Rip Van Winkle from Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle”

Length: 2 pages (plus additional Works Cited page)
Sources: Use 1 primary source
Documentation: Correct MLA documentation is expected, including in-text citations and a Works Cited page. If you include any source material without giving proper credit, you risk either earning a zero on the assignment or an F as your final grade in the course.
Purpose: To analyze a significant primary text as a form of cultural and creative expression; to explain the ways in which the text reflects the culture and values of its time and place; to frame a comparative context to critically assess the ideas, forces, and values that shape texts; to develop an interpretation of a literary text, support the interpretation with textual evidence, and cite the source material; to use MLA documentation and formatting; to practice the process of writing; to practice essay organization and editing skills.

Assignment: Create a character analysis essay built on close readings of one text from Module 1. You will focus on one specific aspect of the characterization and provide support from the text. Remember that characterization may be revealed through the character’s own thoughts, speech, and actions; through another character’s speech, thoughts, or actions toward that character; through the narration. You may also wish to reference other elements of fiction if they help you analyze that aspect of the character.

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Choose a specific topic from the list below or create your own topic with my approval. Your unique topic must be approved by the instructor before you begin to write. If you write on an unapproved topic, you will not earn credit. (Note: you only need to choose ONE of these topics for your paper; you do not need to select one topic from the sympathetic/unsympathetic section and one from the static/dynamic.)

Approved topics:
Choose one of these characters and discuss whether he or she is sympathetic or unsympathetic. Be sure to discuss how the author creates (or does not create) sympathy for the character.
Rip Van Winkle from Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle”
The protagonist from Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”
Paul from Lawrence’s “The Rocking-Horse Winner”
Choose one of these characters and discuss whether he or she is static or dynamic. Be sure to discuss how the character changes (or does not change) in specific ways over the course of the story.
Goodman Brown from Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown”
Peyton Farquhar from Bierce’s “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”
John from Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”
Hester from Lawrence’s “The Rocking-Horse Winner”
Expectations: You need to open with a strong introduction and a thesis statement that addresses the topic. You should support your position using 2-3 well-developed body paragraphs, and you must incorporate quotations, paraphrase, and/or summary from the story to support your points. You should end with a conclusion that briefly sums up your main ideas and connects your discussion of this character to the culture and values of its time and place. Use an academic voice with a third-person point of view (no “you” or “I” except within direct quotations), and use formal grammar and spelling. Your essay should follow MLA paper formatting and MLA documentation style.

I do not want:

Biography – you should not use background information on the author or text (from the Course Content or the textbook) within body paragraphs. Body paragraphs should provide evidence from the short story only. You may use background information on the author or text in the introduction or conclusion if it is directly relevant.
Plot summary – assume your reader is familiar with the text; avoid summarizing it or providing an overview; use only the relevant evidence to prove your thesis.
Large copied passages – quote sparingly; use ellipsis as necessary; avoid block quotations
Sources: You must use and cite the primary source; you should not use other sources.

A primary source is a text by the original author. You will use one short story from the Module 1 readings.
You should be able to complete these responses based upon your opinion and the assigned class readings. You should not use additional sources.
You may NOT list any sources on your Works Cited page that you do not use in your paper. Also, you may NOT use (through quotation, paraphrase, or summary) any sources that you do not cite in the text and on the Works Cited page – this is plagiarism and grounds for failing the assignment.

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