Write a 4-6-page paper in which you assert something insightful about some particular aspect of the American Literature we have been studying, using examples from the texts you’ve chosen to focus on as examples in support of your argument. (This paper needn’t be researched, but if you do research, document it properly in MLA format. See me early on if you need direction on this, as I’ll expect it to be done correctly.)
The idea here, different from the goal of an exam, is to dig more deeply now into some particular authors’ work, and specific thematic or topical area of interest you’ve been developing regarding this literature. For example, you may assert something from a feminist perspective, an African-American perspective, or some other gender, race, class, sexual-orientation, or historically-thematic perspective (colonialism, the several successive and related framing myths we have considered, Puritanism, The Enlightenment, Romanticism, Transcendentalism, the Party of Hope and the Party of Doubt, national identity, freedom, slavery, literary subversion, literature-and-politics, genre-experimentation, literature-as-activism, religion, love, hope, wealth, socio-economics, American-ness, etc.)
Choose a topic you feel really interested in, and most confident in your abilities to answer with authority, enthusiasm, sufficient depth, and specificity. As an upper level English course, naturally, attend to correct spellings of authors’ names and titles of their pieces, and within your answers, show that you know approximately when they were written. The strongest grades will demonstrate an interesting, clear thesis assertion about some aspect of the evolution of an American literature, within a context of what the cultural currents of the times surrounding the pieces and authors you chose. Include how those currents, in their respective historical and literary contexts (use your notes and book’s introductory period frames), shaped (and were shaped by) the literature you’re discussing in particular.
Begin your essays with a hooking introduction, and naming the authors and the titles of the pieces they wrote which you’ll discuss. State your thesis (main connecting thought) in the first paragraph, and let the subsequent, logically organized body paragraphs that follow feature illustrative examples, including supportive quotations, from the pieces you’re discussing (i.e. write an organized, college-style short literary essay).
The paper must be in standard MLA format; i.e., paginated, with your last name as a header on the upper-right corner of each page, stapled (unless online), and done in standard 12-point type size, Times New Roman font, double-spaced, and have one-inch margins. Have the following heading format (double-space it) in the upper left-hand corner of the front page (skip a cover page and any fancy folders, bindings, etc.):
Your full nameProfessor CallanENG 203DateA catchy title
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