For the culminating essay of the semester, due on December 11, you are to write 1200 words (about four pages, typed, double-spaced) on Beloved, our last reading for the semester. The paper is to be an essay that analyzes and explores the novel, and the analysis is to be supported by research, at least three secondary articles, essays, or chapters, scholarly or critical.
The purpose of the paper is twofold: 1) to read closely and analyze Beloved in the way that you have done with other works all semester, and 2) to draw other voices into your conversation about the novel by carefully choosing outside commentary that will enlighten or inform your own. The proper use of scholarly or critical voices is not to let them take the place of your own, not to let them do your work for you by supplying you with opinions that you have not really formed, but to let them guide, support, modify, and comment on your views, as you might a helpful voice in class conversation. As should go without saying, you must properly cite your sources (MLA style) at those points in your paper where you use them and then give a full list of them in a Works Cited page at the end. The mode of writing the paper should be the same as for your other papers, which is to say that you should discuss the novel critically. Follow The Classical Model used in writing your Richard II papers to write this essay. You may use the reading questions on Beloved posted to Canvas to help direct you, but you must consider in your discussion the meaning of the book’s title, which also happens to be the title character’s name (or is it?), a name that takes the shape of a verb form typically used as a descriptive word. What does such a story, which deals with many things that are almost too horrible to remember and write about, have to do with love and memory? Why are the memories related in such a fractured way? And why should such a love story also function as something of a ghost story? You must have a thesis, introduced at or near the end of your introductory paragraph, that focuses the discussion on some aspect of the novel that serves as a lens through which you can take a view of the whole. In discussing your thesis, you need to look closely at the language of the novel, taking care to notice its features, as you might the face of someone of special interest to you. In focusing on the small for the sake of saying what the whole might mean, you will have no difficulty finding enough to write about. Cite examples, give evidence, and put together into a coherent whole your reasons for thinking as you do. As always, brainstorm ideas and write down questions as you are working up a thesis; then make an outline or scheme for the whole of your paper.
Sources You May Use
Bennett, Juda. Toni Morrison and the Queer Pleasure of Ghosts.
James, Joy. Seeking the Beloved Community: a Feminist Race Reader.
McDonald, Paul. Reading Toni Morrison’s ‘Beloved’: a Literature Insight.
Schreiber, Evelyn Jaffe. Race, Trauma, and Home in the Novels of Toni Morrison.
Zauditu-Selassie, K. African Spiritual Traditions in the Novels of Toni Morrison.
Bloom, Harold. Rebirth and Renewal.
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