ESSAY 1: Develop an essay of 750 to 1000 words minimum/maximum with an introduction, body, and conclusion. Include a works cited page.
Be sure to argue a particular point of view in your essay (your thesis) and cite varied examples from the readings in MLA format in order to support your perspective. Please focus on the readings themselves, and avoid using outside sources (particularly open-web sources). Do not retell the story or describe what happens. I've already read all of these texts, so you can work from that assumption.
Topics for Thematic Analysis
For this essay, let's do thematic analysis. Choose one of the major texts that we've read since we started the course (Beowulf, "Dream
of the Rood
," the Canterbury Tales that we read, selections from Malory, Book 1 of Faerie Queene, Elizabeth's speeches) and one of the following themes:
faith (either religious faith or faith in someone)
Read through the themes. Is there one that piques your interest?
Do some thinking about how the theme might be expressed in the text.
Write down your ideas as they come to you.
Don't neglect secondary characters. While there is a tendency to focus more on the central characters, looking at all the characters will provide more interesting analysis.
Example of how to Generate Ideas
I'm always intrigued by the character of Error. She reminds me of the image of the Pelican that Queen Elizabeth sometimes uses to demonstrate maternal love for her subjects. (The pelican was supposed to have pricked its own breast until she bled to feed her offspring.) When I look at the above themes, there are a few that seem relevant: truth, desire, and madness. When I add the Redcrosse Knight into the equation, I could also use "battling evil." When I think of what kind of evil she represents, she seems to epitomize madness, so the two themes overlap.
Now that I've done some preliminary thinking on the subject, it's a good time to go back to the text and reread that section.
I've reread the section, and it strikes me now that the Redcrosse Knight's mistake is that he's too trusting. He ignores the good advice given to him, which leads him into the Cave of Error. So, I'm going to shift my focus to a thematic analysis of "Choices."
Thesis statement: Analysis of the scene in Spenser's Faerie Queene in which the Redcrosse Knight encounters Error suggests that choices based in innocence can be dangerous, but choices based on knowledge can be empowering.
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Anonymous. Beowulf. Ed. Michael Alexander. Penguin Books: London, 2001.
Hall, Lesslie (Trans.). Beowulf: An Anglo-Saxon Epic Poem." Boston, New York, Chicago: D.C. Heath & Co., 1892. Web. 30 May 2013.
Serriallier, Ian. Beowulf the Warrior. New York: Henry Walck Incorporated,1961. Print.
Stitt, Michael J. "Beowulf and the Heroic Code." English 477 Tolkien & Fantasy Literature, University of Navada, Las Vegas, (ND). Web. 30 May 2013.
Yaguexta, Anna. "Beowulf and the Germanic Heroic Code." Helium, 10 March 2008. Web. 30 May 2013.