Writing in the Humanities
Approx. 1000 words; MLA style
Purpose: This assignment is designed to prepare you to write interpretive papers in your general education classes and major course work. You will encounter these types of assignments in humanities courses such as Art History, Philosophy, Film Studies, and English. Comparison and contrast assignments are common across all of the disciplines.
Skills: This assignment will require you to meet many of the learning outcomes for English 101. You will need to quote excerpts from a text, draft and revise, use analysis, and write well.
Knowledge: This assignment will also give you an opportunity to demonstrate that you can comprehend readings in the humanities and that you can interpret them.
Task: Write a literary analysis essay that compares and contrasts one aspect of Fences and Prometheus Bound.
You might focus on answering one of the following questions:
· To what extent do both Fences and Prometheus Bound meet Aristotle’s definition of a tragedy, and why does it matter?
· Compare and contrast how both Fences and Prometheus Bound treat a specific subject. In other words, what does each play have to say about the subject and why does it matter? You might consider one of the following subjects:
· Pride, or arrogance
· Compare and contrast the endings of Fences and Prometheus Bound and explain why the differences matter.
· Compare and contrast the extent to which Troy and Prometheus have control of their own lives and the extent to which they are controlled by forces beyond themselves (I.e., societal forces, devine forces). Explain why the distinction matters.
· Compare and contrast the way a minor character in each play functions. For example, you might compare the Chorus with Bono. Your analysis should reveal similarities and differences and explain why they matter.
· Finally, you might develop your own question that you wish to answer. If you choose your own path, run it by me before you get started.
Remember that the purpose of using comparison and contrast in academic writing is to explain that the differences and similarities tell us something important about the two plays that we would not see if we studied one alone. Your essay might offer a fresh insight, bring clarity to one play by comparing and contrasting it to the other, or extend and elaborate upon ideas that we have touched on in class.
Your paper should contain all of the following:
· An introduction that uses a hook, introduces the plays that will be analyzed, and ends with a thesis statement that clearly states your claim about the two plays and why that claim matters.
· Three or more body paragraphs that both compare and contrast one specific aspect of the two plays. Make sure you have both “surface” and “depth,” or summary and critical analysis. Quote from the two plays and use the quotes as evidence that you discuss to make your points.
· A conclusion that reiterates your main idea, adds something new, and bookends your hook.
· A reference page
Criteria: You will be graded on the effectiveness of each section of your essay. See the rubric for an explanation of the expectations. Use the sample essay and our class discussions as guides.
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