Constructive Ambiguity

We read three short stories as part of the Constructive Ambiguity unit: ?super-frog saves tokyo,? by Haruki Murakami, ?The Laughing Man,? by J.D. Salinger, and ?Chango,? by Oscar Casares. The plots of each of these stories contain central ambiguities that are left unresolved. The authors hold back from indicating one way or another one definitive interpretation. In ?super-frog saves tokyo,? the reader is challenged in determining whether or not Frog is real or just part of Katagiri?s imagination. In ?The Laughing Man,? we never know what happens between the Chief and Mary Hudson (and why the Chief ends his Laughing Man story-cycle so suddenly). Finally, in ?Chango,? Bony never actually figures out where the monkey?s head came from. This may seem frustrating at first (?just tell us what happens!?) but is a plot device commonly used by authors to achieve a higher level of drama in order to maintain the reader?s attention (that is, the reader tends to search more closely for evidence), to engage with metaphor or allegory on a deeper level, or to make the characters? psychological states more complex. For this essay think about how each author is engaging in constructive ambiguity, or how establishing a central ambiguity can conversely heighten the reading experience.

Essay Prompt: What is constructive ambiguity? How is it functioning in each of the three stories we read? How does the author of each story establish and maintain a central ambiguity in a constructive way?

Your piece should have an introduction that presents your argument (thesis) and provides context for your discussion of the essay topic. Your thesis should directly state what is purpose ambiguity and how it can be used in a constructive way.
Your piece should have an argumentative thesis that answers the prompt and can be further developed with individual points. Your thesis should be one central opinion, not a list of multiple arguments.
Your body paragraph should have the following:
topic sentences that state specific ideas/opinions to prove and develop your thesis
multiple, specific examples to support those opinions
thorough explanation of how each example supports the point of the paragraph and the overall thesis
Your piece should have a conclusion that clarifies and discusses the significance of your overall argument
Your essay should correctly quote from the stories
Quotes should be directly followed by clear and concise analysis
Your essay should utilize a range of sentence combining strategies, including the use of coordinators, subordinators, noun-phrase appositives, and relative clauses
Your piece should be 4-5 pages long, carefully proofread, and formatted in MLA style

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