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the prompt

Here is the prompt for your final paper:


Many of the narratives we’ve read in the second half of our class have dealt with deception: lies, pretending, deceit, personas, etc. People lying to themselves, people lying to others, people pretending for others, people pretending for themselves. Pick two or three texts that deal with this theme and compare/contrast these forms of deception. How do the lies/pretending affect your perception of the person/characters? Do you feel sorry for them? Do you feel contempt for them? Do you sympathize with them? Can you understand why or how they lie/pretend? Or do you not understand them? Do you agree with the lies/deception? Do you think it’s necessary for them to lie/pretend? Is there such a thing as a “good” lie? What are some connections you see among the texts you’ve picked?


These questions are merely suggestions to guide you. The main thing here is that you analyze the texts and compare and/or contrast them. Here are some other guidelines:


  • Your paper should be 3-5 pages, double-spaced, with 1” margins. 12 point font, Times New Roman.
  • You may use any texts that we’ve discussed since the midterm paper. That means everything from Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun up to John Jeremiah Sullivan’s “Violence of the Lambs.”
  • You may use “I,” and I encourage you to use “I” frequently throughout your paper!
  • Think of this as a more formal version of your weekly writing responses. I want the same level of analysis and comparisons you’ve been making so far, only in a slightly more formal version. That means you should have an introductory paragraph that tells me which texts you’re going to discuss and how you’re going to compare/contrast them. You should have separate body paragraphs for each text (it’s okay to have multiple paragraphs discussing a single text). And you should end with a short conclusion.
  • The most important thing here is DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. I don’t want you to use any outside sources, so don’t go to Google and look up other people’s ideas. I want YOUR ideas and I want them in YOUR voice.
  • Use proper MLA in-text citations from the Purdue OWL site:
  • Have a proper MLA Works Cited list at the end of your paper.



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