Primary Source Analysis Assignment (PSA)
For this writing assignment, you have your choice to work with one of four passages from primary sources listed below. In a structured essay of 2-3 pages, analyze the passage only (not the complete document as it appears in the course website). Carefully address all of the items below as thoroughly as possible. You are expected to use information from the textbook, class discussions, and lectures to help you answer these questions. Your paper should be typed or word-processed and double-spaced. Mark your responses clearly (i.e. 1., 2., 3., 4.). This paper is worth 20% of your course grade, is scored out of 100 points, and is due in class on Wednesday, September 25th. You also need to submit an electronic additional copy of your paper by blackboard.
1. IDENTIFY the passage you chose: specify the author of the source, what type of perspective it represents, the title, when and where it was composed, for whom it was composed (intended audience), the genre of the source (chronicle, letter, legal document, poem, etc.), and the broader historical period (what else is going on at the time of composition).
2. SUMMARIZE the main point(s) of the passage in your own words. [20 points]
3. ANALYZE the passage closely: What are the author’s goals in writing this document? In other words, why did the author write this document? What methods does he use to achieve these goals? Identify all significant words and phrases in the passage(s) and explain their meaning. Determine how these words work together to convey the ideas the author wishes to express. [30 points]
4. Explain the HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE of the passage: relate the document
to the historical context in which it was produced. What does this document tell you about the time and place in which it was written? What is the historical significance of the document - so what? Why is this document important for us to study?