First Paper Assignment
5 full pages-first page is a copy of your chosen passage, pages 2-5 are
Due Monday, February 2, in class
For this paper you will be choosing the text and
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
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
lyric poetry. You will of course be
interpreting the passage in light of your knowledge of the whole text,
which it is excerpted, but you will be expected to focus as
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
construct a well-formed argument, with a clear main point, about the
It may well be that the original, chronological order of your passage
the best order for your argument about it. Give your paper a title
what your argument is about. What to argue about, and how to arrange
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
or via email.