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Developing a Thesis about Proper Roles, Moral Behavior, and Relationships in Literature

Instructions to Write an Essay on Various Texts

The first paper will be a chance to develop your skills as both a critical reader and persuasive writer about texts. Using several texts we have read, you will develop a thesis about how to view a particular topic or issue that we have explored in these texts—and take a stance that in some way goes deeper and expands the ideas we discussed in class. The thesis for this essay will state your specific insight about the texts. The essay should be supported with your analysis of the texts -- convincing “close readings” of details like quotes from the text. We will discuss examples and advice about analysis essays, successful thesis statements, and close reading strategies in class.

Instructions: Pick ONE of the following topic areas. Make sure to make use of at least three to five different texts used in class.
Possible topic areas:
1. proper roles for men and women; relations between men and women
2. good/moral behavior of individuals
3. relationship between humans and god(s) or the divine

Possible texts to choose from:
1. View of Creation from the Boshongo
2. Genesis (creation story and/or flood story)
3. Story of Pan Gu
4. Creation of the World from the Upanishads
5. Popol Vuh
6. Epic of Gilgamesh
7. Confucius’ Analects
8. Dao De Jing
9. Ten Commandments
10. Sermon on the Mount
11. Qur’an
12. Hadith

1. Make sure to accurately summarize the chosen texts’ perspective on the issue you picked. Also make clear where the similarities and differences are.

2. Make sure to refer to specific passages from the texts to support your major points, but try to say it in your own words as much as possible. In particular, stay away from overly long block quotes. Each of the main paragraphs needs three or more specific references.

3. Use a simplified Chicago Manual of Style reference format. Use footnotes or endnotes (instead of intext citations) and include only the author (if known), a brief title, and a page number. For example:
a. Popol Vuh, 66. OR Confucius, Analects, 211.

4. Make sure to include an introduction with a specific thesis statement, outlining the argument for your paper. It should be longer than just one sentence. Include a short conclusion as well.

5. The paper has to be 4 pages long, excluding title page and references; use one-inch margins, 12-point Times New Roman font for the text, and 10-point Times New Roman font for the footnotes/endnotes; include page numbers. Include your name and a title for the paper on the first page.

6. When discussing the actions of a character in these sources, use present tense, but when writing about how cultures thought about certain issues use past tense.

7. You do not need a bibliography or works cited page.

8. Draft, revisions, and peer feedback are required and need to be handed in or uploaded.

9. During the week of September 27, the CT mentors will run a series of essay workshops outside of class. Take advantage of these chances to get personalized feedback on your ideas, drafts, and revisions.

10. Remember that you get credit for your first draft, full draft, and the peer review editing you do on one of your colleagues’ drafts (10 points each).

a. Written ideas on your topic: your choice of topic and texts, your possible thesis, and some supporting points (about one page, all typed, please!);
b. uploaded to Canvas by 12pm noon; I’ll give feedback
a. first draft of your paper, including an attempt at an introduction and thesis statement, at least 2 pages long for peer review;
b. please print out your draft and bring it to class;
a. full draft of your paper (at least 4 pages of text) for peer review;
b. uploaded to Canvas
c. peer review done on Canvas
d. no class meeting, but I will be available for office hours during class time (in-person or via Zoom)

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