Critical Lens

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INTRODUCTION:
Opening Statement:
Franz Kafka once said, “If the literature we are reading does not wake us, why then do we read it?   A literary work must be an ice-axe to break the sea frozen inside us.” Setup: This quote suggests that true literature evokes an emotional or meaningful response in the reader; it in some way changes how we view things. Thesis: By looking at Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the validity of this quote will become clear.  The experience of the Mariner on the open sea and the experience of the wedding guest on land both work to show the truth of Kafka’s idea. BODY PARAGRAPH: 

Topic Sentence: The experience of the mariner after his fateful decision to kill the albatross proves the truth of what Kafka had to say. Evidence/Explanation: After the mariner rashly chooses to kill an innocent creature of nature, Coleridge depicts a series of gruesome torments for the mariner.  He faces dehydration, his entire crew dies, and he has to deal with solitary confinement.  Through these painful moments, Coleridge wants his readers to recognize that even the smallest infraction against nature can and should have dire consequences for people.  If readers take this lesson to heart, they should walk away from Coleridge’s poem with a completely different view of the natural world.  By experiencing the Mariner’s pain through such visceral poetic language, readers cannot help but see Coleridge’s point about the sanctity of our world. Concluding Sentence: The idea that one poem can change people’s entire view of the world outside of their homes strongly evidences the value of what Kafka had to say: art can break apart our old views of life and move us to embrace entirely new philosophies. CONCLUSION:

Restatement of thesis: In the end, we can see that Kafka’s point should be believed; the mariner’s suffering proved that art can change how we view nature and the wedding guest himself showed an example of how stories change lives....
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