Gullivers travel, shakespeare (king lear) or paradise lost

you can choose, and one of these options

In any event, I want you to do ONE of the following:

A) Look over the authors weave read and, using them as evidence, consider how English literature changed (or how developed) through about a 50-to-one-hundred year span (your choice). You should deal with the following: (1) the form of the works (language, style, etc); (2) how the works deal with certain ideas (or one idea): for instance, religion, politics, love, etc.; and (if you like) (3) one area of your choice. If you choose this option you must deal with at least 3 authors.
B) Choose a writer and, using what he or she wrote, consider how his or her work reflects issues (or an issue) current in his or her time. The issues can be literary, cultural, theological, and so on. This is similar to topic A, of course, but the difference is that you will go into more detail on the issues (or issue) you discuss.
C) Choose two writers from quite different periods and, using what they wrote, consider how they together show great differences between their times. You can cover such literary, cultural, theological differences, for example. You should cover at least 3 significant differences. This is similar to topic A; the difference is that you will stress contrasts between the periods rather than how things developed.
D) Research an issue from the perioda how women were treated, theology, the rise of sciencea and, using some of what you learned, show how it illuminates some aspect of a writer or a group of writers. This differs from the others in that the emphasis will be on the research you did on a period rather than the other way arounda that is, for topic A and B the focus is on how the authors illuminate some aspect of the period, on this topic the focus is on how an aspect of the period illuminates a writer.
E) Find a critical study of one of the authors we reada or of an issue from the perioda and show how their argument is, to a greater or lesser degree, defective.
F) Identify and develop a comparison or contrast (or comparison and contrast) of two writers weave read this semester. Center on thematic concerns (unless you want to do a detailed analysis of stylea but even then youad need to show how style and theme relate in the authors. See me if you choose to work on style). Anyway, an example would be to look at how Beowulf and Spenser deal with the idea of a hero or how Donne and Spenser deal with love.
G) Show how a modern work of fiction deals with issues and themes that you see in one of our writers.
H) Find a poem or a section of a poem and do an explication of ita that is, a close reading. Here you would look at as many of the details of the poem or passage as you can: things like imagery, rhythm, diction, style, ideas, etc.
I) Find a prose passage and do an explication of ita a close reading. That is, youall look at things like diction, descriptions, dialogue, how the ideas link together, style.


Note: You can use outside sources, but I want the clear majority of your paper to be made up of your own ideas (even if you choose option E). These are not research papers. If you use sources, use them to clarify ideas, to add authority to what you say, and so forth, not as the mainstay of your work. A proviso: If you are an English major or someone really interested in this kind of thing, you can write a research paper on a topic youad like to explore. If you want to do this, please see me.

Again, the whole paper must be in MLA form. Though I wonat take points off for small deviations from MLA, I will be annoyed. MLAa the basics of ita is very easy, so I donat anticipate a problem. But if you donat know MLA, learn it. Since these are not research papers, you only have to worry about a few rules: how to quote (verse and prose), how to cite, how to note pagination, and so on. As I said, you should be able to learn the basics of MLA (which, again, is all youall need to know here) fairly easily, but since it can be confusing a times,


Some things to look out for:

1) Do not summarise unless you are dealing with a minor, easily forgettable event or issue; only summarise to re-establish a sense of context. I know I am absent-minded, but I have read the works and I do remember them pretty well!
2) Do go beyond the common, the trite, the obvious; try to make your observations and insights the sort of thing that would not likely occur to most readers as a matter of course;
3) Quote judiciously; that is, donat use direct quotes unless the author has made his or her point so powerfully you cannot paraphrase without damage or if the quote is very short or if you have been paraphrasing a great deal and want the variety. In general paraphrasing is the way to goa at least on a paper like this.
4) Write in a direct, semi-casual tone. I want to hear your voice when I read.
5) Edit carefully. More importantly, edit for readability. For example, avoid using the passive voice when it is not necessary (see me if you dont know what Im talking about here), use verbs rather than nouns when possible, stick transitions in at key points, donat misspell words (especially donat mix up words like their and there), maintain parallelism (again, see me if you dont know what that is), donat screw up subject / verb agreement, and so on.
6) Though I want you to write freely, try to keep your paper from becoming merely a subjective record of your subjective impressions. To a small degree, I want subjectivity (I do think subjective impressions are valuable and interesting), but I really want you to base your points, as much as possible, on evidence from the text. So you will, I should think, either quote or refer to the text often (but see #10 below).
7) Your papers should be argumentative. That is, you will be trying to convince me that your points are based on solid reasoning and evidence. And, of course, you must (either directly or indirectly) convince me that your points are good ones: serious, well thought out, etc. So you must have a clear thesis.
8) I expect you to come up with smart, provocative, original ideas. Stating the obvious (except occasionally and only when you have no choice) or using seriously flawed arguments (that reveal a lack of careful, hard thought) will result in lower grades.
9) Do not summarise very oftena we have all read the books. The only time you will need to summarise is when you are trying to orient me to the portion of the text you are discussing.
10) As I said earlier, quote directly only when you have to (that is, when paraphrasing would dilute your point or when you need an exact quote to explicate closely and so on), but even then keep quotes to a minimum length; itas usually better to refer me to a passage. I can just look it up. I will be annoyed when you seem to be quoting too much or at too great a length. Always ask: Do I really need to quote this? My reason for saying this is that I often get papers that are half quotations.
11) Again, follow the MLA, but donat worry about a Works Cited page unless you are using a different edition of our texts, but donat use a different edition.
12) Have a thesis! And stick to it.

A Last Note: Read your papers aloud before turning them in. That is the best way to discover sloppy, incoherent, ugly writing.

Some Basic Tips for Writing on Fiction (I apologize if some of this seems pretty obviousa but a lot folks havenat written a literary paper)


1) Dont merely summarize the plot. Of course, sometimes you might need to summarize the plot to a greater or lesser degree. You may, for example, need to remind the reader of the context of your points or quotes. Or, if you know your reader is unfamiliar with the plot, then of course you must give it to them (but this is a rare situation). Whenever you summarise, ask yourself, Do I need to be doing this?

2) Quote directly only when you have to (when summarizing or paraphrasing would blunt your point or when your paraphrase sounds too similar