Posted: September 17th, 2017

The Norton Anthology Of American Literature

  8 pages double-spaced, minimum.
Must use MLA Formatting and MLA style for citations. (See your instructor, a librarian, or the Writing Center if you are unsure how to use MLA style formatting throughout your paper)
3 sources: two pulled from the JTCC electronic databases or the JTCC library, or an online academic database; and one may be a more informal source. Scholarly sources are academic researched articles written by experts in a field (and published within an academic journal), and are 7 pages or longer in length. You will need a Works Cited Page for this paper, and must use correct internal citations throughout your paper.
Your instructor must approve your topic before you begin drafting. You will submit a proposal in Week 5 of the course, by Sunday 7/19 by midnight.
In literary studies, most literary critics are making an argument for a certain interpretation, or re-interpretation of a text. There is an exciting and sometimes overwhelming world of possibilities when you are required to write critically about a text—old or modern. It’s important then to spend a lot of time just thinking about what you want to analyze in a text, why you want to analyze that aspect of a text, and why that aspect of a text is significant in our world today.

Below are some guidelines to help you. You may choose one of the directions below, or your may approach your instructor with another idea entirely.

Whatever you decide though, you are required to critically analyze an American text/s that falls before the year 1865, and to synthesize your ideas with the three sources you have found.

Here are some different ideas to approach this paper with:

1) Write a critical compare/contrast paper, in which you compare/contrast two American texts. With this option, you are not simply listing the similarities and differences— you are concentrating on one particular aspect to explore in the texts, to compare and contrast, and then ultimately making an argument for a certain interpretation of that critical aspect.

EX: Comparing/contrasting the presentation of masculinity in The Great Gatsby and “A Soldier’s Home.”

2) Write a critical argument for the evolution of an American text over time, in which you focus on one aspect of the American text and its modern counterpoint, and again, ultimately make an argument for a way to view the competing presentations of the same story.

EX: Critically analyze the presentation of racism in Huckleberry Finn, in the original text versus a movie adaption.

3) Make an argument for why a certain text should be mandatory reading in school (whether in high school or in college), and why.

4) Make an argument for why a certain text you’ve read this semester is *the most* American of texts, and why. That means you have to not only argue for the text being the most American, but that you also have to define what it means to be American in 2015–and as you can see from our writers, being American isn’t necessarily a positive thing, all the time… NOTE-
Here’s the text: The Norton Anthology Of American Literature. shorter eight edition. Volume 1: Beginnings to 1865

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