Hoose one of the three texts listed below and decide what that work of literature has to teach or contribute to a contemporary audience

Essay One: Contemporary Culture and the Literature of the Past

Description: In class we will consider the works of literature in the context of the particular historical, geographical, and cultural environments which produced them. In your essay you will move beyond that and consider a particular text in the context of your contemporary geographical and cultural environment. While we spend class time understanding what influences the creation of the text and how the text influences its historical audience, in your essay you will make an argument about how the text can potentially influence a contemporary audience.

Basic Instructions: Choose one of the three texts listed below and decide what that work of literature has to teach or contribute to a contemporary audience. Be sure to move beyond the obvious. For example, obviously The Bhagavadgita has a particular significance to Hindus around the world, so to explain that the text, as part of the Mahabharata, influences contemporary Hindu beliefs would not be particularly insightful. However, you might consider what the text says about the human body and then consider how that might influence, respond to, or perhaps even confirm current attitudes about the human body in, letas say, mainstream media. You might consider how any of the arguments about women presented in The City of Ladies might be relevant in contemporary U.S. political debates. You might consider how The Analectsa argument about government would suggest one evaluate contemporary U.S. government. These are merely examples of possible directions to take in responding to this argument. There are many other possibilities.

a? The Epic of Gilgamesh
a? Christine de Pizanas The Book of the City of Ladies
a? The Bhagavadgita

Your essay should be based on a consideration of at least the following questions: What group or individual today could benefit from reading this and why? Is there a valuable message in the text? Does the text provoke productive thought about a particular subject that is important in the contemporary world? Could reading the text and/or accepting certain ideas in the text influence the outcome or resolution of some cultural or political controversy or conflict? Could something in the text have an influence on public policy or social practice? Etcetera.

Structure of Your Argument: As with all of the writing you will do for this course, the structure of your essay should be determined by what you think will best help your audience understand your points. This will be a formal essay, so it will need to have a title. It must also include an introduction, a conclusion, and unified, coherent, and developed body paragraphs. For any of these sections, you may use as many sentences and paragraphs as you deem necessary to fully identify and support your arguments. Avoid five-paragraph themed essays. Whenever you make a claim about the text be sure to provide support for your claim in the form of textual evidence (quotation or paraphrase from the text and accurate page citation) and your own explanation. When you make claims about contemporary culture be sure to provide evidence and explanation to support those claims. Treat nothing as obvious.

Research: Use as many secondary sources as are necessary. Consider what information you will need to support your argument. You will most likely want to provide information about the contemporary audience, issue, conflict, or controversy which you think can be influenced by the work of literature. For example, if you discuss a particular debate, you might want to present representative examples of the two (or more) different sides of that debate. Cite any sources using MLA guidelines for in-text citations and include an MLAformatted list of works cited at the end of your essay.

i?? Peer Review Draft Due: Tuesday, Oct. 09 (Bring two hard copies to class)
i?? Final Draft Due: Thursday, October 18 by the start of class
Submit your essay as a Microsoft Word attachment to Turnitin.com via Blackboard Learn and bring a hard copy to class.

Format for final draft: Your essay must be 3-6 pages that are typed, double-spaced in 12-point size Times New Roman font with 1-inch margins on all sides. Your first and last name, my last name (Hakima), the course and section number (EH 217 ), and the date should be placed (in that order) at the top left of your first page. Your last name and a page number should appear at the top right of every page.

Grading: To receive a grade of 100, your essay must include. . .
i?? A title
i?? A clear and original thesis that is an appropriate and direct response to the assignment
i?? An effective and concise introduction that contains only relevant information about the argument
i?? An effective conclusion that at least summarizes the main argument of the essay
i?? Body paragraphs that are unified, sufficiently developed, and coherent
i?? A thorough and thoughtful, valid, and original argument that is an appropriate response to the assignment
i?? Clear and thorough explanation of all points of your argument
i?? Clear and appropriate evidence (quotations, paraphrases, summaries) from the primary text and any necessary secondary sources
i?? Demonstration of your close reading and comprehension of the primary text
i?? Proper integration of source material (from primary text and from any secondary sources)
i?? Attention to the potential concerns, questions, and objections of your audience
i?? Correct MLA citations of any secondary source material
i?? Adherence to the assigned essay format

If your essay is deficient in any of those areas listed above, you should expect to lose points from your total essay grade. Evaluate your essay using the checklist to make sure that your essay meets all the criteria before submitting your essay for grading.