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American Literature I

ENG 213: American Literature I

Final Paper Instructions

DUE BY FRIDAY, APRIL 18 AT 5:00PM (upload to Safe Assign on Blackboard)

For your final writing assignment, you are asked to write an essay that explores the critical conversation about your selected theme/topic and course reading in which the four scholarly sources of your annotated bibliography participate. For each source, provide a brief summary; if you are happy with the summaries you wrote for your annotated bibliography, you are welcome to use them in your final paper. As or after you summarize each source, analyze and evaluate the source’s evidence and arguments (unlike the annotated bibliography, which primarily consists of summary, this paper should have a significant analytical component). Do not just praise your sources—do your absolute best to critique all four of them—and try not to analyze each source in isolation. As your paper shifts its focus from one source to another, compare the new source to the other sources you have already addressed. Your analysis should reveal the similarities and differences in thinking between each piece of scholarship, as well as explain the sources’ comparative strengths and weaknesses (to be clear, these explanations should go well beyond agree/disagree responses).

Required Texts:

The Norton Anthology of American Literature, volumes A and B (8th edition)

Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

· Benjamin Franklin, “Rules by Which a Great Empire May Be Reduced to a Small One,” “Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America,” “Information to Those Who Would Remove to America” (NAL A, pp. 465-480)

· Mary Rowlandson, A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson (NAL A, pp. 257-274)

· Frederick Douglass, selections from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave and “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” (NAL B, pp. 1177-1180, 1182-1185, 1196-1201, 1210-1215, 1227-1239, 1251-1254)

· Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (introductions, preface, chapters I-VI);

To be clear, this is not a traditional research paper; you are not asked to use your scholarly sources to support a claim about how your selected theme/topic plays out in one of the course readings. Rather, you are asked to showcase and analyze a piece of the critical conversation about your theme/topic by summarizing and critiquing your sources and by demonstrating how your sources are responding to each other.

Questions to think through as you compare, analyze, and evaluate each scholarly source:

· What is the scholarly source’s contribution to the critical conversation about the theme/topic of the course reading? How does each source approach your theme/topic differently than the other sources?

· How are your sources “in conversation”? In other words, how are your sources responding to and/or building on each other?

· Is the source’s argument clear? Does the analysis make sense? Does the scholar jump to conclusions anywhere?

· Which source makes the strongest/weakest argument and why?

· What are the scholar’s assumptions? Do you agree with them?

· Does the source use a sufficient number of sources to support its argument?

· What kind of evidence/support does your source use? Does it successfully support the source’s argument? What other kinds of evidence would have improved the argument?

· Which source makes the best/worst use of evidence and why?

· How old or new are the references that your source cites? Are the references credible?

· Does the source adequately address counterarguments? What counterarguments should the source have addressed?

· Do you have an alternative reading or interpretation of the course text that differs from the reading provided by your source? (If we have yet to cover the course reading you selected, I would recommend that you read the text in advance of our scheduled class discussion so you can respond to this question.)

Your paper should be between 1,800 and 2,100 words long (that’s about 6 to 7 full pages).

Final Paper

Grading Rubric

POINTS POSSIBLE EXPECTATIONS POINTS RECEIVED
12 POINTS SUMMARY: Each scholarly source is clearly, coherently, and thoroughly summarized.
12 POINTS ANALYSIS: Each scholarly source is sufficiently analyzed, critiqued, and compared to the other three scholarly sources.
6 POINTS WRITING: Essay meets the minimum word requirement and is free of errors.

TOTAL POINTS: /30

 

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