Omparison paper between A Rose for EmilyBy William Fulkner, and BattleRoyalby Ralph Ellison

Peninsula College

English 102

Professor Fisher

Fall 2009

Prompt for Paper #1

Readings: William Faulkner, a€œA Rose for Emilya€� 90-102 and Ralph Ellison, a€œBattle Royala€� 243-58. Other readings will support your understanding of fiction and how to write about it, but these are the two primary sources. You will also need to be familiar with a€œCritical Strategies for Readinga€� 1533-56, especially the portion that deals with the particular Critical Approach you will adopt.

PROMPT: In a well-developed paper of 5-6 pages length, typed, double-spaced and adhering to MLA style throughout a€¦

Develop a thesis in which you compare and contrast a€œA Rose for Emilya€� and a€œBattle Royala€� on the basis of the particular critical approach you choose.

Once youa€™ve read both stories, you should have a good idea of what appeals to you in each, whether it is something that is common to both of the stories, or polar opposite. Once youa€™ve read the section on Critical Theories, youa€™ll have a much better idea of where you would like to go. Choose carefully. If you have experience with feminist criticism and it appeals to you, do that. If you love history, then do a little side reading and adopt a historical approach.

Some ideas you might want to pursue:

Historically, you could investigate the background to a€œA Rose for Emily,a€� which is set just after the Civil War. Then you could look at a€œBattle Royala€� which is set in the era before the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950-60s.

In Feminist terms, you could investigate the apparent attitudes toward women in each story, looking at Miss Emily herself (and the townspeople) and then examining the only woman who appears in Ellisona€™s story, the dancer.

A Formalist approach could look at the ironies in both stories, first the heavy irony at the end of a€œA Rose for Emilya€� and then the ironic switch in the battle, the very reason the boys are invited to the smoker.

A Marxist approach could look at the power politics involved in both worlds. How much power do Emily and Toby have? How much power do the dancer and the young Black men have?

In a Psychological approach, you could investigate the insanity present in a€œA Rose for Emily,a€� even trying to name it or define it. Then you could look at the psychological abuse in the a€œBattle Royal.a€�

Notice that I have listed just five of the theories discussed by Meyers. Reader Response and Deconstruction are better left to literary specialists.

All of you should consider using Chapter 14: Literature of the South445-463 as part of your research. You should be able to find a few good quotes there.

Wikipedia and Research

I am a great fan of Wikipedia and what it has done for our access to information on the internet. Be warned, however, that many of my colleagues at Peninsula College do not share that view. Dona€™t be surprised if you are told that you cannot use Wikipedia at all in some other classes.

For our purposes, Wikipedia is a legitimate source for your use, as is the textbook for this course, so make sure you pay close attention to what Meyers has to say in both the introductions and the biographies of the authors. Both are fair game for this course. I also expect to see sources drawn from our various library services: ProQuest and the Dictionary of Literary Biography, to name just two.

How many sources are required? In a 5-6 page paper, I expect to see 5-6 sources, but remember that Faulkner and Ellison will each have an entry for the text of the stories, which are your a€œprimarya€� sources. Meyer should also appear as one of your a€œsecondarya€� sources. Those are an easy three. Now, when you compare two stories, you should demonstrate balance. If you choose one outside source for Faulkner, you should have one for Ellison. Two would demand two, and so on. Just use your heads.

Remember, other than our text, these are all electronic databases, so they can be accessed at home just by using your Student Number.

Citing Your Sources

Do not tell me that you are doing a psychological study or a historical one. Let the evidence speak for itself in your paper.

The digital revolution is a two-edged sword. On the one hand, your ability to access information, quickly and easily, is phenomenal. It means that you can do quality research right here on the Peninsula, over the internet and through library data bases. Unfortunately, this ease also means that you can readily download other peoplea€™s opinions, even whole papers, at a single click of the mouse.

Therefore, in this paper, I need to see everything you cite, including opinions you summarize without making direct quotes. You may use ProQuest or other library databases, other books, and the internet, but be careful that you follow the expected MLA forms in citing those sources, both within your text and in the Works Cited.
The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature,8th edition, Bedford/St.Martins. Boston,New York 2009
Janice McKelroy
English 2
Dr. James Fisher
Oct., 2009
Paper #01

Please let me know what critical approach you take in the paper.