English 362                                                                                                                     Dr. Morillo
18th-Century Novel                                                                                                         2-2-09

First Paper Assignment
5 full pages-first page is a copy of your chosen passage, pages 2-5 are your interpretation
Due Monday, February 2, in class

For this paper you will be choosing the text and the specific topic yourself.  Select from either Oroonoko or Robinson Crusoe a brief passage of no more than 2 paragraphs in length. If your novel is not paragraphed in modern style, or has immensely long paragraphs, limit your selection to about 250 words of the novel’s text, keeping all sentences complete.  Select any passage you feel has special significance for what is within the passage itself and is pertinent to the whole novel.  To guide your choice, imagine having to teach the novel with just that one paragraph of it. Which passage might give your reader a strong example of what makes that novel interesting? complex? weird? successful writing? flawed writing?

To guide your reading, imagine reading this prose selection with the care often reserved for reading lyric poetry.  You will of course be interpreting the passage in light of your knowledge of the whole text, from which it is excerpted, but you will be expected to focus as particularly and carefully as possible on the specific words in the passage you pick.  You may look for significant elements of themes, plot, character, style, or combinations thereof.  You will need to avoid merely summarizing or paraphrasing the passage.

When you have chosen and read your passage carefully, construct a well-formed argument, with a clear main point, about the passage. It may well be that the original, chronological order of your passage is not the best order for your argument about it. Give your paper a title reflecting what your argument is about. What to argue about, and how to arrange your evidence and explanation of it, however, is up to you.  Give yourself time to draft and then revise the paper.

Feel free to discuss any proposed passage with me in person or via email.