Essays Essays

One Thousand and One Nights

Begin essay one by developing a carefully crafted question that will help you to interpret and analyze some aspect of one of the texts we have read this semester. You will want to carefully craft your research question to allow you to explore the work in some specific way. For example, a student interested in discussing fatherhood in:
– Homer begins and ends his book with a father’s attempt to ransom his child from Achilles. What does Homer’s repetition of this motif suggest about the concept of fatherhood in Homeric’s culture, bronze age Greece? What does this tell us about the overall meaning of Homer’s epic?
A student interested in discussing gender in Dante’s Inferno might ask a question (or questions) like this:
– What is the role of Dante’s beloved Beatrice in the Inferno, and what does it tell us about gender roles 13th century Florence?
Other examples:
– Dante begins the Inferno banished to a dark wood, unsure how he got there or where he is; in what ways does Dante’s wandering within the Inferno suggest to us about the effect of Dante’s own exile from his beloved Florence?
– Shakespeare lived during beginning of the modern period and shortly after the decline of Medieval ideas like heroism and chivalry; what does Hamlet’s relationship with Ophelia tell us about Shakespeare’s view of romance in his own time?
– De Montaigne suggests in “On the Power of Imagination” that humans are powerfully affected by what we imagine, and that imagining something often ends up making that thing come true. Similarly, the essayist suggests that it is more important that an example be plausible—or imaginable—when making an argument than it does for that particular example to be true or have actually happened. How does de Montaigne’s rely on his readers’ imaginations in his own arguments, and is it effective in persuading his audience?
– What does Virgil’s role as Dante’s guide within the Inferno suggest to us about Dante’s attitudes toward ancient writers and literature? How does the pagan Virgil help Dante in his Christian epic, and what are the limits of pre-christian wisdom within the world Dante presents?
– How does the role of avenging one’s comrade function within Homer’s Iliad? In what ways does this theme or motif serve to move the plot of the epic forward, and what might this suggest about the role of vengeance in Homer’s world?
Craft your own question and write a working thesis statement that answers that question and submit them to the dropbox for feedback from your instructor before writing the rest of the essay. The question and thesis are worth 50 points and the essay supporting that thesis (and illustrating your answer) is worth 200 points.
Question and Thesis DUE November 12th at 11:30 PM in the Interpretive Question and Working Thesis dropbox
Essay is due November 26th at 11:30 PM in the Essay One dropbox
Assignment Parameters:
8-10 pages
MLA format
You must incorporate a minimum of two and a maximum of four scholarly sources, not including the literary texts you are analyzing. These must be appropriate scholarly sources and must be accessed within the VSCC Library databases.
(You must use these sources responsibly and effectively. That means they must support your overall argument; these outside sources must also be appropriately and correctly, both in-text and in your Works Cited list.)
Use at least four specific quotations or from your primary and secondary sources (cite with line numbers or page numbers, depending on whether you are writing on a work of poetry or a work of prose; )
No more than 10-15% of this paper should be comprised of plot summary. That is roughly one healthy paragraph or two shorter ones. The paper should be focused on your argument about the text, not on demonstrating your knowledge of the plot.


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