The book HAS to be “Shelley’s Poetry and Prose.” Norton Critical Edition, 2nd ed., edited by Donald Reiman (W.W. Norton and Company; New York). Select a theme or image that recurs in two of Shelley’s poems. Analyze both the continuities and discrepancies in how the theme or image functions in the different poems. As you develop your analysis, consider the ways in which the meaning of that theme or image is affected by the poem’s particular concerns.
1. The paper should be 4-5 double-spaced pages in length, typed or word-processed, in 12-point font, with 1″ margins. The paper should use correct spelling, grammar, and sentence structure. You are welcome to use “I” at times when writing (e.g. “I argue that…”). However, please use language appropriate for academic writing; poor grammar and use of “text-speak” (such as abbreviated words, or using numbers for words) will result in point deductions.
2. All papers should include the following (and these are the five criteria on which you will be graded):
• A thesis statement: A thesis statement is an original, clear, focused, arguable claim. This should be in the opening paragraph, and should provide a clear and forceful focus for your paper in one or two sentences. It should narrow the field of your discussion from a broad topic to a specific aspect of that topic. It should provide the reader with a sense of where your paper will go, and should do so in the form of an argument. The thesis is arguably the most important aspect of your paper; without a strong thesis, the other parts of your paper will suffer. Remember: a thesis statement is not a question, a list, an opinion, or a fact; rather, the thesis answers the question, “So what?” Strive for originality in your thesis: rather than writing about something that is readily apparent when reading the text, try to delve beneath the surface and get creative with your argument. I strongly recommend turning in a thesis statement to me (via email or in person) before you start writing your paper so that I can offer you feedback.
• Analysis: this is how you will prove your thesis statement — by analyzing the text that you are writing about. The easiest way to come up with a structure for your paper is to ask yourself, “How can I prove what I am arguing in my opening paragraph?” You should also avoid plot summary and focus solely on analysis; only cite plot events briefly when you need to make a point clear. You have five full pages for this paper, and I suggest you use that space to develop your argument at length. Often, I find that papers have good thesis statements, but the analyses do not do them justice because they are short and/or underdeveloped. Expand and explore your ideas in the space that you have.
• Evidence: Make sure that each part of your argument – in each paragraph – has evidence (examples and quotes) from the text to support your claims. When choosing a quotation from a
text, ensure that it is the best piece of evidence to support the point you are making. If it is not, or if you have to stretch to make it fit your argument, find another quotation. Also, a good rule of thumb in balancing analysis with evidence: when you use a quote, you should provide analysis that is af least twice as long as the quote itself. The citation on its own does not prove anything; you have to show how the citation supports your argument.
There is no need to provide a works cited page, since you should not use any outside sources for this paper. When quoting fewer than four lines from a poem, use a backslash to indicated line breaks and provide the line number(s) in parentheses at the end of the quotation. When quoting four or more lines, separate the citation from your text, and keep the formatting of the lines, including the punctuation of the end of the final line. See the MLA Handbook for further specifications. When citing a secondary source in the book, provide the page number in parentheses.
Ex. 1 Shelley plays with the harsh sound of the voiced dental plosive “d” first, as he shifts it from secondary emphasis in “olc/, mac/, blinc/” to primary emphasis in “c/espised and crying” and in “c/regs of their dull race” and, then, as he mires it mud: “An old, mad, blind, despised and dying King; / Princes, the dregs of their
dull race, who flow / Through public scorn, mud from a muddy spring” (1-3).
The shift and doubling of the “d” at the end of “mucf to the middle of “muc/c/y” emphasizes …
• Organization: Your paper should have a logical flow to it, complete with smooth transitions. Your opening paragraph should set up your paper in a clear and specific manner. For example, you can do this by foreshadowing the structure of the paper- i.e. specifying what parts of the text you will look at, and by briefly setting up the one or two main points of your thesis. Your thesis statement should be at the end of your opening paragraph. After that, the topic sentence (i.e. the first sentence) of each body paragraph should be a mini- or sub-thesis that links directly back to your thesis statement. It therefore defines the stakes of the paragraph itself and identifies the significance of the paragraph in relation to your thesis statement. You should use the conclusion to re-state your thesis (in slightly different terms, so as not to be repetitive) and, ideally, to move beyond your initial claims a bit to convey a larger point about the significance or meaning of your argument.
• Style: This refers to your use of language: grammar, mechanics, spelling, and diction all contribute to the style of your paper.
4. Please review the plagiarism policy on the course syllabus. If I find that you have plagiarized
(through direct quotation or paraphrasing) any part of this paper, you will receive a zero on the
assignment, with no possibility of making it up.
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