Assignments

Essays and Revision

Revise the one essay either with the lowest grade or the one you would most want to revisit because its argument means more to you. Revising this essay will most likely require that you do a massive overhaul of the structure and maybe even the overall argument of the essay itself. Merely inserting conjunctions and transition words at strategic points in the paper or running spell check and grammar check certainly will not suffice. Please consult my suggestions and comments on that essay to guide you along in the revising process and do come by to see me to discuss any problems or even epiphanies you might be encountering.

Yay for the miracle of epiphanies!

ESSAY # DUE DATES TOPICS
1 Ses #9

Write a 5-page essay in which you argue a persuasive point about either one of the following topics:

  1. The notion of “ignominy” in The Scarlet Letter. How and why does the novel demonstrate that shame or a shameful past can ultimately be a useful thing?
  2. The legacy of the “Uncle Tom” stereotype. How has it taken a life of its own outside the novel from whence it originated?
2 Ses #18

Write a 5-page essay in which you argue a persuasive point about either one of the following topics:

  1. The significance of keeping secrets in Woman Warrior. Why is silence golden, and what are the implications of following that code of silence?
  2. The sheer brutality, violence, and ugliness of Blood Meridian. What, if anything, is salvageable about all of the violence we encounter here in this novel? What lesson(s) can one extract from all of the blood and gore?
Revision Ses #23

Revise the one essay either with the lowest grade or the one you would most want to revisit because its argument means more to you. Revising this essay will most likely require that you do a massive overhaul of the structure and maybe even the overall argument of the essay itself. Merely inserting conjunctions and transition words at strategic points in the paper or running spell check and grammar check certainly will not suffice. Please consult my suggestions and comments on that essay to guide you along in the revising process and do come by to see me to discuss any problems or even epiphanies you might be encountering.

Yay for the miracle of epiphanies!

3 Ses #26 Using evidence from any two texts that you have not yet written about for this course, write a 10-page paper in response to the question E. L. Doctorow poses to literary scholars, such as we are. Recall the question from his “Notes on the History of Fiction”: “Why do novelists cross into the historical realm?” Some other follow-up questions you may also want to consider in writing your essay: What good or what harm does that interdisciplinary crossing do for or against the novel, as we know it? Why should novelists cross into the historical realm? Why shouldn’t they? What is the “crossing” a sign of? Does this kind of interdisciplinary crossing compromise the integrity of a certain realm of knowledge or realm of expression? Use at least 2 other secondary sources to support your argument. Secondary sources include scholarly journal articles of literary criticism or scholarly books on biographical or historical contexts (FYI: Spark Notes or Cliff Notes do not count as secondary sources).

Criteria for Grading

Each paper will be judged according to the following criteria:

  1. Its demonstration of clarity, depth, and complexity of thought.
  2. It should be focused and coherent with transitions that help to unify, link and guide your paragraphs.
  3. It should demonstrate ease with language.
  4. Its major ideas should be substantially developed.
  5. It should make a cogent and persuasive argument. In other words, it should have a specific, thesis—the answer to the main question that you’re hoping to raise, which you’re posing of the text, which you think remains to be answered.
  6. It should offer ample and solid evidence to support your claims.
  7. It should include a conclusion that not only summarizes your argument in one or two sentences but also offers me a sense of what work still remains to be done in light of the work that your essay itself has begun.
  8. It should not be plagiarized! Plagiarism is cause for expulsion! (Review the policy on Academic Honesty in the syllabus).

Plagiarism

Plagiarism—use of another’s intellectual work without acknowledgement—is a serious offense. It is the policy of the Literature Faculty that students who plagiarize will receive an F in the subject, and that the instructor will forward the case to the Committee on Discipline. Full acknowledgement for all information obtained from sources outside the classroom must be clearly stated in all written work submitted. All ideas, arguments, and direct phrasings taken from someone else’s work must be identified and properly footnoted. Quotations from other sources must be clearly marked as distinct from the student’s own work. For further guidance on the proper forms of attribution, consult the style guides available at MIT Writing and Communication Center and MIT Academic Integrity.

Course Info

Learning Resource Types

assignment Written Assignments