be sure to touch upon all necessary portions of the prompt while still writing a cohesive and comprehensive literary analysis?

"Concentrating on specific examples from Survival in Auschwitz and Ignorance, discuss the tension between memory and oblivion in Primo Levi’s and Milan Kundera’s respective approaches to individual and historical experience."

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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This is an excellent question, and you are wise to think about this prior to writing. As I see it, you have four elements to deal with, two literary texts, memory, and oblivion.  There are two basic ways to organize these, so let's look at both.

First, you can organize by book. This entails having a section on the first text in which you discuss first memory and then oblivion, or vice versa. Then you would repeat.  Given the required length, I would say you are going to have at least one body paragraph for each book for memory and for oblivion, giving you a minimum of four body paragraphs to set forth what you want to say.  You could synthesize after the first book and then synthesize after the second book, or you could reserve your synthesis for after you discuss both books this was.

The second way to do this is by using the elements of memory and oblivion as your organizing principle.  This means writing about one of the elements, either book by book in two body paragraphs, or in one long body paragraph about both books.  Then you would write about the second element one of these ways, book by book or all in one paragraph discussing both. Again, you could synthesize at the end of each section or wait until you have discussed both memory and oblivion and then synthesize your discussion.

The chances are that one of these will feel more "right" to you than the others.  Since there is no real right or wrong, go with your feelings on this, and the material will fall neatly into place. Remember, this is an artificial construct you are placing on two different texts and two different elements, and as long as you have a plan, you will be fine!

On another note, I do not know if you are expected or permitted to introduce extraneous matters, but there has been some recent research that suggests that victims of the Holocaust who repress their memories, rather than remembering them, seem to have fared much better in life than those who chose to remember. This may have some interesting implications for your discussion.

I hope this helps you.  Good luck! 

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