First Assignment Prompt

English 429: The Eighteenth-Century Novel
Fall 2011

First Assignment: Exploration and Analysis
 Due Tuesday, September 27 (hard copy in class + backup on Google Docs)

This first assignment is worth 50 points.  Its purpose is to give you room to think more deeply about the texts we’ve been reading and craft a more complex argument that is possible in class discussion or on the blog.   

Write a 4- to 6-page paper in which you compare how one of the following themes gets depicted in Robinson Crusoe and Pamela:

1.     despair
2.     duty
3.     vanity
4.     compassion
5.     self-determination
6.     deceit
7.     (other possibilities? E-mail me to see if your suggestion would be suitable,)

The Expectations: Success on this assignment requires you to do the following

1.     Clearly define the term and make sure you limit your analysis to that definition
2.     Make some specific interpretive claims about the two texts as you bring them into dialogue with each other.
3.     Use specific evidence drawn from the texts to support those claims.  (Picking two representative episodes, one from each novel, around which to organize your comparison can help you to say something accurate and interesting and give it solid textual support).
4.     Come to some specific insights into how either or both of the two texts you have considered treat the theme you have selected, but NOT general conclusions about vanity, despair, remorse etc. considered in abstraction.
5.     Write clearly and persuasively.
6.     Proofread (which includes citing text accurately and punctuating quotes properly, using MLA citation style).

The Fine Print
·      Please review the syllabus for my policies on plagiarism. I don’t expect you to draw on texts other than the readings to complete this assignment, but if you do, you should cite them.
·      Your paper will lose 2 points for each day it is late.   
·      Know that your paper may be used as part of an in-class exercise (with name removed, of course).   
·      Do not use a running header that puts your name on every page of the paper.
·      Refrain from justifying the right margin of your paper.
·      If in doubt, follow the MLA 7th ed guidelines for answers to formatting questions.