Essay #1: Cause & Effect
Assignment: In an essay of 2-3 pages, analyze cause and/or effect in Jack London’s short story “The Law of Life.” To develop your analysis, feel free to make comparisons to other stories or to real-life situations you’ve experienced, witnessed, or heard about as long as they are relevant to your discussion of this story.
Approaching the Assignment: I don’t want to be too directive here, but if you can’t think of anything to write about on your own, you might begin by focusing on one or two of the following questions: Why do Old Koskoosh’s tribesmen leave him behind to die? What would be the effects on the tribe if they didn’t? Why does Koskoosh just sit there listening to them leave? Why does he listen “greedily”? Why does no one but Koskoosh’s son linger or come to say goodbye? How does this make him feel? Why does his son linger behind when everyone else has already left? How does this affect Koskoosh? Why does the tribe leave Koskoosh with firewood if they’re just leaving him to die anyway? Why does his son ask, “It is well?” Why does Koskoosh answer, “It is well”? Why does Nature have “no concern for…the individual”? Why does Koskoosh remember watching the old moose die when he was just a boy? Why does Koskoosh just give up at the end rather than fighting to survive?
Guidelines: Your essay must contain a strong, clearly articulated thesis statement (which I would like to see at the end of your first paragraph) establishing a clear cause / effect relationship. Beyond that, how you answer your prompt is really up to you, though I suggest you use the cause / effect reading in AaG for guidance. And do keep in mind that I am looking for an analysis of the story—NOT a simple summary. Here are some suggestions to help you avoid producing the latter: Don’t waste time summarizing the entire story for me—I’ve already read it. I do want some summary, but any summary you include should be related directly to your topic and necessary for...
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