mad people teach us anything H u m a n i t i e s
Background: The paper is an opportunity to explore a particular aspect of the material we are looking at this semester in significantly greater detail than is possible within a given module. You should choose an aspect of the course that appeals to you and then fashion a crisp and coherent essay that conveys a clear argument and is well supported by material from the text(s). Your essay should adopt a particular position and then argue in favor of it. It should not be a generalized discussion of the topic. Read the text(s) closely, work out what you think the author(s) is/are doing, and then explain your position. Be clear before you start on the final draft about what you are arguing, and then make the best case you can for it.
Prompt & Tasks:A good way to think about this assignment is to ask a critical question of one or more texts and answer the question(s) in a sustained argumentative essay. Your thesis statement, then, should be a concise answer to your critical question and the body of the essay will serve to prove/support your thesis using textual evidence. You will also need to include some discussion about an applicable literary theorythat we have studied so far: Marxism, feminism, New Criticism, Gender Studies, Postcolonialism, New Historicism, or Ethnic Studies. Specifically, how does one or more of these theories contribute to your interpretation of the text and answer to your critical question? You should also have some relevant discussion of the literary genreof your chosen texts. So far, we have covered: Romanticism, Gothicism, Realism, Naturalism, Modernism, and Postmodernism. How do your texts align with the tenets of one or more of these eras/genres? How does the genre contribute to your interpretation of the text and answer to your critical question? otes: o You CAN USE a critical question from one of your Critical Response Papers if you’d like! o You CAN USE any of your OWN reading activities for this paper. Your peers’ work, however, is off limits.o For every essay project assignment that isnot passing or not submitted by the end of the term, the course grade will lower one letter.otes: o You CAN USE a critical question from one of your Critical Response Papers if you’d like! o You CAN USE any of your OWN reading activities for this paper. Your peers’ work, however, is off limits.o For every essay project assignment that isnot passing or not submitted by the end of the term, the course grade will lower one letter.
Notes: o You CAN USE a critical question from one of your Critical Response Papers if you’d like! o You CAN USE any of your OWN reading activities for this paper. Your peers’ work, however, is off limits.o For every essay project assignment that isnot passing or not submitted by the end of the term, the course grade will lower one letter.
Critical questions (choose one of these or create your own!): •Choose one or two applications of confinement (physical space, fate, gender, age, class, race, sickness, madness, etc.) and explain how one or more texts exemplify confinement. How does the theme of confinement influence your reading of the text(s)? •How do writers like Gilman and Dickinson and/or others conceptualize madness? How closely is it related to sanity? Can mad people teach us anything? •What does Hawthorne’s conceptions of beauty teach his readers? Do the lessons change depending on whether the reader is contemporary or modern? •Pick 2 or more characters from the first half of the semester. Are they sympathetic or not? In answering this question, explain why viewing a character as (un)sympathetic influences your reading of the text(s). •What role does narration play in one or more of our texts? How does the narration influence your interpretation of the text(s)? •What does one or more of authors teach us about women’s issues? Women’s rights? Perhaps consider how one or more of our authors discuss female empowerment and what implications this discussion has on their readers. •How do Keats and Wordsworth define beauty? How do these authors differ in their understanding of Truth and Beauty from previous literary eras? •What is Rebecca Harding Davis’s larger message about the human condition? What is she aiming to teach her readers through her characters Deb and Hugh? •You are also welcome to devise your own essay topic. If you choose to do this, you need to submit your question to me for approval. In general, it should deal with a clearly–defined issue and respond to a clear critical question or questions. A successful paper will: •Explain your interpretation of one or more of the texts in a clear and thorough manner. •Explain how you arrived at your interpretation using textual evidence and close reading to support your points. •Have a debatable, arguable thesis statement at the end of the introduction which isoriginal and contains your interpretation of the text(s). •Include thoughtful discussion of at least one literary era/genre and at least one literary theoryand explain how your interpretation is shaped by both the era and theory. •AVOID simply summarizing the text(s). •AVOID simply paraphrasing when using textualevidence. •Use textual evidence to support your points and include sufficient ANALYSIS of thequotations used. Do not simply drop a quotation in your essay just for the sake of using the quotation. Make the quotations WORK FOR YOU. •Have a CREATIVE title for your essay but do not bold, italicize, or use a different font for the title. •Remember: the grade is assigned after the final paragraph. Don’t tail off at the end of your paper. Give yourself enough time to finish with a flourish. •Adhere to MLA guidelines: