due Friday, September 30 at 11pm in OAKS
The assignment as described on the syllabus:
In this first extended analytical essay for the course, you will make your first object-oriented analysis of a literary text that we have read for class. Because so much of the first half of the semester [has involved] learning to read Middle English effectively and engaging with different critical approaches, this first essay will not be research based but instead will present your own ideas about the primary literary text you choose, in discussion with select critics and theorists. This paper will be 5-7 pages long.
Some further information:
Your paper must be 5-7 pages long, double-spaced, not counting the Works Cited page (which you do need to include, of course). Follow MLA style conventions for all text citations as well as for the heading and title (and formatting in general).
You will choose only one literary text and at least one critical text that we will have read by the end of the week (Week 5) before the due date:
Literary texts (choose only 1):
Lay Le Freine
Critical texts (choose at least 1):
Bill Brown, “Thing Theory”
Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter Preface and Chapter 1
Graham Harman, “We Have Never Been Modern” (on Latour)
[You may supplement with “What is Actor-Network Theory” but that may not be your primary critical source]
Your paper should address an audience, such as our class, familiar with some basic concepts of object-oriented approaches but perhaps just gradually becoming adept and comfortable with them. This means you will want to explain the particular approach you’re taking (making use of the critical text[s]) before you begin presenting your interpretation in any detail.
I recommend an introductory paragraph that draws readers’ attention to the particular ideas you’ll be using from object-oriented theory and to your particular claim about the individual medieval text you’ll be discussing. In other words, this will mean, for most of you, a two-part thesis statement.
Within the discussion you will want to quote and paraphrase and summarize from the critical text(s) and the literary text as you explain the observation about the literary text that you’re presenting.
A successful paper will demonstrate the following:
a thorough understanding of the literary text as a whole, as well as the specific sections you focus on in your analysis;
a thoughtful understanding of the critical text, in terms of the issues we have addressed in class and those you choose to make particular use of in your interpretation; and
attention to the nuances of the language in the passage(s) you choose, explaining in some detail the reasons for your particular reading.
In addition, a successful paper will:
be structured according to a clearly-presented thesis, supporting that thesis with sufficient examples and in a logical fashion;
use MLA guidelines effectively; and
follow the standard rules of grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
You may earn 5 extra points for the essay grade if you submit via OAKS a one-page proposal for your paper by noon on Friday, September 23. I will promptly reply to these with questions and suggestions.