research about a story we have read this semester

For this essay you will select one of the assigned readings in your World Literature text Vol. A, B, or C. If you choose a text from which only excerpts were assigned, you will need to read more than just the excerpts for this paper. For example, if you choose to write about the Odyssey, then read all of it in your text. Choose well – choose a poem, story, or play that interests you and do a little research right away so that you know you can find some reliable scholarly sources (after reading instructions). You will look at your chosen work of literature in the following ways: 1. You will analyze the cultural setting and context of the story, poem, or play. What does your chosen work say about the beliefs, values, and lives of those who heard, read, or retold it? An example of planning would be something like this: Let’s say I want to write about the book of Exodus in the Old Testament. I would look at how that journey out of slavery in Egypt defined Israel in many ways and still does through the celebration of Passover. I would look into how the law defined them in a polytheistic world as a people who worshipped one God – how they were in a sense created as a people by the word. They are perhaps the only nation that has existed without a state for centuries. The work you choose might tell you how a people felt about the world around them, what they feared, believed, or loved. It might tell you what they valued most: power and might or treasure and family. You will have to engage the work you choose in its own context. This portion of your paper could be a few paragraphs long as you discuss the different issues. Continuing with my example from above – I might have a paragraph on the actual departure from Egypt with some discussion of the plagues and another on the way the Israelites were delivered – by belief and trust – not by lineage. Then I might have another paragraph on how their experience defined them as separate from the people around them – being fed manna, living in the wilderness for forty years, etc. Then another paragraph on how the law from God also defined them as different from the people around them. See how this one category of your paper could yield several paragraphs? Of course, you would use your research sources to help with these discussions. 2. In the next part of your analysis you would discuss those elements in your chosen selection that express universal human issues, themes, or longings. To continue with my example from above, I might talk about how the book of Exodus underscores a universal human longing to have things made right which assumes a sort of universal uneasiness with the state of the world. Also, I could expand of the theme or being a slave and being set free to go to a new home. This portion of your paper could be a few paragraphs long as you would need at least one paragraph for each theme or issue 3. You will need three scholarly research sources besides your primary source which is the text you have chosen. Your research sources will support or explain your assertions about the cultural context (see 1 above) of your chosen primary source and your ideas about the universal themes (see 2 above). 4. Your essay should, of course, have an introduction that catches the reader’s attention with an understanding of the importance of your topic. This introduction would include the thesis statement of your paper. Your thesis would be your response to 1 and 2 above and should appear near the end of your first paragraph. 5. Your essay should also have a conclusion that restates your thesis. Do not introduce new ideas in your conclusion. After reading through these instructions, start thinking about a poem, play, or story for your paper. I would urge you to take some time to consider this carefully and to do some preliminary research to make sure you can find some scholarly sources. You cannot wait until the last minute and then tell me you had to change topics because you could not find any sources. You have access to Galileo and many databases through ASU’s library links. You will need the new password for Galileo for off campus research! BE Sure and check out the Writing Helps I have for you which will give you sources for MLA citation and your Works Cited page along with may other things. 1200 words minimum. MLA format

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