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Synthesis Paper – ENG 2060, Great Books
Format: each paper must have a title; pages must be numbered (first page excepted); secondary sources are not required, but if any are used they must be documented (with a works cited and parenthetical documentation, MLA style). Try to keep in the present tense when you are discussing a literary work, past tense when you are referring to a historical or biographical event. Make sure you use quotations from the relevant texts to support your points. Please download your final drafts on AsULearn.
Instructions:
Your paper must focus on texts from our reading list (you can also include other materials). Select one of the themes listed below and two or three of the texts assigned in this course. Then write a paper 3 pages single spaced in which you explain how each of the two or three texts—they must be by at least two authors—explores the selected theme, comparing and contrasting the authors’ approaches. For example, if you chose the doppelgänger/double theme, you might select Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Edgar Allan Poe’s “William Wilson,” and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or “Markheim” (or just two of these texts). In your introduction, you could explain in general terms the literary significances of doppelgängers or doubles (e.g., what they can symbolize or their psychological implications) and then explain how each text develops this theme in similar and/or different ways. Then, in your conclusion, you could identify overall thematic patterns and key innovations made by each author. When discussing texts published during different eras, you might also consult secondary sources and provide some historical context (e.g., the influence of Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theories on the depiction of Mr. Hyde or on The Island of Doctor Moreau; the influence of the New Woman stereotype on the female vampires in Dracula). This historical approach is, however, optional. Here is the list of themes from which you may choose:
1) the doppelgänger or double
2) the monster (could be moral and/or physical monsters)
3) the femme fatale (Beatrice Rappaccini, Ligeia, Carmilla, the three female vampires in Dracula, and the vampirized Lucy Westenra can be viewed as femmes fatales)
4) the figure of the Gothic scientist (Aylmer, Rappaccini, Baglioni, Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll, Dr. Moreau, Van Helsing, Dr. Seward)
5) the Gothic villain
6) the Gothic heroine
7) portrayals of mental illness (the narrator of “Ligeia,” Roderick Usher, William Wilson, the narrator of “The Tell-Tale Heart,” Renfield in Dracula, Eleanor Vance in The Haunting of Hill House)
8) the supernatural
9) Gothic buildings
10) vampires.