Write a literary essay on Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee Subject: Choosing your literary essay topic and the approach you will take on Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee is the first step to writing the paper due at the end of this month. Topics/ approaches (Focus your thesis on only one of the following, though some may overlap): Analysis of one of these characters: Lucy Lurie, Melanie Isaacs or Petrus. Example: Analyze not only the chosen character’s personality, but also what role the character played in advancing the overall theme of the novel. Please state what the overall message/ theme of the novel is. The protagonist’s understanding of the nature of the conflict to be resolved and the hurdles to be overcome. What does David Lurie get to understand about his misuse of power? How does he arrive at this insight? Example: It could be hope for change, both in South Africa (the acknowledgment of past crimes committed and of how the powerful can continue to be oblivious to their own oppression of others) and in David Lurie. OR: the disgrace David Lurie has to suffer through the affair with a student in order for him to understand his own misuse of power, and how this recognition echoes the disgrace and oppression South African citizens of color have suffered through apartheid and its aftermath. The function of setting to reinforce theme and characterization Example: post-apartheid South Africa as a setting is most important in the novel. Your outside sources would be the history of apartheid and the lasting consequences and conditions it has created. The use of literary devices to communicate theme: imagery, metaphor, symbolism, foreshadowing, irony Example: Symbolism — Analyze what the concept of dogs represents in this story. OR: Determine if David Lurie represents the old, white South Africa, while Lucy represents the new white South Africa. Point of view: The author’s focus on the perspectives of one or more characters. Example: The difference between David’s and Lucy’s perspectives on how to respond to the social problems in post-apartheid South Africa and how that fits with the author’s theme or main message. Careful examination of one or more central scenes and its/their crucial role in plot development, resolution of conflict, and exposition of theme. Example: Analyze one or more scenes in which hope that change for the better is possible through a character’s insight of his misuse of power, his remorse and subsequent actions to perhaps achieve redemption or self-awareness. Later on, after you choose your thesis, you will research information to support your thesis (for the body of the essay). You will need to go to a library database (you have read in the past module “How to Access Miami Dade Databases”) or a valid search site, such as Google Scholar to find articles about Disgrace, post-apartheid South Africa, etc. Please use information from TWO articles in your paper, and plan on using THREE short quotes from the novel to support your opinion and analysis. The paper should have 5 paragraphs minimum. Novel: Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee Be aware that you will be writing about a novel, which in its broadest sense is any extended fictional narrative almost always in prose, in which the representation of character is often the focus. Good authors use the elements of fiction, such as plot, theme, setting etc. purposefully, with a very clear goal in mind. One of the paths to literary analysis is to discover what the author’s purpose is with each of his choices. Avoid the problem that many students have, which is to hold the erroneous assumption that simply retelling what happened in detail is good enough (no, it is not). Plot summary is necessary, but not the intended goal in a literary essay. Criteria: In addition to being written at college level, your essay must meet the following criteria. Include an introduction with a clear thesis statement, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Use at least three quotes from the book. When citing your sources, use MLA style for literary essays. It is helpful to keep your handbook open to the MLA tab as you write. Minimum 850 words (more complex topics might require more) Language: This is a composition class — your writing and grammar count. Use specific supporting details from the book and at least two from outside sources.Go to the Miami Dade Databases (not Google) for your sources. The following are not acceptable sources: Class Lecture Notes Textbooks Study Guides (SparkNotes, Cliff Notes, BookRags etc.) Wikipedia/ Encyclopedias Dictionaries Popular Magazines (People, Glamour etc.) Popular information websites such as about.com or Ask.com Personal Blogs Why not? Because for one, they are not original sources. Encyclopedias and textbooks are useful to provide an overview or introduction to a topic for complete beginners. These are meant to get you started on a subject. They are not research documents.Wikipedia: Many instructors forbid reference to Wikipedia at all. Some professors do allow its use, and the use of encyclopedias in general, but don’t do it. It’s generally reliable for checking routine facts and extremely specialized topics, but Wikipedia, actually all encyclopedias suffer from the problem that they are not a primary sources. Wikipedia has the added problem that although it is working on correcting errors, it still has weak quality control. It is susceptible to deliberate sabotage, vandalism, even censorship. So don’t use it if you’re not familiar enough with the subject matter to spot biases or errors, and don’t cite it in any academic paper at all. Required Procedures: Read Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee in its entirety before beginning your paper. Take notes as you read. Mark some interesting passages and save necessary source information (such as page numbers) for your in-text documentation and your Works Cited list. Think about the topic and approach you chose located in the Topics and Approaches page. Do not simply repeat or summarize the story. Write your well-constructed thesis, topic sentences, supporting details roughly before beginning. Do some research. It’s important to know a bit about apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa before you begin the paper. Take notes and save necessary source information for your Works Cited list. Use at least two outside sources from scholarly sites or journals. Look at sample papers to refresh your memory concerning the format in Rules for Writers, 8th edition. Write a minimum 850-word (or more if necessary) for a good literary essay. Use formal language and the third person, avoiding personal anecdotes and eliminating all references to yourself at all (I believe, in my opinion, etc). Revise, edit, and proofread, proofread, proofread. It’s easy to make mistakes. Correct them before you submit your paper.You may also use any of the writing labs and centers in any MDC campus, where a tutor might help you. There are some sites that help you catch grammar errors, such as GrammarRater, but remember, they’re not human and don’t read for content, so they miss things (often). Remember: While you assemble your sources, keep your handbook open (or your online source handy). There are too many details to remember everything. Thesis Statement for Literary Essay Read: “Your Thesis Statement” in the Module One Resources folder. For more detailed information, read “Draft and Revise a Thesis Statement” on pages 14-19 in Rules for Writers, 8th edition. Directions: Choose one of the topics and approaches provided for you. Write a working thesis statement for the topic and approach you chose. Your thesis statement must be an analysis, not just a statement of fact about the novel. Works Cited Page for Literary Essay To successfully complete this assignment, you will need to have read: Criteria and Procedures for Literary Essay above. The section on how to format a Works Cited page in your Rules for Writers.Look carefully at the sample on page L-38 or on page 524. How to access the Miami Dade Databases. Note: This works cited page in its corrected form will be the last page of your milestone essay on the novel Disgrace. Directions: Upload in correct Works Cited format, using Microsoft Word, the three entries that you will use for your analysis on Disgrace. One will be whatever version of Disgrace you have, and the other two entries will be two outside sources or articles that you find in the MDC databases. Do not Google your research, go to the Miami-Dade databases, and find two scholarly sources. Formatting and Typing Guidelines for Literary Essay in MLA Convert your papers to Microsoft Word before submitting. Spacing your paragraphs: In Microsoft Word, make sure you look under the Paragraph section. On the bottom of the left hand side there is a box which reads “Do not add extra spaces to like paragraphs.” Check that box! In academic papers, there are no extra spaces between the paragraphs, nor between Works Cited entries. The paper must be typed, double-spaced. Click on Double space (avoid the Multiple designation) in the same box. Indent your paragraphs. You may use the Tab key in Microsoft Word. Your heading is on the upper left hand corner of the first page. The title is centered, using the same font and font size as the rest of the paper. Do not underline or italicize your own title. Do italicize other people’s titles within the text. Underlining is no longer used. Use either Times New Roman (preferred), or other readable type, 12 pt. font. Do not use fancy, unusual fonts. Beyond the first page, your last name and page number should be inserted on the upper right hand corner, using the Insert > Page Number on the menu bar of Microsoft Word. The Works Cited page is the last page of the paper and is also numbered. Use one-inch margins at the top, bottom and sides of each page. Long quotes: Quotations of four or more lines in the typescript should be set apart (ten spaces or two strokes of the TAB key) followed by the page number. Short quotes: Passages of fewer than four lines are integrated into the text of the paper with quotation marks.
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