Final Paper Options
Due Date: 12/4
Specs: at least 6 FULL pages, MLA formatted
Grade Weight: 25% of final grade
Adam Ewing laments at the end of Cloud Atlas that “a purely predatory world shall consume itself.” How does consumption function in the novel? You might want to focus on one or two types of consumption and limit yourself to no more than four chapters. Aspects of consumption discussed in class include cannibalism, colonialism, exploitation, and consumerism.
-When crafting a thesis statement, make sure it is argumentative and clearly answers the key questions in the prompts. Similarly, you want to be specific. Avoid words like “similarities,” “differences,” and phrases like “there are.”
-In your body paragraphs, be careful to avoid the trap of plot summary by starting with argumentative topic sentences that ALWAYS relate back to the thesis statement. You generally should avoid topic sentences that slavishly follow plot, as indicated by phrases such as “In the beginning of the novel, —,” “After Lux does _____, ______,” etc.
-be sure to offer textual support for your arguments. This often means using specific quotations which advance your argument. Cite these quotations accordingly in MLA format. For example, “I’m a quote” (Eugenides 11).
-the MOST important part of your paper in many ways is your analysis of the textual support. Avoid phrases like, “in this quote, it says that” or anything else that merely sums up what the quote literally says. Instead, relate the quote back to your thesis and to bigger themes in the novel.
Content (60%): I am looking for specifics rather than generalities.
Your thesis statement must be argumentative (see above)
I want you to CLOSE READ moments in the texts that pertain to your larger argument. Every page after the first should have AT LEAST 2 quotes from the text to bolster your argument. If you are not doing this, you are NOT adequately proving your argument.
Organization (25%): I am looking for sophisticated and elegant organization at all levels
Paper level-a concise, argumentative thesis, argumentative topic sentences that relate back to the thesis, a title, and a conclusion, page numbers, headers.
Paragraph level-all major body paragraphs must include the following:
Topic Sentence-you must begin with a sentence that relates back to your thesis while still elaborating a particular point on which the paragraph will focus.
Textual Support-you MUST back up your topic sentence with evidence from the text that supports the topic sentence. Prove your points, and be specific.
Explanation of Textual Support-you cannot just plug in quotes. You need to analyze the quotes you’ve chosen and explain how they relate to larger themes, motifs, arguments you’re addressing.
Transitions-One way to do this is through words and phrases like “Additionally,” “furthermore,” “In addition,” “Moreover,” etc. which indicate flow at the start of a new sentence or paragraph.
Grammar (15%): I am looking for concise, elegant sentences and paragraphs.
Don’t abuse the poor Microsoft Word Thesaurus. Treat English like you would learning a foreign language; if you don’t know what a word means, don’t use it.
Avoid colloquialisms like “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” People have a tendency to really screw these up.
AVOID “TO BE” VERB CONSTRUCTIONS. Use active verbs whenever possible for a streamlined syntax. Before you turn your paper in, go back through it and eliminate most of the “to be” verbs.
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