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Write an essay (5-6 pages, MLA style, double-spaced, 12 point font) on a topic o
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Write an essay (5-6 pages, MLA style, double-spaced, 12 point font) on a topic of your choice that develops an argument centered on one of the assigned readings. You can choose to write about any reading assignment other than fairy tales or the text from your second essay. Papers should present and support a thesis, using evidence from the text to defend the central argument. No research is required. If research is used, students must correctly cite their sources and provide a works cited page. Late papers will be deducted 1/3 of a letter grade per day, receive no feedback, and be graded at my convenience.
Plagiarism may result in failing the course. For further information on plagiarism, please read: http://www.nmsu.edu/%7Evpsa/SCOC/misconduct.html
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See also: http://lib.nmsu.edu/instruction/plagiarismfor
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Extra Credit: Students who use the Writing Center for online consultations for this assignment will receive ten extra credit points on their essays. Consultation forms should be provided. If you aren’t able to get a form, let me know so I can be of assistance. If you have any questions about this issue, please let me know. It is good idea to show your consultant the essay assignment. For further information concerning the Writing Center, please refer to the information posted on our Canvas Announcements page. You may also visit the Writing Center’s website:
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**Please let me know if you would like feedback on your final essay. You can post this request in the comment box with your essay or let me know via Canvas messaging.**
The Thesis and Paper’s Body
Most importantly, papers should present, develop, and support an original, argumentative claim (thesis) regarding an assigned course text. The paper’s body should consist of arguable claims relevant to the thesis, evidence from the text to support these arguable claims, and interpretive analysis of the evidence to demonstrate its support of the argument.
Please remember that a thesis needs to consist of both a “what” and a “why.” Once you have identified a primary claim, work to articulate why this claim is important. What kind of larger message(s), criticism(s), question(s), etc. was the author trying to express to readers via a particular insight you make about the book? It is not unusual for the “why” portion of a thesis to take a bit more time to develop than the “what” portion.
I recommend that you begin with a general claim and write an outline identifying the primary points of focus (plot points, characters, dialogue, etc.) that you plan to incorporate into your paper’s body as you work to develop and support this general claim. Then write a rough draft that expands on your outline.
As you do so, periodically revisit and refine your primary claim, while considering why your central claim is not only valid but part of a larger message the author is trying to impart.
As you revise your rough draft, work to ensure that your thesis is clear, arguable, and substantive (the substantive element of your thesis is based on the significance of your primary claim). It is not unusual for writers to identify the significance of his or her central claim after he or she has completed the rough draft. Remember that revision of the rough draft is a crucial step for writing successful essays.
You may use any of the suggestions listed below as a starting point for creating your own argument. You are also welcome to write on any topic of your choice, as long as it focuses on one of the assigned course materials.
Please note that the suggestions for essay topics are not meant to be blueprints. They are meant to help students develop their own arguments about a particular course material. Students’ papers are not meant to answer or address every question and comment issued below. Try to use these questions and comments as starting points to help you think about and develop your own specific, focused argument.
1) Consider the book’s depiction of situational ethics and the kinds of concessions Dana has to make in Kindred to ensure her survival and the well-being of other people about whom she cares. Why do you think she is willing to compromise in some areas and not in others? What is the significance of her attitude in this regard?
How does the book represent “situational ethics,” and what is the importance or value of studying and understanding this concept? Cite and analyze specific evidence from the text to support your claims.
3) What messages do think Octavia Butler imparts regarding race? Note Dana’s seemingly unbreakable tie with her white ancestor. Do you think the book expresses a primary message or lesson about racial conflict and possible means of better understanding and overcoming such conflicts? What kinds of racial conflict does Dana confront in her modern life? How do these conflicts relate to the difficulties and dangers she encounters during her trips to the Antebellum South?
4) Why do you think the novel begins and ends with the loss of Dana’s arm? Is this event in any way symbolic of her experiences traveling between the past and the present? Is it symbolic of her experiences as a slave and the legacy of slavery?
What do you think, based on your interpretation of the text, it means to be a slave? Note Dana’s thoughts after being captured and whipped: “I tried to get away from my thoughts, but they still came. See how easily slaves are made? they said” (177). Analyze one or more of these literary elements/themes to build a thesis, citing and analyzing specific evidence from the text to support your claims.
5) Analyze Butler’s portrayal of gender conflict. Why do you think she draws attention to such conflict? What kinds of tensions and conflicts do Dana and Kevin experience that might be related to gender? How do you interpret the ways in which Butler draws parallels between Kevin and Rufus, the two most important men in her life? Why is the danger of being raped, the sexual violation and abuse of Dana’s body, the final step in Dana’s decision to sever violently her ties with Rufus? Do you think it intersects with the book’s portrayal of racial conflict, and if so how? What would be the significance of this intersection?