The Book of Unknown Americans-Literary Analysis

The Book of Unknown Americans-Literary Analysis

Goals: (1) to demonstrate the ability to narrow down a topic, (2) to effectively present a focused analysis in which summary of plot and unnecessary details are avoided, (3) to have a thesis that succinctly and thoroughly explains the main argument using direct and strong language, (4) to use critical and innovative thinking in the analysis, (5) to prove points using the text, (6) to effectively engage with arguments presented in two sources, (6) to effectively apply the concepts of feminist, psychological or reader-response criticism to the analysis and interpretation,  (7) to effectively and innovatively apply concepts studied in class to your analysis, (8) to use grammar, mechanics, and punctuation conventions effectively, and (9) to use MLA conventions adequately.

Length and Format: A minimum of 5 typed pages (about 1,500 words) not including the Works Cited page, double-spaced, 1” margins, 12-point standard font size: ORDER YOUR PAPER NOW


  • Write a literary analysis of either the novel The Book of Unknown Americans
  • In your paper, present your unique interpretative analysis of the novel, applying literary concepts as well as one of the criticism lenses we have studied this quarter. Your analysis should reflect the complexity of the Latinx experience in the U.S.
  • Apply arguments made in two sources: one scholarly, peer reviewed and one intended for a general audience.
  • Sources will help you construct your argument: use them for support of your claims, apply ideas in the sources to your interpretation of the text, or use them for counterargument. The sources you choose can be either about the novel or about the topic you are analyzing.


  • The Book of Unknown American by Cristina Henríquez
  • One source intended for the general public, such as a documentary, a trusted website or news outlet, a podcast or radio program, a magazine article, a chapter in a book, etc. Make sure these sources are relevant, reliable, and current.
  • One scholarly, peer-reviewed article or book chapter.

Criteria of Evaluation

  • Effective use MLA format.
  • Do not quote from sources that do not present arguments, such as study guides.
  • Avoid writing in the first or second persons (I, my, we, our, you, your) for objectivity
  • Use verbs in the present tense to refer to events that take place during the timeframe of the text.
  • Crafting and organization of support/body paragraphs that include the components of Assertions, Examples, Explanations, and statements of Significance (AXES) to convey critical readings and interpretations of the texts with which you are working.
  • Don’t over quote nor end your paragraphs with a quotation. Always explain the quote’s significance, especially in relation to the thesis statement. For quotes of four lines or longer, use the “block format” and explain the details of this long quote and why it means.
  • Prove points using the text and sources.
  • Proper use of grammar and syntax will be important in conveying ideas lucidly.

Structure: Follow this outline

  1. Introduction: “hook” the reader by introducing the themes your essay will develop, by concisely describing interesting aspects of your text, by providing relevant background information, such as authors’ name, or any other relevant information about the novel. Then ease into your thesis: 1-2 sentences that encapsulate your interpretation of the texts. Thesis should be arguable and not solely based on personal opinion or constitute a statement of fact. Articulate the thesis in specific and effective language. Underline this statement. Make sure your thesis anticipates a discussion of how and why the novel or movie does something innovative and unique: ORDER YOUR PAPER NOW
  2. Body: Develop your analysis. Remember to make logical claims and prove them with ample and appropriate evidence from the play. Make analysis innovative. Do not summarize plot in the body.
  3. Conclusion: End your analysis by presenting more than a recapitulation of the thesis and main points, but a “Big Picture” of the importance of your analysis.
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