the enlightenment and romanticism
For your first essay, you will write 4-5 pages responding to one of the following prompts, drawing on two texts we have read so far this semester (up through and including the reading for Feb. 18). Using your chosen two works as a starting point, come up with an interesting and specific argument in response to one of the following broad topics.
Rather than simply pointing out similarities or differences between your two chosen texts, you should make a strong argument about what these similarities or differences tell us. Your thesis should make an argument for an interpretation of the texts that would not be evident if you looked at them in isolation.
3. The Enlightenment and Romanticism
The Romantic movement represented a shift from Enlightenment thinking. Choose one Enlightenment author (Kant or Wollstonecraft) and one Romantic poet (Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, or de Castro) and compare their views on knowledge. What is the source of knowledge or enlightenment? What is the role of reason? How can we gain knowledge or become enlightened? Do the two authors value the same things? Are Enlightenment ideals in conflict with Romantic ones?
Your essay should be 4-5 typed, double-spaced full pages in 12 pt. Times New Roman font, with standard MLA formatting including heading, margins, in-text citations, and works cited page.
Requirements of the Essay
1. Choose texts by two of the following authors to use as evidence to support the major claim in your essay: Kant, Wollstonecraft, Saikaku, Sor Juana, Swift, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, or de Castro. (If you choose a poet, you may choose to write about more than one of their poems).
2. Develop a specific and original title (i.e. not Comparative Essay or Coleridge v. Keats)
3. Have a strong, narrow focus and a good thesis. A good thesis for this assignment is an argument, based on the literature youre writing about, that is not too obvious or immediately true to every reader. Its your interpretation; its something interesting and provocative that you can substantiate using evidence from your chosen texts.
4. Use evidence from the works you choose (via quotations and/or paraphrases). Use this evidence to support your argument, but not to stand in for it. Analyze and explain the relevance of the quotations you use. Dont expect your readers to understand the meaning of your quotes or appreciate their value to your argument.
5. Develop a conclusion that synthesizes your ideas, rather than simply summarizing your essay or re-stating your thesis and introduction. Your conclusion should help your reader understand the significance of your argument and the evidence you presented.
6. Cite your sources using MLA in-text citation method, as evidence to support your claims. Include a works cited page.
What to do in a comparative essay
The challenge here is to make an argument that adds to our understanding of the texts. If you merely compose a catalogue of differences or similarities, it will not be an effective analytical essayregardless of how interesting those differences and similarities may be. You need to isolate a correspondence or conflict about which you can make a meaningful argument, and your point should pertain directly to the texts themselves.
Typically, in comparison/contrast studies, you will want to argue that there is a striking similarity between things that seem on the surface very different; or you want to show some startling contrast or difference between two representations that seem, on the surface, very similar. A third strategy is to look at one work through the lens of the other. In this situation you will focus on an analysis of one text but will use terms, ideas, structures, or the like from a second text as a lens to look, in a new way, at the first text.
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