ENGL 2322: Paper Assignment 1

ENGL 2322: Paper Assignment 1

In this writing assignment, you must write a short, argumentative paper that closely reads your chosen
text(s) while relating them to the history of British literature we have been studying throughout the
course. In this paper, you must:
1) Provide an argumentative thesis that makes a clear claim specifically about your chosen text(s) in
response to your chosen prompt.
2) Construct organizing claims within the paper that establish salient links between form and content;
between *specific* literary elements/ devices present in your chosen texts and the politics/ content of
those texts.
3) Use direct evidence from your text in the form of quotations and instances of paraphrasing, properly
cited in MLA format.
*Choose* one of the following prompts (i.e. questions) to respond to when writing your paper.
A. The Norman Conquest introduced a new sense of heroism into British literary history. Unlike
Beowulf, who kills a demonic monster by tearing off its arm and then boasts about it, the
Arthurian knights accomplished different goals in different ways. Construct a thesis-driven
argumentative paper that defines how Arthurian legends established heroism as an idea through
the use of specific literary elements. You may draw your textual examples from “Lanval,” from
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, or from both.
B. Looking at all of the texts listed on the syllabus, choose *one* text other than More’s Dialogue
Concerning Heresies and William Tyndale’s The Obedience of a Christian Man. Then, construct
a thesis-driven argumentative essay that makes a claim as to how your chosen text uses specific
literary elements to express religious ideas (it will be up to you and your thesis to determine what
sorts of religious ideas and what sorts of literary elements you want to work with).
C. Macbeth has been called a play that makes a distinct political argument about kingship. Construct
a thesis-driven argumentative paper in which you respond to the question: what does Macbeth
have to say about the ethics of monarchy? In the process, be sure to reference specific literary
elements in the play as evidence for your claims. Note that these literary elements can be
structural ones (rhyme, meter, caesurae, enjambment, etc.), dramatic ones (asides, monologues,
etc.), and/ or conceptual ones (metaphor, personification, etc.). In the case of this particular
prompt, you must discuss *at least two* literary elements in your essay.
D. Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko (1688) is read as one of the earliest major fictional texts to comment on
the transatlantic slave trade and is often studied for how it describes or represents the human
body. Write a thesis-driven, argumentative essay in which you provide a reading of how Behn’s
text represents bodies through the use of specific literary elements. Note that whereas it is
tempting to focus this paper entirely on the initial description of the character Oroonoko, you
should strive to expand beyond this description since the narrative is so very full of physical
descriptions. Also, keep in mind that though simply establishing how the text uses literary
elements to describes bodies (form) is required, you must also discuss the political/ ideological
meaning of these descriptions (content).

Technical Guidelines on Next Page:
This paper:

– Must be 6-8 pages long in Times New Roman, size 12 font. It must be double-spaced and must use
standard margins.
– Needs in-text citations in MLA format for all quotes or instances of paraphrasing. If you are citing a
work of poetry and you have line numbers, use those instead of page numbers. No author? Part of title +
page number.
– May not use any sources that are external to the primary texts that are named in your chosen prompt
(i.e. this is a close reading paper, not a research paper).
– Needs a Works Cited page even if your only source is the textbook.
– Need one, at least half-length rough draft handed in by 11:59 PM, November 6th electronically via
Blackboard. Failing to hand in a rough draft will result in a full letter grade deducted from the grade for
the paper.
– Is due by 11:59 PM, November 11th electronically via Blackboard. Papers handed in past this deadline
will receive a penalty per day late. If for some reason you are having a hard time using Blackboard to
hand in the paper in advance of the deadline, do not wait. Instead, e-mail your instructor with the paper as
an attachment to prove that you handed it in on time.
– A paper that is significantly under-length cannot receive more than a C.
Final Note: Sticking to the allotted word length is an important skill or tendency to cultivate and can
frequently be the difference between acceptance and rejection. Whereas there will be no penalty for going
over on the seventh page (not counting the Works Cited, of course), once you get onto the 8th page your
instructor reserves the right to impose a small penalty for failing to adhere to assignment requirements.


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