In this paper, you will be asked to make an argument about one of the novels we have read in class using evidence from BOTH the novel itself AND a secondary scholarly piece related to it. You may choose from either prompt option and you may choose to agree or disagree with the secondary article—choose the pair of texts about which you think you can make the strongest and most interesting argument for your own analysis. This time, you WILL need to use proper citations for both sources based on MLA formatting guidelines. Your paper should be 3-4 pages in length, double-spaced 12pt Times New Roman Font, 1-inch margins on all sides, and include a Works Cited (not part of the total page count). *** OPTION ONE: Reading in Northanger Abbey Much of Catherine Morland’s character motivation—as well as the conflicts she faces in the plot of the novel—arise from her avid reading in the gothic genre. In Jane Austen in Context, Alan Richardson describes the issues around women’s reading and literacy which play a large role in Northanger Abbey. Throughout the novel, several characters and the narrator themselves make arguments about whether reading novels is a good or a bad thing for a young woman. Based on your analysis of the text, do you think that reading is ultimately justified as a worthy pastime, or demonstrated to be detrimental? If you believe Jane Austen makes her case successfully in favor of reading (as she claims to have intended) use evidence from the novel as well as Richardson’s article to explain how she does this. If you believe that she is unsuccessful in defending women’s reading practices, use evidence from the novel as well as Richardson’s article to explain your reasoning for why her project didn’t work for you as a reader. (It’s important to note that for this option, you will be arguing that the author’s intended conclusion failed to convince you, and to address why her efforts and Richardson’s explanations fell short of the mark). Your paper should include AT LEAST two quotes from both the novel and Richardson’s chapter in support of your argument. OPTION TWO: Female Power in We Have Always Lived in the Castle The most central relationship in Shirley Jackson’s novel We Have Always Lived in the Castle is between the sisters Constance and Merricat Blackwood. In her article “The Establishment and Preservation of Female Power in Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle,” Lynette Carpenter argues that the centralizing of this relationship works to defy patriarchal structures of power for both sisters. Based on your analysis of the text, do you believe that Constance Blackwood’s character is ultimately freed of the expectations placed on a woman in the mid twentieth century? Your paper should address the following questions: how is power distributed between the sisters? Does Constance have agency in how she lives? Is her position different in the end of the text than it would have been if she had married Charles Blackwood and rejoined the structures and strictures of organized society? If she is living in a way that you would argue does not fit traditional gender roles, why not? If you would argue that she is still performing the roles assigned to a woman under the patriarchal structures of mid-century society, how so? Your paper should include AT LEAST two quotes from the novel, as well as two quotes from Carpenter’s article to support your conclusion. I’ll be grading your work in this class holistically—meaning there aren’t specific points assigned to each of these categories, but rather I’ll be looking overall at how well you do with expressing your ideas both in the form and content of your work. Basically what this means is you won’t lose X amount of points because you misspelled a word or dropped a comma, but I’ll be looking at if you are successful in communicating your argument, and if your argument is interesting and supported by strong evidence.What I’ll be looking for: Completeness: Your work should address all parts of the prompt/question, fall within the required length, and follow directions regarding quotations.Comprehension: Your work should demonstrate familiarity the text and our class discussions about it where applicable. Independent Observation: Your work should be based on your own independent observations and ideas about what the text is doing, and demonstrate that you’ve formed your own insight about what is going on in it beyond a surface level summary of plot/content.Argument: Your work should not be based on summary, but focus on an argumentative analysis and interpretation of the text. Above all I should be able to identify what you are claiming about how one could read the assigned text. Evidence: Your work should be supported with evidence from the text in the form of quotations. This basically means “show your work.” Where are you getting your interpretation, and can you convince me that your argument is valid?Writing effectiveness and clarity: This is where sentence level writing comes into play. Your work should be clear, organized, have a scholarly tone, and be as free of mistakes as possible. Grammar and spelling aren’t the end of the world, BUT consistent poor writing will ultimately distract your reader and detract from your ability to convince me of your argument. Ultimately, it’s got to be understandable and readable! Don’t just drop a quote into your argument expecting it to be self-explanatory, explain why it supports your reading. Quotes should be framed by your own analysis, not used as standalone sentences. You should apply a 1:3 ratio—for each quote you use, it should have about three sentences discussing/explaining why you think it’s significant. Grade of 90-100 (A- to A+): satisfies all criteria and is persuasive, well written, and well-reasoned, while merging your own style/voice WITH a scholarly tone; impeccable grammar and varied sentence structure, etc. Grade of 80-89 (B- to B+): satisfies most criteria but may contain logical gaps and/or incomplete analysis of quotes; tone is mostly scholarly with few grammar and writing convention errors Grade of 70-79 (C- to C+): satisfies some criteria, but is missing evidence (not enough quotes, depending on the assignment parameters), fails to resolve logical gaps, is inappropriate in tone, and suffers from consistent grammar and writing convention errors Grade of 78 or below (D+ to F): incomplete assignment that doesn’t answer the question(s) or use any evidence; poor construction re: grammar, organization, flow, etc.
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