The focus of this paper will be to make an argument (have a thesis) about a text and substantiate it with close-reading and ONE outside source. In the project, you will pay attention to the dominant themes, concepts and patterns in world literature from the 1800s to the present. In your project, you will demonstrate both an in-depth understanding of these themes and the ability to construct and validate an original argument.
Where to begin: You are free to choose ANY text (or multiple texts for a comparative analysis) of any genre that we are reading in this course. A good place to begin your research would be the class notes/discussion question handouts that you have for every class period. Rereading the notes/handouts on the texts that interest you for the project will enable you to isolate a problem, an interesting theme or moment, a recurring pattern that you can base your argument on.
Some of the broad thematic and genre-related issues that you can possibly engage with are the following (you DO NOT need to limit yourself to this list):
• Historical specificity of text (what makes a text representative of its time, how it captures the zeitgeist/spirit of the times) • Socio-cultural movements that the text(s) are explicitly or implicitly referring to (revolution, imperialism, colonization, globalization, anti-colonial nationalism) • Aspects of a genre: poetry, drama, tragedy, comedy, satire etc. You may consider how these aspects function in conveying the message of your chosen text • Comparative reading of multiple texts to demonstrate similarities/differences (based on theme, genre, historical period etc). A world literature course is a great opportunity to do a comparative study, since we are reading texts from different cultural contexts and geographical locations • Representations of gender and/or sexuality • Representations of class/class hierarchy • Representations of race/racial relations
Specifics: Your thesis needs to be supported by a) your close-reading of primary texts and b) ONE scholarly source. Your paper needs to be in MLA format, 12 point Times New Roman font, with one inch margins. You also need to include a Works Cited page in MLA format. Length: 5 pages. Your search for a source should begin at the UHD library webpage, which leads you to multiple databases. Some of those will have full-text scholarly articles; others will direct you to books/articles that are relevant to your project. The trick is to come is with a strong, arguable thesis, and then isolating the keywords for a database search. We can discuss more of this in the subsequent course modules. Due date: Your essay is due on Blackboard on Sunday, April 8 before midnight.
Grading Criteria: Contents: Does the essay have a clear, precise, well-defined thesis? Does the thesis effectively control and shape the entire essay? Is the evidence that is used to support the thesis well-chosen
and appropriate, and does it back the thesis up consistently? Does the essay bear evidence of detailed close-reading and original, insightful argument based on that? Does the writer engage with the selected scholarly source in a manner that supports the thesis? Does the writer demonstrate a clear understanding of the socio-historical context of the text that s/he is writing about? Organization: Does the introduction grab the reader’s attention by its originality? Does the essay consist of logically arranged paragraphs that signal distinct units of thought with appropriate topic sentences? Are the paragraph transitions smooth? Do the body paragraphs revisit the thesis? Does the conclusion effectively wrap up the argument and restate the thesis?
Mechanics: Does the writing style balance clarity and sophistication? Are the word choices apt? Does the essay adhere to the conventions of academic writing and manuscript format? Does the essay use quotations and citation formats correctly?