Magic and Monsters: Level FOUR (4)

Level 4 (150 points)
Thesis: Narrow and focused. Address a single aspect of one of the guiding questions in detail.
Evidence: Relies predominantly on a single text. Draws sparingly from other relevant texts for comparison/contrast.
Analysis: Highly specific and detailed. Primarily concerned with nuances of texts.
Context: Relies heavily upon culture, location, time period, and genre to draw conclusions.
Assumptions: Reader has in-depth familiarity with the prompts topic and context.
Example thesis statement: On its surface, the magical elements of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight seem like theyre affirming and reinforcing wealthy mens social dominance of Anglo Saxon England. However, the narrators tone during these magical events actually mocks the ruling classs supposed moral superiority.

The goal is to write concise argumentative analyses. Because these analyses are also arguments, that means they require a clear thesis defended with evidence from the text. Textual evidence includes quotations as well as descriptions of scenes, characters, events, or episodes.

Pro Tip: use quotations instead of broad plot summary. Using a texts actual
words will always make your own points more convincing. Besides, summary is
boring. More importantly, use short(er) quotations. You wont have the space to
waste any words!

You can assume your audience is familiar with whatever text youre discussing.

Assignment Rationale and Goal
THE RATIONALE: The purpose of this assignment is to foster your progress toward achieving the course goals and outcomes outlined on the syllabus, specifically:

Demonstrate knowledge of major literary texts, movements, and genres
The ability to analyze, compare, and contrast those texts, movements, and genres
Comprehension of individual texts and interpreting them through historical, social, economic, scientific, and other contexts
Construct arguments using the conventions of academic writing
Apply and relate the ethical situations encountered in these texts to your own personal experiences
THE IMMEDIATE GOAL: To create sustained and engaged interaction with the reading material for the duration of the entire course, specifically:

Creating an argument that demonstrates an in-depth familiarity with the topic(s) while using course content as evidence to support that argument
Revising the complexity and/or scope of an argument in response to reading more and more texts
Addresses the nuances and complexities of the topic

Essay Topics:
Explain the role(s) that the various forms of magic plays in these texts (magical items, sacred names, curses and spells, supernatural events, etc.).

Guiding Questions:

Is magic universally good or bad? Something in between? Does it depend?
What types of characters interact with magic in these texts? Humans? Monsters? Men? Women? Rulers? Good people? Bad people? Rich? Poor? Why?
Can the various forms of magic in these texts be swapped out for some non-supernatural element? How would that ultimately change the text?