The Cambridge Companion

One paragraph is needed on December 9. Must agree to this befor being given the assignment.

For your final essay, write a 5-6-page paper (typed, double-spaced, 12pt proportional font, 1′ margins) on one of the topics below. Consult and follow the “Writing Guidelines for Literature Papers” in the “Writing Guidelines and Grading Criteria” folder under “Writing Assignments” on our course blackboard site while planning and executing your paper. The “Guidelines” address many specific questions that might come up as you are planning and writing your paper. Are you unsure how to organize your argument? How to set up a paragraph? How to incorporate quotes correctly? Check the guidelines.

There is no need for a title page for such a short essay, but you should make sure to give your essay a well-crafted title. (See also the “Sample first page” document in the Writing Guidelines folder.) Your paper should present a clear thesis statement, answering the question you have chosen, evidence from the text(s), and analysis of that evidence to show the reader how it supports your point. Your paper should again incorporate at least one academic secondary source. You can engage with a scholar who has offered a reading of the text you are discussing, or integrate a source that has helped you with historical background information for the text. For more, see the note on Outside Sources on the next page. You will also need to provide bibliography entries in MLA format for the texts you use in your paper.
The due-date for submission on Blackboard is Thursday, December 16 by midnight. A draft of your introductory paragraph with your draft thesis statement will be due a week earlier for our final peer-review on Thursday, December 09. Peer review constitutes 10% of your final grade, so don’t miss this important part of the writing process. I will send the peer-review instructions and your new peer editing groups at the beginning of December. Here are the prompts to choose from:

1) Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights is full of instances of physical, verbal, and emotional violence. What are the root causes of the violence we witness as readers, and does the novel offer any suggestions as to how the cycle of violence and abuse it depicts could be broken? In other words: Is there a way the ghosts and losses that haunt Brontë’s novel could be brought to a peaceful rest? (Your answer may of course be yes or no. In either case, establish what you see as the root causes of violence in the novel and then present your argument and evidence as to whether the novel does or does not offer solutions to address them.)

2) Wuthering Heights is one of the great love stories in English literature, but it is also a powerful critique of the institution of marriage in Brontë’s time and the concept of women as property on which it rests. How does the novel represent the relationship between love and marriage and how do the characters experience the tension between both? (You can focus on the development of one character or discuss more than one in support of your argument. If you decide to discuss several characters, just be sure to give them roughly equal space for a balanced argument.)

3) Education and its role in the process of socialization and every individual’s development from childhood to adulthood is a central topic in Wuthering Heights. What argument does the novel make about access or lack of access to education and its role in the shaping of personal identity and social status?

4) Three physical locations are central to character development in Wuthering Heights: Wuthering Heights, Trushcross Grange, and the moors (or heath). What role do these locations play in the formation of personal identity, and how do they structure the relationship between “wildness” and “civilization,” nature and social conventions in the characters’ development? (You can focus on the development of one character or discuss more than one in support of your argument. If you decide to discuss several characters, just be sure to give them roughly equal space for a balanced argument.)

5) Both P.B. Shelley’s “To a Skylark” and John Keats’ “Ode to a Nightingale” are not simply poems addressed to two birds, but refer to their song in order to speak about an extra-ordinary experience. What are the real topics of these two odes, and what can they tell us about these two poets’ view of poetry? (If you choose this question, use the document on “Writing Comparative Papers” in the “Writing Guidelines and Grading Criteria” folder for guidance on how to best write a comparative paper and develop an argument that covers two texts.)


Outside sources

Your outside sources need to be scholarly sources, i.e. articles from a peer-reviewed academic journal or an otherwise trustworthy source. An essay on or one of the many online study aid websites is not an appropriate source for an academic paper and is quite likely misleading, inaccurate, and ill-informed. Choose your company wisely.
I have posted some scholarly articles you can use on our course e-reserve page, and you have access via the John Jay library to three Cambridge Companions that may be helpful to you: The Cambridge Companion to the Brontës (PR 4168 .C29 2002, available electronically online and physically in the library’s reference section), The Cambridge Companion to Keats (PR 4437.C27 2001, available electronically online and physically in the library’s reference section), and The Cambridge Companion to Shelley (PR 5438.C36 2006, only available in the library’s reference section). You can easily find articles using the databases of JSTOR, Project Muse, and Academic Search Complete, to which you have access through the John Jay library site (now all conveniently brought together with other available databases through OneSearch). If you have questions about scholarly research, appropriate sources, or problems finding materials, please let me know.For more information on The Cambridge Companion check on this:

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