Final Essay Guidelines: Zadie Smith’s White Teeth Literary scholar and theorist Terry Eagleton urges us to be “radical critics,” who speak their own personal truth and discuss how to make the world a better place when they write about literature. What is your truth? What would you like to change about your life, the lives of people you know and love, or the world? To what degree does the change that you seek play out (or not play out) in Zadie Smith’s 2000 novel, White Teeth? Once you’ve thought through what you’d like say via Smith’s novel, formulate this into your “sales pitch” (or argument). If you wish, you may also consider to what degree your topic is evident even in the work of an earlier British author who influenced Smith: Charles Dickens in his 1861 novel Great Expectations; however, this isn’t required. After formulating your sales pitch, think through which textual evidence you could use to sell your idea best and create a “map” of how your essay will proceed. For our class on Tuesday, 5/4, be prepared to screenshare a draft of your introductory paragraph for the essay within a small group of your classmates in a Zoom breakout room. This introduction should include a provocative “seduction” (or lead in), a clearly stated “sales pitch” (or argument), and a “map” (or indication of how the essay will proceed). After having composed your introductory paragraph, find one full-length, pertinent, peer-reviewed journal article or chapter in a scholarly book, making use of the MLA International Bibliography database in order to locate this. This secondary source doesn’t need to make the same argument that you will be making in your own essay. Be prepared to type the title and a link to this scholarly article or chapter into the chat box during our class on Tuesday, 5/4 so that I can give you preliminary approval before you read it. In writing your essay, you should feel free to relate your analysis of White Teeth (and, if you choose, its predecessor, Great Expectations) to aspects of your own life and the world around you, and you are welcome to use the first or the third person. Weave in discussion of the scholarly piece you found and read, even if only to say that it goes in a very different direction from your own analysis. If you wish to reference the words or ideas of someone else, you must fully and accurately acknowledge your source. Guidelines for composition and citing a reference will continue to be covered in class. There are severe penalties for plagiarism, as mandated by the university. Intentional plagiarism will result in an F for the course; plagiarism which appears to have been unintentional will result in an F on the essay. Your essay may be between seven and ten pages long, including the works cited and title pages. Once your essay is finished, have it proofread and edited by someone whose opinion you trust, make changes accordingly, and submit his, her, or their comments and corrections at the end of your final draft. The final draft must be typed and double-spaced and include an original title on a title page, in keeping with the model provided below, and a works cited page with between five and ten sources. You may cite books and essays that we have read together through the semester in class, as well as class lectures, discussions, film clips, etc. Follow MLA guidelines for citation very carefully. it is now due on Friday, May 14th at 11:59 p.m. Submit it as a Word doc, docx, rtf, or pdf file by following the guidelines on Canvas in the Module for the week of the final exam. You may not submit anything in Google docs, Pages, or any other format. . Late essays will be marked down one whole letter grade; no essays will be accepted after Wednesday, May 19th at 11:59 p.m. There are two hundred total points possible for the final essay. Your grade will be based on: evidence of time and thought invested in analysis, writing, and research; a clearly stated “sales pitch,” or thesis argument to the essay; specific supporting details or examples to back up that argument; careful organization; well-structured, interesting sentences and paragraphs; a lack of grammatical, mechanical, and other errors, and a correctly formatted essay and works cited page.
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