Description Background: As you read the novel, you will encounter a wealth of contextual details in Editor Judith Raiskin’s footnotes. These notes cover a variety of topics, such as historical background, intertextual references*, language and culture, autobiographical connections, and more. For this project, choose a single topic, do some additional research, and write a thesis-driven essay. Your Task: Use the library database (Links to an external site.) to find at least one other source to add to your understanding of the topic. These can be other articles about the novel, the author, the setting, the time period, the culture, the history, the language, or any of the embedded texts (intertextual references), etc. Create an argument of your own on your chosen topic, using the book, the endnotes, and the additional research you’ve done. Suggestion for writing: Please don’t feel the need to use the same highly academic voice that the “experts” use! I’m assuming it was a challenge getting through any literary criticism you may have read and I tend to find that style very off-putting. Why can’t they write in plain English so we can better and more easily appreciate their insight? Because they are writing to impress other English geeks! This is not a concern we share with them. We are writing for ourselves and our classmates. Plain English is best. Here is a Sample Essay from a former studentPreview the document that can give you a sense of how this might look. This student chose to use more than one source, which is not at all necessary, but note that a couple of the sources are literary analyses of the book and one addresses the generic topic: hysteria. I recommend just finding one or the other to keep your research process to a minimum since we have such a short time to do this work. Some especially helpful databases for literary analyses, language, or intertextual references are JSTOR (Links to an external site.), OED (Links to an external site.), or Gale Literature Resources. (Links to an external site.) If you choose to look at cultural/political/historical background you may want to look at a more traditional database, like EBSCOHost (Links to an external site.) or ProQuest (Links to an external site.) where you can type in your topic (such as “Obeah” or “British rule” or “marriage laws”) and “Jamaica” or “British Colonies” or whatever. Requirements: 5-7 pages MLA Format: Times New Roman, 12pt font, Double-spaced Minimum of one outside source Original Title In-text citations and Works Cited Evaluation criteria: An introduction that provides background information on your topic A clearly stated thesis Sufficient and relevant evidence from the play Well-organized paragraphs Careful analysis of evidence Mechanics (sentence boundaries, spelling, grammar) MLA citations (cite as if you had a copy of the book) *Intertextual references: when another text is embedded into the story, such as Shakespeare, the Bible, poetry, etc. The author’s intent is to draw parallels between the two stories, as a way to reinforce (or destabilize!) the theme(s) of one or the other text. Intertextual references open up a portal between authors, characters, time periods, cultures, and ideas, but it is almost always left up to the reader to do all the work of recognizing, analyzing, and understanding the connection.
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