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Spring 2010 Eng 465 Paper 2

Page history last edited by Brian Croxall 11 years ago

Paper 2


  • 8+ pages
  • Monday, 4/19: Topic due to bcroxal@g.clemson.edu
    • Please send a paragraph generally outlining what you will write about (evidence, trajectory of argument, etc.) and a tentative thesis statement.
  • Monday, 4/26: Paper due by 5pm EST to bcroxal@g.clemson.edu
    • I will respond to each of your emails, thus insuring that you know that I have received your paper. Take some advice from someone who has had technical difficulties in the past: please do not trust your computer to function correctly at the last minute. Instead, send your paper a bit early if you can. I’m going to judge when papers are late based on the email’s time stamp in my inbox. You don’t want to be late, and technology failures do not count as an excuse.


For this assignment, you will focus on pursuing an argument pertaining to one or two of the novels we have read this semester: The Crying of Lot 49, The Hacker and the Ants, Victory Garden, Halting State, House of Leaves, or The.PowerBook. You may not write about the same text that you wrote about for the first paper. For this assignment, you are not required to consider media or technology within your chosen text, although you are certainly welcome to do so.


Your paper should be a persuasive argument about the text(s) that draws its evidence from close reading and analysis of the language and techniques present within the novel(s). You not only need an appropriate amount of evidence but also to spend an appropriate amount of time explaining how your evidence adds up to your interpretation. Make sure that you do not simply summarize the plot but focus on one theme or aspect of the text.


You are not required to use external sources for this assignment. However, you may do so. This can include texts from your (or classmates) annotated bibliography or other texts that you want to discover. You may also draw on any of the theorists we have read—from McLuhan to Moulthrop to Hayles—as you discuss the texts in question. It would be very interesting to see you discuss how a book confirms and/or pushes back against the theories of one theorist or another. If you take this route, you should read a little bit more of his or her work, to get a broader picture of what s/he says about media.


Whether you use external sources or not, the focus of your argument should be on the text(s). You will have to quote directly from the texts and examine their language in order to build your case.  Doing so is important for both novels and theories.


Finally, whether or not you use external sources or not, you will need to create a Works Cited page in correct MLA style. 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 the page limits.  A topic that is too big (e.g. the role of media in House of Leaves) will result in a poorly developed essay.  Something more manageable (e.g. gender roles in House of Leaves) 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 gender roles in House of Leaves.” – is a topic.  This – “Although Navidson, Karen, and Johnny to some extent occupy stereotypical gender roles, their experience with the house on Ash Tree Lane causes them to revise their perspective.” – 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. Demonstrating the validity of your thesis should be the goal of the paper and thus, each paragraph.


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 can’t do this without substantially quoting the text.  The quotations you use should be smoothly introduced by and integrated into your own prose. Furthermore, you should clearly and effectively provide analysis of the quotations, tracing for the reader how the language of the text connects to your larger thesis. (A --> B -->  C -->  D) Finally, your Works Cited page as well as your paper should make correct use of the MLA style.


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—including mechanics—and on the level of essay organization. It should be possible for the reader to see why your paper is organized in the way that it is and that this organization contributes to the rhetorical power of your argument. Furthermore, each paragraph should generally be about one topic.


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