Essay #3 Deadline and Guidelines
Literary Criticism Essay (Lila)/Due May 14
Essay #3 must be a minimum of 900 words, three complete pages. Submit the Essay #3
Freewrite [due May 7], the Complete Rough Draft, and the Standard Format Final Draft
as a File to Canvas by May 14. Significant changes are required between drafts.
Quote and paraphrase frequently from Lila to support your critical analysis. Research is
optional, not required, for Essay #3, but students who quote from or otherwise use
research for Essay #3 must submit an MLA format Works Cited.
Writing an essay about literature is similar to writing Essay #2: the writer expresses their
opinions and supports them with quotations and examples from the text.
Potential Topics for Essay #3 include:
Finding and Expressing a Theme:
People’s capacity for good is at least as powerful as their capacity for evil.
Wisdom speaks through the words of the Poor.
“The most complex thing we know of [is] the human brain” (Robinson).
Change is possible; change is good.
Analyzing Character and Action:
Why do Lila and Reverend Ames fall in love?
How is Doll a positive influence on Lila? How is she a negative influence?
Who is most heroic, Lila, Doll, or Reverend Ames? Why?
Doll’s knife symbolizes Lila’s life before coming to Gilead.
Doll and Lila’s shawl symbolizes love.
Water symbolizes change.
Commenting on Form:
Robinson limits the Point of View strictly to what Lila experiences and remembers. Why
does Robinson do this?
“The pretzeling of the storytelling has the effect of moving the book forward quickly
while circling back over and over to Lila’s previous life to illuminate who she is, and why
she acts the way she does” (Piper). How and why does Robinson use this narrative
How and why does Robinson use suspense in Lila?
Discerning and Analyzing Modern Parallels to Situations and Characters in Lila:
Doll is a 1930’s “thug.”
The situation of the poor in 2020 is tragically similar to the situation of the poor during
the Dust Bowl and The Great Depression of the 1930’s.
Cast a film version of Lila with modern actors and explain your casting choices.