Mid-term assignment

Your essay must address a specific essay topic. (See list below.) Indicate which topic you have selected. Giver your essay a title. Make sure that your essay has a clear argument. Stick to your essay topic, and make sure you analyse, paraphrase, and quote from your selected text or texts in order to support your argument. In other words, you will be doing close reading in your essay; and since it is an essay you will do more than that too. You will provide a context for your analysis. The context might be historical, or biographical, or thematic; or it might refer to literary genre, or literary history. This may all sound very difficult. But what your essay is about will largely be determined by the essay prompt you select. So that is a big help! You must write in clear, grammatical sentences that make up coherent and cohesive paragraphs. A paragraph should have a controlling idea, or a topic sentence. Just as sentences need to follow logically from one to the next, so do paragraphs. Your essay must have an introduction and a conclusion. You do not need to incorporate secondary, or critical, sources into your essay, though you can if you wish. You might find it useful to turn to the head notes and liner notes in the Norton anthologies, or to the pages of English Literature in Context, or American History: A Short Introduction. If you do use any of these critical sources (or others) by quoting from them and/or paraphrasing the author’s language, make sure you use proper citation in the body of your essay. Provide a bibliography, or works cited list. Use MLA citation, or some other form of documentation if you are comfortable with it. Select one of the following essay prompts: 1. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a comedy: it begins with disruption of the social order, and it ends with restoration of the social order. Yet this does not mean that the play is necessarily sympathetic with rulers, or equally sympathetic or unsympathetic with all of them. In this essay, stake out a position on how you think the rulers come out in the play. Why is this important? 2. The introduction to Benjamin Franklin’s life and work in The Norton Anthology of American Literature Volume 1 claims that “[the writings of Franklin] helped inaugurate the new national sensibility that emerged after the American Revolution”. Write an essay about Franklin in which you examine what is “new” in Franklin’s writing. 3. Geoffrey Chaucer, the “father of English Literature,” was a satirist. Write an essay that examines Chaucer’s satire as it is practiced upon any two of his pilgrims. What is the aim of the satire? 4. William Blake famously said that John Milton “was of the devil’s party without knowing it.” What do you think he meant by this? Argue for or against this claim, based upon your close reading and interpretation of selected lines from Book One of Paradise Lost. 5. Examine how Alexander Hamilton in Federalist no. 1 and James Madison in Federalist no. 10 make the case that effective government is needed to secure individual liberty. 6. Select either two or three poems from our Week 40 reading schedule and discuss what you think makes them Romantic poems. Pay attention to textual details. 7. Mary Wollstonecraft proclaims in A Vindication of the Rights of Women that “the soft phrases, susceptibility of heart, delicacy of sentiment, and refinement of taste, are almost synonymous with epithets of weakness.” What do you think she means?