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Jun 09, 2023
Length & Assignment:
The minimum requirement for this essay is 1,050 words of
writing, not including the Works Cited page at the end.
Because “close readings” are not as long as traditional
“essays,” be sure you keep this assignment within this page
range. Writing should be double-spaced, with 1-inch margins,
appropriate paragraph breaks, and 12-point standard font size.
For this assignment, read Hawaiian writer Kristina
Kahakauwila’s short story “This is Paradise”. Pay close attention
to how Kahakauwila creates unique East-West identities for both spaces and characters. In this essay,
your literary analysis should focus on a spatial reading of one key “section” in this story: Surfers,
Maids, or Career-women. The actual story does not use these section titles but intersperses them. To
make it easier to know when a section begins, ends, and begins again, I use blue titles in the PDF file
of this story to demarcate the sections. Examine the list of sections at the end of this document where
the section titles used in the PDF copy also identify the page numbering.
Focus only on one section (Surfers, Maids, or Career-women) rather
than using different sections to build your interpretation. However, you
should read the entire story from beginning to end first. Consider how
various spaces in the narrative impact the significance of your interpretation
and provide a critical and formal interpretation of the narrative that is both
original and insightful. How are characters influenced by these spaces and
places in the key scene? How might space/place function as a character
within the scene? What do the spaces mean in relation to how things
develop in this part of the narrative? Consider the different manifestations
of spatial constructions. These are the different lenses through which we
can analyze the meaning of space and place: East-West relationships, heterotopia, public/private,
gendered, racial and/or ethnic, class-based, physical/psychological, real/imagined, secular/spiritual,
systems and hierarchies of power, etc.
A “close reading” for this essay is a deep analysis of a key section in a narrative
that serves as a “microcosm” of a larger interpretation. This type of writing is
similar to a sectional snapshot of the broader picture, the smaller part within the
larger whole. In literary analysis essays, a close reading functions as a way to
showcase one’s thesis statement in action by examining the key scene under a
Support your ideas through a strong interaction with the primary source and with relevant secondary
sources that augment your interpretation of the story. You should avoid writing in first person point of
view (I, my, we, our, etc.) or using personal anecdotes in an effort to maintain stronger objectivity and
focus. In your analysis, you are not trying to solve a societal problem or offer a solution. Avoid making
sweeping generalizations or clichés. The focus should be on bringing greater meaning to the primary
work of literature itself and explaining the significance of the East-West literary spaces you are
focusing on through this specific scene you have selected. Show its importance. Why is this specific
scene a good representation of your ideas throughout the larger narrative?

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