Length: 3-4 typed, double-spaced pages (750-1000 words, but can be longer if you wish)
October 11: Paper must be uploaded to Angel by 9 p.m. (no class on 10/11)
- This paper does not require research, although secondary sources may be helpful. Rather, its purpose is to demonstrate your ability to choose a significant, appropriately limited topic in American literature; to investigate and support a thesis of your own devising; to analyze with skill and insight the evidence from specific literary works; and to present the whole in a clearly organized, well-written fashion.
- The essay should incorporate at least one work read in class. You may choose your own topic for the paper if you consult with me ahead of time.
- Your paper should be limited enough to provide a specific thesis and a close analysis of the texts; repeating broad, obvious generalities (i.e., "Women were limited by society's expectations in the nineteenth century") or ideas we have discussed in class will not be sufficient.
- Content is very important, but good organization, sentence structure, and editing skills are also important. Citations and the Works Cited page should follow MLA format. More guidelines for turning in papers in this class are here: http://public.wsu.edu/~campbelld/format.htm. You can find good information on citing sources online here: http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/resdoc5e/RES5e_ch04_o.html
These topics are broad and are meant to suggest ideas to you; you should think about developing your own ideas using these as guidelines.
1. Choose one of the chapters in Moby-Dick and, through close reading, show the ways in which it exemplifies or relates to the book as a whole. If you used this topic for a previous paper, choose a different chapter for this one.
2. Identify a pair of chapters that "speak" to each other in Moby-Dick, preferably one earlier and one later in the book, and analyze them. What do they say about Ishmael's growth as a character?
3. Many of the questions from the Discussion Questions on Moby-Dick would work well for a paper topic. Choose one of those questions and address it in your essay. For example, you might choose a theme such as isolation and community, or you might wish to compare two characters.
3. When we visit the MASC, you may see (or be able to look up) other books that are contemporary with Moby-Dick. Identify a theme, character, or other feature that has a parallel with Moby-Dick and write an essay comparing the two.
4. At the MASC, or in the library more generally, you can find accounts from the early pioneers who traveled to this region. Choose one and explore the ways in which it, like Moby-Dick, could be considered a journey of discovery.
5. Write an essay in which you address Moby-Dick from one of the lenses we have discussed in class: as an example of a genre, for example.
6.Melville often pairs his characters much as Shakespeare does, with one character acting as a foil by which the reader can judge the other character's growth. Choosing a pair of characters (Ishmael/Queequeg, Ahab/Starbuck, Ishmael/Ahab, or some other combination), write an essay exploring this idea.
7. What parallels can you find between Moby-Dick and works by other authors--Shakespeare or Hawthorne, for example? Choose just one play or novel and write an essay in which you explore the parallels.
8. Your own topic.