Unit 3: Heroic/Villainous Journeys

Unit 3: Heroic/Villainous Journeys

Guidelines:  This assignment has three major components that work together as you write an argumentative essay on some aspect of heroes, villains, heroics, villainy, and/or the heroic journey.

You may write an inductive or deductive argument, using whatever argumentative approach best suits your topic and stance.

Below are some topic options you have for this essay:

1. Take a person typically thought of as a villain or hero, and argue the opposite–what heroic qualities do this villainous person possess?  How do they manifest?  How do characteristics of villainy manifest in heroes?  You will need to offer a definition of a hero prior to developing your argument here.

0. History is full of stories of heroes who worked for the greater good of society and had a profound, positive impact on the time period in which they lived. However, history is also the story of duplicable villains whose acts of greed and corruption left scars in time that may still be healing today. Sometimes, the distinction between heroes and villains is clear. Martin Luther King Jr, for example, is universally accepted as a force for good because of his brave work to bring equality to a society plagued by the disease of racism and bigotry. Adolf Hitler, on the other hand, is readily recognized as the very embodiment of hatred and evil in its most extreme form. Still other times, the line between good and evil can be blurry. This topic asks you to consider a historical figure and develop your own opinion of this person based on carefully guided research. Note that choosing a figure like King or Hitler will not work, as they are universally accepted as Hero and Villain.  Instead, choose a person that history has not made it mind up about or someone you have great interest in or seem to understand. With history as your guide, you will judge your figure and come to the determination: Is this person a hero or a villain?

0. Identify a hero from a text (a novel, short story, poem, comic book, graphic novel, film, etc.) and analyze his/her hero’s journey based on Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth. You can analyze how a character fits into the heroic archetype AND note ways in which he or she does not fit. Discussing the character critically is more important than forcing your character’s journey into the Monomyth perfectly.

0. Using news and current events, define the contemporary hero/villain.  What qualities must a contemporary hero/villain have?  How do these qualities manifest?  What news and current events demonstrate these contemporary heroes/villains?

0. Using works of fiction (i.e. movies, books, etc.), define the contemporary hero/villain.  What qualities must a contemporary hero/villain have?  How do these qualities manifest in the text(s)?  

0. Using news/current events AND fiction, demonstrate the similarities and/or differences in the heroic/villainous ideal as presented in these sources.

0. Treat the progression of the hero/villain over time.  How has the hero/villain figure changed over time?  Use either real-life events and/or text/characters to demonstrate this change.

0. What kinds of heroes/villains are found in any one given text?

These, of course, are just a few of the possibilities open to you.  If you think of another route you’d like to take in this essay, please let me know.

Onto the particulars of the formal assignment:

Part 1: Essay

Your intended readers are intellectual (college-educated) people with an interest in heroes/villains or your specific topic.

Inductive or Deductive Reasoning; 1000-1300 words; Standard MLA format and documentation; Failure to meet page and/or formatting requirements will result in ten points EACH deducted from your essay grade.  Failure to include a works cited page will result in an instant 30 point deduction.

Use of four library/academically credible sources and third person POV is required.You must use at least FOUR academically credible sources in your essay, which should be documented in the text, and bibliographical citations for the sources should be listed on a Works Cited page at the end of your essay.  These sources can be any combination of primary and secondary. Since this is a scholarly research project, you must write in third person POV. There will be a 10 point deduction for each missing source AND for any first/second person pronouns.

Part 2: Research Presentation

Present the findings of your research in an in-class presentation of 4-5 minutes. A visual aid is required, but there is no limit upon what you can use to meet this requirement.

Grading: Research Presentation Rubric


· All direct quotations must have lead-ins and commentary to explain their importance to your claim.

· A thesis statement should not be an announcement of what you will do in the paper.

· Double-check the alignment of your sources before submitting.

· Use only third person POV. First and second person are okay only if they are used inside a direct quotation.

· Avoid LONG quotations. Audiences don’t read them. Better to summarize/paraphrase and document.

· If working in a group, all group members’ names should be in the heading and all last names should be in the header.

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