Literature Essay

Instructions: Write a three to four page essay on ONE of the below topics. This assignment must include quotations from at least TWO of the assigned readings to support your ideas. In addition, you must use TWO outside, scholarly sources in this essay. Please also use in-text citations and complete a works cited page, according to MLA guidelines

Option One: The Enlightenment emphasized humanity’s ability to understand the universe. Did the readings during week two show a similar faith in human reason?  Using the readings from this course, describe ways in which ideas of the Enlightenment affected the literature from week two. You may focus on how the literature from week two illustrates a reaction against the Enlightenment.

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Option Two: The lessons reflect upon how the ideas of certain philosophers influenced literary works produced during the Enlightenment and Modern literary periods.  Choose one philosopher discussed in the lessons (Voltaire, Locke, Rousseau, Nietzsche, or Freud) and show how your chosen philosopher’s theories influenced the literature of either the Enlightenment or Modern era.  You are not required to cite the original work from the philosopher. Rather, for this essay, you may consult sources that explain your chosen philosopher’s theories.

Option Three: The authors during weeks one and two illustrated issues seen in their particular societies. Although the presentation of these issues may vary, the issues themselves were quite similar.  Focus on one societal issue (unjust war, disparity of wealth, isolation, etc.), and discuss how the authors we have read in this course so far have illustrated this issue.  Be sure to reflect upon how the style of the author (satirical, realistic, minimalist) serves to highlight your chosen societal issue.

Please remember the following:

  1. Avoid any and all summary sites within your essay.  This includes Sparknotes, Shmoop, Cliff’s Notes, and Wikipedia.
  2. Use MLA format and citations in this essay. Also, please write this essay using third person.
  3. You may not use any wording from previous essays or forums.
  4. Note that the works cited page and headings are not included in the page count. Please use one-inch margins, double-spaced, and please do not add extra spaces between paragraphs. Use 12 font Times New Roman. 
  5. Scholarly sources generally come from academic journals and have been examined by experts in the field for accuracy.  Generally, you will find these in the APUS databases.  
  6. Make sure your essay has a clear introduction and thesis statement (topic plus point about that topic) at the bottom of your introduction.  The thesis should be based on the readings in this course.
  7. Make sure your body paragraphs are focused on proving your thesis statement. Do not summarize the readings. Instead, use the readings to support your own original ideas.
  8. Be sure that your thesis expresses an analytical thought and is not just a statement of simple fact or plot summary.
  9. Make sure to have a conclusion that does not bring in new information. That said, you want to move beyond simply repeating your thesis. In the conclusion, explain what we have learned. Conclude.

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