For your first assignment for COMM 100B, you will write a short essay in which you take a semiotic approach to “The Woman in the Window,” a short story by Ramona Lowe, originally published in 1940. [A PDF of the story can be found in the “Supplemental Readings” folder on our course’s TritonED site.] The objective of this assignment is for you to choose, and apply, knowledge drawn from our course so far to show how semiosis (meaning-making) takes place in Lowe’s short story.
Your goal is not to say what you think Lowe’s story means in the usual sense of reading a work of fiction. Whether you think the story is good or bad, whether or you liked it or not, or how you felt during or after reading it, are irrelevant to this assignment. Rather, your goal is look at Lowe’s story as a container of multiple signs that produce meaning within the story.
To do this, your job is to identify one or more signs and show how meaning is produced within a system (or systems) of signification. You can choose any sign(s) that you want, but your reader should clearly know what you have chosen, its significance, and how you are using it in your semiotic analysis. Your essay should include a clear thesis (a claim about what sign(s) you are using and what you intend to argue with it), plenty of clear evidence (concrete examples drawn directly from Lowe’s story and from Chandler’s text to support your claim), and a clear conclusion. Both Lowe and Chandler must be cited in your essay to show your engagement with ideas from the course.
All essays must be approximately 750 words (exclusive of endnotes), typed, double spaced, using no larger than 12-point font and normal margins. Your essay must be carefully written, edited, and proofread for egregious spelling and grammatical errors.
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