“Two Books Walk Into A Bar …”
Assignment: Imagine that all of the readings we’ve done thus far are people whom you’ve invited to a party. As the host, your job is to spark some lively conversations. In this essay, your assignment is to introduce two readings that you think have something to say to each other and to foster a meaningful conversation. Maybe both of these texts are interested in war, womanhood, race, America, reality, but each has a different vision of it. In your essay, I want you to imagine what that conversation would look like and make an argument for why it matters.
The Basics: 6-8 pages, double-spaced, due October 25 (Sunday) 11:59pm. No need for outside sources.You can pick any two readings you want, so long as you haven’t written your first essay on either.
1. Focus on the Text: Same as Paper One. Use lots of quotes, though use them effectively (don’t try to fill up your page-requirement with block quotes).
2. Analyze, don’t summarize: don’t rehash the plot of a text – we’ve already read it. Instead, tell us how and why a text unfolds in a certain way.
3. Don’t list every difference: Each author has dozens of differences. Don’t just list them all. Focus on what you think the most important differences are.
4. Compare any two texts you want, so long as they make for a good comparison and you’re not comparing apples and oranges. E.g. I’m not sure how useful it would be to compare, say, Henry James and Frederick Douglass — they’re doing totally different things.
5. Give equal time to both authors.
• Focus on the text: Does this essay stay focused on the text itself, or does it float away into tangential arguments and personal reflections? Does the author back up their argument with some well-chosen quotes? Does the author dig into those quotes deeply or throw them into the essay superficially?
• Historical context: Does this essay consider the ways in which this text is shaped by and responds to the historical moment in which it arose?
• Clear writing: Is the essay’s prose clear? Is it pocked by grammatical mistakes? Are its sentences long and confusing? Is its argument made fuzzier through imprecise word choice? Is there an organized argument reflected in the essay’s organization (both at the level of individual paragraphs and the essay’s bigger “parts”)? Also: does it have a creative title?
• Argument: Does the author stay focused on and adequately develop a central argument, or do they wander among scattered observations that never add up to a single judgement? Is their argument made with sound logic and textual/historical evidence?
• Stakes: Does the author convey their sense of why this topic matters/why they found it interesting?
What your topic is:
Chopin and Gilman discuss what it means to be a woman in America.
(using these two texts provided in the files.)
Please do not use another external source. just these two sources please.