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Spring 2010 Eng 465 Paper 1

Page history last edited by Brian Croxall 11 years, 2 months ago

Paper 1


  • 6 pages
  • Topic due 2/11
  • Paper due 2/23 at the beginning of class 


For this assignment, you will focus on pursuing an argument pertaining to one of the following texts: The Crying of Lot 49, The Hacker and the Ants, or Victory Garden. Your paper should be a persuasive argument about the text that draws its evidence from close reading and analysis of the language and techniques present within the novel. While it need not be the central focus of your paper, you should in some way consider the use or function of media within your chosen text.


You should email your topic to me by 5pm on 11 February. Please write 3-4 sentences about what you think you will write about (evidence, trajectory of argument, etc.) as well as a tentative thesis statement.


You do not need external sources. The assignment is quite short and you cannot effectively do a thorough reading and integrate research in the allotted pages. On the other hand, you should feel free to draw on McLuhan, Baudrillard, or Virilio as you discuss the texts in question. (Feel free to apply McLuhan to Moulthrop and Baudrillard or Baudrillard to Pynchon and Rucker as you see fit.)


You must appropriately cite your primary text within the body of the paper using parenthetical citations, MLA style. You will also need a Works Cited page that is properly formatted in MLA Style, even if you are only using one primary text. As English majors or minors in a 400-level class, I expect you to know how to do both of these things correctly. When citing text from Victory Garden, use the name of the particular lexia instead of a page number.


I will be focusing on a few discreet things in grading:


  1. Appropriateness of topic – in part because I am reading your topics ahead of time, this shouldn’t be a major problem for most of you, but here I am looking to see that you understand what can be persuasively covered in 6 pages.  A topic that is too big (e.g. the role of media in The Crying of Lot 49) will result in a poorly developed essay.  Something more manageable (e.g. Jerzy’s character development in The Hacker and the Ants) allows you more room to build an argument.  Further, the thesis for the essay should state an argument, not just a topic.  This – “My essay will consider how Jerzy’s character changes in The Hacker and the Ants.” – is a topic.  This – “Ironically, Jerzy’s interactions with the cyberspace ants result in his own evolution throughout the course of the novel.” – is an argument. One way to determine whether you are presenting a topic or an argument is to ask yourself, “Could a person reasonably argue against what I am saying?” If the answer is “no,” then you probably don’t have an argument.
  2. Integration of quotations/use of evidence – It’s not a persuasive argument if you don’t have evidence to prove it. This essay should consist of a series of close readings, the analysis of which builds to prove your argument. You cannot do this without substantially quoting the text.  The quotations you use should be smoothly introduced by and integrated into your own prose.
  3. Prose and organizational effectiveness – This is a writing class and a writing assignment, so the quality of your writing will be at issue.  This means on the level on individual sentences and on the level of essay organization.  I strongly encourage you to get a draft ready to take to the Writing Center. The most helpful strategy for improving writing is to get another set of eyes on the piece.


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