Major Essays: The majority of your grade in this course comes from a sequence of papers based on the assigned literature. This assignment should use at least 7 sources. Six sources (SECONDARY) should be scholarly books or articles published within the last ten years. One source (PRIMARY) will be your textbook (or it can be from another book, but a primary source is the original text, play, poem, book, etc being analyzed). Use quotes from the sources to support your thesis. This means your Works Cited page should have at least 7 sources altogether. Note: you may not use online sources such as Wikipedia, Gradesaver, Shmoop, eNotes, 123helpme, and etc.
Below is a list of possible topics for you to choose from. Choose ONE topic. Alternatively, you may come up with your own topic, but you must obtain my approval no later than Week 6 of the term. If you do this, I highly recommend you complete all Week 7 assignments as I will let you know if your thesis is strong (or flawed) and your topic sufficiently narrowed before you’ve gone too far. NOTE: If you choose your own topic, it must be related to literature- either something we’ve discussed this term or some other literature (play, poem, short story, novel, etc.) that has caught your interest.
- In Week 4’s lecture notes, I talk briefly about Plato’s view of poetry and poets. Essentially, Plato says that poetry is a lie and poets are liars, therefore, neither belong in society. Make an argument that either supports or refutes Plato’s criticism regarding poetry.
- How are the roles of men and women portrayed in any of the works we’ve read? What gender expectations do they follow or fight against?
- How does an author use elements such as light and dark (or other symbols/images) to foreshadow or advance a plot?
- What insights into human nature do we get from the stories/plays/poems we’ve read over the course of the term?
- Choose a character from the stories we’ve read and do a detailed analysis of that character by which you argue what you think is the character’s biggest flaw or biggest strength. You may write about more than one character and compare/contrast them.
- Review five or six poems by a single author. Start with a poet featured in your textbook, and then find additional poems at the library or on the internet. Write an analysis of a single element of that poetâ€™s workâˆ’ for example, theme, imagery, diction, or form.
- Write an analysis of a certain theme (or other element) that you find in the work of two or more poets.
- Write an analysis in which you single out an element of a play for examinationâˆ’ character, plot, setting, theme, dramatic irony, tone language, symbolism, conventions, or any other element. Relate this element to the play as a whole.
Regardless of which topic you choose, make sure that you analyze the piece of literature in detail as you make your argument. You may discuss more than one piece of literature and/or combine the topics.
The research essay should be at least 1,500 words. The essay should use at least 6 secondary sources, none of which may come from the Internet unless it is a journal article from University’s online databases or other scholarly source. Then you will need to use your primary source for a total of 7 sources.
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