English 262: Beyond Britain
First Paper Assignment. Due at the start of class, printed out on paper, Wednesday February 15
Letter Graded. Worth 15 % of final grade
Length: At least 4 and no more than 6 pages.
Choose One of these Paper Topics
You are to pick one of these questions and write a well-organized essay about it. Your paper will be at least 4 full pages and no more than 6 full pages, typed/computer-printed double-spaced, with standard margins (top & bottom=1” sides=1.25”).
Explain, by using whatever evidence in the story you find most persuasive, how Behn consistently represents Oroonoko as always internally divided, torn between differing and often conflicting peoples, races, genders, and cultural values. Does this repeated pattern of divisions in the story help to explain the peculiarly grisly and vivid detail in Behn’s depiction of Oroonoko’s death?
Near the end of Gulliver’s Travels, Gulliver offers this vivid description of colonization in action:
But I had another reason which made me less forward to enlarge His Majesty’s dominions by my discoveries. To say the truth, I had conceived a few scruples with relation to the distributive justice of princes upon those occasions. For instance, a crew of pirates are driven by a storm they know not whither; at length a boy discovers land from the topmast; they go on shore to rob and plunder; they see a harmless people, are entertained with kindness; they give the country a new name; they take formal possession of it for their king; they set up a rotten plank or a stone for a memorial; they murder two or three dozen of the natives, bring away a couple more by force for a sample; return home, and get their pardon. Here commences a new dominion acquired with a title by divine right. Ships are sent with the first opportunity; the natives driven out or destroyed; their princes tortured to discover their gold; a free license given to all acts of inhumanity and lust, the earth reeking with the blood of its inhabitants. And this execrable crew of butchers, employed in so pious an expedition, is a modern colony, sent to convert and civilize an idolatrous and barbarous people! (Swift 172 in Broadview, my emphasis)
In this book evidently engaged with the idea of exploration and discovery of new lands and peoples, does Gulliver himself represent the modern colonizer? Is he more like those who are colonized by others? Is he both? Choose whatever you think makes the best evidence from any of the 4 voyages to make your case.
You don’t need to cite any other sources for this paper, but if you do please cite them using MLA 8 form
For a better paper:
--be sure to answer the question
--take the time to rewrite: this is the single most effective way to move from a paper that tells me what you are thinking while you are first thinking it (a draft) to a paper that presents what you've concluded after thinking about the book ( a revised paper). For example, the best introductions are usually composed by advanced writers after they have written the body of their argument. This is impossible to do without sufficient time to revise and rewrite.
--when you come up with your thesis statement be sure it makes a claim that someone could possibly disagree with
--be sure to get a complete statement of the thesis of the paper at the end of the introduction, not the end of the paper
--if your thesis explores several different issues or ideas, be sure to consider how those issues are themselves related
--don't assume that a chronological order for your essay that mirrors the chronology of the work you are writing about is the best or only possible oder for your argument about it
--don't just use the title of you write about as your title; give your essay a title based on your own argument, and try to put key words from your thesis in it
--be sure to proof with your eyes, not just your spell-checker
--have someone else read a draft before you rewrite it
--if you quote from other sources, the longer your direct quotations from any text the more obliged you are to discuss in detail what you quote
--if you summarize be sue that there's a point to what you choose to recap. I know the texts well enough that mere plot summary is unnecessary and takes away from time you could spend developing your own thesis
--avoid any generalizations you cannot support