For the first paper, compose a 4-5 (though not much longer than 5 at most; ) page analysis (approx. 1000 words) of one (or two) of the works we’ve read in class. You may focus on any literary aspect of the work, but you might consider how the poem develops a particular theme from the source material (i.e., the original myth) or how the author uses imagery, metaphor, and other devices to develop a concept, perspective, or scene. For example, you might discuss how Louise Gluck’s “A Myth of Devotion” complicates the Persephone myth by telling it from Hades’s perspective. Alternatively, you may compare two (or more, though keep in mind that the paper is a short one) poems and the way that they engage the same myth. For example, how do the portrayals of Prometheus in Byron’s and Shelley’s works differ from that in Marin Sorescu’s “Prometheus”? How does Margaret Atwood’s retelling of the Orpheus-Eurydice myth complicate the original narrative’s portrayal of women?
As a reminder, the main myths (and their modern adaptations) we have covered are:
-Orpheus & Eurydice
-Hades & Persephone
nekyia in Homer’s
Odyssey and the
katabasis in Vergil’s
Whichever text you choose for your analysis, be sure to establish a position (thesis) for your interpretation and address specific lines to support your claims, citing them appropriately in MLA 9th edition format. Be sure your paper is in MS Word, 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced following professional standards of academic grammar, etc.
Also, for this paper, do not draw upon outside sources; you may use our discussions and your responses as a foundation for developing your argument but avoid including biographical or historical information about the poet(s) or interpretations by others (scholars or otherwise). What’s most important is that you engage the works that affected you most profoundly and tease out the broader implications through a close reading of the language itself. Of course, as always make sure your writing (and the thoughts behind it) is your own;
no credit will be given in cases where excessive plagiarism is evident and papers flagged for use of AI will be returned ungraded.
Remember, even though everyone will have a revision opportunity, treat this as a final draft. Lastly, be sure to follow MLA formatting and style throughout and cite any quoted lines
(a link to the guide can be found here: MLA Formatting and Style Guide – Purdue OWL® – Purdue University).Links to an external site.
The same rubric from the final paper will apply here: 1/3 formatting, 1/3 content, 1/3 stylistics