Department of French
CDN202H1F: ASPECTS OF QUEBEC CULTURE
Dr. Rosa Saverino
ESSAY 1 : TOPICS (20%)
DEADLINE: Monday, October 19th by 11:59 p.m (Toronto local time)
The essay is an individual assignment that requires students to expand their knowledge on
Quebec culture through independent research. Please choose one of the following four topics.
Please note that you may choose your own topic (please see topic 4) with the permission of your
As the CDN202 course will demonstrate throughout the semester, the concept of identity in
Quebec is complex and multifaceted. Our first contact with the notion of identity as a complex
social construction becomes apparent through our reading of Nicolas Dickner’s Nikolski. While
focusing on the theme of “identity”, please analyze at least one of the main characters in Nicolas
Dickners’ Nikolski in order to explain how Dickner’s construction of this character frames identity
as problematic and multidimensional. You may choose to analyze the author’s description and
development of this character (his or her name, personality, the important role that he or she
plays in the novel’s plot, the principal themes that surround this character, his or her interaction
with other characters, etc.), and how these different elements in character construction relate
to a broader concept of identity in Quebec. Your paper will share your thoughts and ideas on the
topic. You will justify your arguments with evidence from the novel and relevant supporting
evidence from research conducted on the topic.
One of the important themes depicted in Nikolski relates to the marginalized individual or
community in Canadian History. Using concrete examples from Nikolski, please prepare an
analysis on the theme of marginalization. In its treatment of your topic, your analysis will also
touch upon how your reading of the novel is relevant to the historical and/or social realities of
Quebec (past or present). Your paper will share your thoughts and ideas on the topic. You will
justify your arguments with evidence from the novel and relevant supporting evidence from
research conducted on the subject.
Prepare an analysis on the depiction of an important aspect of Quebec Culture and/or Identity in
Nicolas Dickner’s novel Nikolski. By drawing on (a) specific example(s) in the novel, as well as by
conducting research on Quebec, explain what strategies the author uses in his fictional narrative
in order to discuss or accentuate an important aspect of Quebec Culture or Identity. In other
words, what aspect of Quebec Culture/Identity does Dickner want to emphasize in his novel? Is
the author critiquing an aspect of Quebec culture? Or is the author simply voicing a concern?
Your paper will share your thoughts and ideas on the topic. You will support your analysis with
evidence from the novel and from research conducted on the topic.
Choose your own topic with the approval of your instructor. Topics must receive approval by the
course instructor by no later than October 5.
You will develop your topic based on your own personal reading and interpretation of Nicolas
Dickner’s Nikolski. Your paper will share your reflection and analysis on the novel and justify your
interpretation with relevant evidence from the novel and from research conducted on the topic.
You may use ideas that were introduced and developed during in-class lectures to help you
advance ideas in your essay. For your topic, be sure to use a variety of precise examples to
support your arguments. You will need to do some research on Quebec in order to be able to
provide an in-depth analysis of Dickner’s novel as it relates to aspects of Quebec culture. At least
two secondary sources should be used to conduct research for this paper.
***Do not forget to cite your sources! Regardless of the nature of the reference used to develop
your topic (an idea, an expression, a sentence fragment, an online document, etc.), please ensure
that you properly reference and document all borrowed material. Your bibliographical references
must be complete (author, title, editor of a volume, city, publisher, collection, year, pages, etc.)
DUE DATE: The essay is to be submitted no later than October 19th by 11:59 p.m (Toronto local
time). (Submission will take place through our Quercus course page in Portal)
***IMPORTANT***: A late penalty of 5% per day (non negotiable) will be applied to all late
assignments. All late assignments will be refused after ten days inclusive following the handin/required completion date.
PRESENTATION OF THE ESSAY:
• Your work should be typed, double-spaced, with one-inch margins.
• Please use Times New Roman, 12 pt. font.
• The length of the written portion of your work will be a minimum of 1000 words and no
more than 1250 words. Please respect the indicated length. Any assignments that do
not respect the length requested, will incur a penalty of 10% per page (10% per every
missing 250 words).
• You will also include a cover page with your full name and student number (1 page) and
a bibliography (1 page). (In addition to the 1000-word essay).
• You may use any format that you are familiar with for your bibliography (the most
commonly-used format in literature is MLA).
• Please include page numbers in your document.
If you need advice on formating your written work, please consult the following link (APA,
Chicago, MLA): https://spark.library.yorku.ca/wp-content/themes/glendonits-spark20151125/resources/Essay%20Formatting.pdf
If you need advice on how to structure quotations within your paper, please click on the
following link: https://spark.library.yorku.ca/essay-structure-quotations/
If you need advice on creating a bibliography, please see the following link:
INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE SUBMISSION OF THE ESSAY:
Submission of your Essay will take place online, through our course Quercus webpage.
In order to submit your analysis:
1. Log into our course webpage in Quercus (CDN202: Aspects of Quebec Culture)
2. Click on the “Assignments” column, in the left-hand margin.
3. Click on “Essay #1 [20%] October 19”, under the “Upcoming Assignments” heading.
4. Click on the “Submit Assignment” button, at the top of the page.
5. Select your file by clicking on “Choose file” (formats accepted: DOC or PDF)
6. Submit your document by clicking on “Submit Assignment” – Do not forget to fill out and
include your Academic Integrity Checklist to your written work!
EVALUATION OF THE ESSAY (TOTAL 100):
YOU WILL BE EVALUATED ON THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA:
A. CONTENT (AND CREATIVITY) (80):
1. Introduction: (Introduction of the subject and of the main ideas). The introduction is inviting,
states the main topic, and provides an overview of the Essay. Information is relevant and
presented in a logical order. (10 points)
2. Organization: (Essay instructions are followed; arguments are introduced properly; transitions
between ideas, structure of and transition between paragraphs). The essay is well-organized and
makes sense as a whole. (10 points)
3. Argumentation/Quality of the analysis: (Precision and clarity of the discussion; pertinence
and logical progression of the arguments and examples used; general cohesion of the text).
Demonstration of a detailed, thorough understanding of the topic argued. Arguments flow
logically. No conflicting arguments are presented. The essay answers the assigned question and
addresses the main topic stated in its thesis. (20 points)
4. Research and application of theorical knowledge: (Discussion pertinent to the topic/theme
chosen; research performed; the use of various and precise examples; relevant use and
development of theoretical concepts; citations do not disrupt the flow of ideas; references are
properly cited and integrated into the essay). (10 points)
5. Originality and interest raised: (Personal contribution; maturity of the response given; level of
reflection is innovative and engaging, while remaining pertinent to the topic). The writing is very
clear, and there is strong evidence of attention to audience. The author’s extensive knowledge
and/or experience with the topic is/are evident. The introduction of new arguments and
examples (not discussed in the readings or class). Ideas are presented in a unique, innovative
way. The author contributes his/her own viewpoints in a way that is innovative, fresh, and
exciting. (15 points)
6. Findings/Conclusions drawn: The conclusion is strong (a synthetic recapitulation of the various
steps that were taken in developing the arguments in the text; a strong final message). (10 points)
7. Documentation: (Research performed, pertinence of research, references provided).
Secondary sources (at least two) have been used to write the paper. The author clearly notes
where he/she refers to the work of other writers. Page numbers have been included to mark
where the author refers to works. Full endnotes or footnotes are used to mark where the author
refers to works other than his/her own. The author includes a bibliography listing all the
bibliographical information of books and/or other sources cited. (5 points)
B. EXPRESSION (20):
8. Grammar: All sentences are well constructed and have a varied structure and length. The
author makes no errors in grammar, mechanics, and/or spelling: (spelling; accents; punctuation;
vocabulary; syntax;style;sentence and paragraph structure: complete sentences, well structured
and cohesive; the logical sequence of sentences (and of paragraphs).
N.B : Plagiarism or cheating of any type will not be tolerated; all suspected incidents will incur a
zero grade and will be reported. The University of Toronto is governed by the Code of Behaviour
on Academic Matters. For more information please consult the following website:
EXPLANATION OF GRADES:
• An essay that receives a grade of 80% or more will meet the following criteria:
o Provides a strong organization of thoughts: a strong introduction, powerful
arguments, and a solid conclusion.
o shows clear evidence of wide and relevant reading and an engagement with the
o provides an in-depth analysis of the subject; offers critical insights
o develops a sophisticated and intelligent argument;
o shows rigorous use and a good understanding of relevant source materials,
achieving an appropriate balance between factual detail and key theoretical
o provides evidence of original thinking.
o very few to no grammar errors
• An essay that receives a grade of 70-79% will meet the following criteria:
o develops a focused, clear, and intelligent argument;
o shows evidence of relevant reading and an engagement with the conceptual
o shows a good understanding of relevant source materials, achieving an
appropriate balance between factual detail and key theoretical issues;
o may provide evidence of original thinking;
o less than a handful of grammar errors
• An essay that receives a grade of 60-69% will meet the following criteria:
o shows evidence of critical thinking;
o shows a good understanding of the major factual and/or theoretical issues, and
addresses the relevant literature on the topic;
o articulates a sustained train of logical thought;
o shows clear evidence of planning in the formulation of the written answer and
includes a judicious choice of sources and methodology;
o some grammar errors.
• An essay that receives a grade of 50-69% will meet the following criteria:
o shows some understanding of relevant major theoretical and/or factual issues;
o shows evidence of planning in the formulation of the written answer, makes
selective use of appropriate sources, and demonstrates some knowledge of the
o shows, at various points if not throughout the entire text, examples of a clear
train of thought or argument;
o presents basic models /diagrams, where appropriate;
o provides an appropriate conclusion to the textual argument(s);
o numerous grammar errors.
• An essay that receives a grade of 40-49% will meet the following criteria:
o shows some awareness and understanding of the factual and/or theoretical
issues, but demonstrates limited ability to develop these;
o provides clear evidence of misunderstandings;
o shows some, albeit limited, evidence of planning in the formulation of the
written answer, but also includes material or arguments which are irrelevant or
unrelated to the question;
o lacks the development of a clear or coherent response to the question, but
shows occasional knowledge or insight.
39% or less (Fail)
• A Fail will be awarded in cases which:
o do not answer the question or develop an argument;
o fail to demonstrate knowledge of the key issues or arguments;
o contain clear conceptual or factual errors or misunderstandings;
o are poorly organized and/or poorly written;
o contain grammar errors that deter from understanding the ideas presented.