And comment on at least two different power structures in ancient myth
CAMS 45 (2006) Paper
Please choose one (and only one) of the following topics for your 4-6 page paper. Your paper must be based on one of the given topics. Expectations for the paper are pretty standard: your paper should be well argued (stemming from a strong thesis statement), grammatically clean, in final draft form (perfect spelling, no typos), and on topic. To adequately respond to all of the topics you must provide a clear and cogent thesis statement, cite specific passages from the texts (i.e., quotes) to support your (well organized) argument, and avoid too much plot summary. Please cite all sources in the body of your paper AND, if you use texts other than those assigned in the bookstore or ER, include a bibliography (this means you need a biblio even if you use the online Perseus Project readings).
This is NOT a research paper, and I actually discourage you from using outside sources/library sources (you may not use any online resources except for the online readings). Try to base your paper ideas on the readings, lectures, and other course materials. This is an analytic essay, not a book report. These topics are deliberately open so that you can explore your own ideas within each topic.
Papers should be in 12 point, Times New Roman (or similar) font, with 1″-1.25margins, and all papers must be DOUBLE SPACED.
1. Consider the issue of divinity as it appears in our readings. Many of the readings we have had this term put into question traditional limits and understandings of what it is to be a god. For example, Zeus sexual escapades, Apollos hot-headedness, or Heras jealousy issues. How can we reconcile these facts in the face of the gods divinity? What is it to be divine? This paper should NOT simply respond to these questions, but rather you must come up with a thesis statement (argument) that explores some facet of the issue of divinity. To help you come up with a central arguemnt, consider the ways in which this class (lectures, readings, etc) have challenged your views of what it means to be a god. Can a god be a god and act on base, human urges? Can we classify a being as a god who runs through all the emotions we ourselves do?
2. Based on the assigned readings and what you learned in lecture, identify and comment on at least two different power structures in ancient myth. For example, how is the power structure among the gods defined? How might this reflect human society? What relationship might there be between the Olympians and the mortals? What kind of a class system can you identify among the gods? Among mortals? Do women find themselves with no power, or do they have to exercise their power in more subtle ways? Be sure to center your paper around a central argument. Simply saying, Other gods are subordinate to Zeus,is NOT a sufficient thesis. Work out the effects of the power structures that you identify. How are these power structures undermined by minorities or by figures further down the social ladder within the structures of power?
Thesis Statements: Some of you may never have written a college paper before, and other of you might have written them but didnt really understand how to formulate the central component of an essay (the thesis statement). If you have written plenty of papers at the univeristy level and know well how to come up with viable and interesting thesis statements. All of you, even if youre a seasoned pro, might well benefit from the tips below. Take a look!
Having written tons of papers both as an undergraduate literature major and a PhD student, I have hit upon a basic formula that can be very useful in coming up with thesis statements. Before I give it to you, though, understand that you may have to modify the formula a bit to fit paper topics and paper lengths. Also understand that this applies only to literary essays. With those caveats, here is the basic formula:
_____________(Author/authors) use(s) X to show Y.
I know how simple this seems, but try it: Aeschylus uses light and dark imagery to show and critique various stages in the development of Greek government. Or, how about, Clytemnestra is often referred to as various mythical monsters throughout the Oresteia. Aeschylus characters use this slanderous rhetoric to show that, in Aeschylus view, women may occasionally find themselves in power, but they are unfit to maintain it.”
See, once you make a statement like Bob uses X to show Y,you are putting yourself in a position where you have to defend that statement. If it is something you have to argue for, and it responds to the topic (note difference between topic and thesis–more below), its a thesis statement. There are obviously varying degrees of quality of thesis statements.
Keep in mind that a topic is not at all the same as a thesis. A topic is the broad, aerial perspective of your paper. A thesis is the detailed, closely argued, and well supported part of the topic that you chose. For example, Homosexuality in ancient Greeceis a topic; In the Iliad, Homer illustrates the seriousness of the relationship between the eraste and eromenos, as well as the utility of such a relationship in battleis a thesis. The second of these (the thesis) has to be defended with quotes from Homer and a certain level of understanding of the basics of Greek homosexuality. The simple topic Homosexuality in Greecetells us nothing and makes no point. You can say that it existed, but thats as wortwhile of a statement as saying that it exists in contemporary American society. It does! Who cares? Find an element of the topic (The seriousness of the relationship…”) and prove your point with relevant textual support.
In case you havent noticed the emphasis I have been putting on using quotes from the primary sources to support your argument, I will make it very clear here: you cannot get an A on your paper without good textual support. If you write a paper with no quotes, you cannot get better than a 89%, even if the paper is otherwise perfect. Similarly, let me say a word about thesis statements: without a good, central thesis statement, you cannot get an A. The best you can do without a thesis is probably somewhere around an 85%. No thesis equals no argument equals no point.
So, obviously, if you write a paper with no thesis statement and no quotes, youre looking at a low C at best (thats if you have perfect spelling, perfect grammar, excellent style, etc.). Writing is serious in every discipline. Sometimes it is not sufficiently emphasized in certain majors, but trust me, its vital to almost every job you will get out of college. I have friends who are biological systems engineers, who do PR for non-profits, who are teachers, who are in law-enforcement (at basically all levels), who are insurance salespeople, and a whole bunch of other occupations. I have asked around. They ALL say that the difference between entry level and promotion is being able to write well. If you can communicate, you can move up. Take this and all papers seriously to help you hone your writing skills for all thats ahead.