Length: 3 full pages double-spaced computer printed or typed; standard
margins: top and bottom = 1 inch
right and left = 1.25 inches
Points: 5% of your final grade; pass/fail. turn it in on time and you pass
Due date: Tuesday, August 24, at the start of class
In order to later measure how your ability to interpret literature
and think critically changes, I need an initial writing sample showing
me how well you can read and argue already. Consequently you have
to write this short paper under somewhat challenging circumstances,
before I have taught you anything in particular about poems, this poem,
or how to argue about literature. Although you will not be letter
graded on it, it does count toward your final grade and you should do
as well as you can on it, because you do not want me to be starting
with a sample of your work that is significantly worse than what you
can actually do.
Get your copy of the text for this class. Read Byron's "She Walks in Beauty," and then
write an interpretation of the importance of just one word, "aspect,"
to Byron's whole poem. Look up the meanings of that word and
explain in your 3-page essay which meanings are most relevant to
understanding and appreciating the whole poem. Structure the paper
however you see fit.
Your paper should be an argument not a plot summary or a paraphrase of the poem. It needs to propose a thesis and then support the claims of that thesis with appropriate evidence from the poem. Since the words in any poem are usually the most concrete and compelling evidence to use, be sure to look up any words you don't know in the Oxford English Dictionary online. See syllabus for how to access that superior dictionary.
Return to English 251Q Syllabus