our Culminating Assignment
Your culminating assignment consists of a formal literary essay and the planning components that will lead to that essay.
In order, you will complete:
• a statement of intent describing the scope of your essay and your working thesis (Lesson 16)
• an annotated bibliography listing the primary and secondary sources you plan to use, along with a critical evaluation of each source (Lesson 17)
• a reader’s journal reflecting on the thinking you’ve done as you read your text and other sources (Lesson 18)
• a detailed outline of your essay with a refined thesis (Lesson 19)
• the final, polished copy of your 1200-1500 word essay (Lesson 20)
You will choose your primary source from the list below.
The primary source is the text you will be studying and writing about; in addition, you must use 4-6 secondary sources (articles written about your author or your primary source(s)).
You can choose one of the following options as your primary text:
• Life of Pi by Yann Martel
• A series of poems by one author, or a series of poems by a few authors
• A short story (or more than one short story related by author or story element)
While you will be responsible for developing your own topic – here are some ideas to get you started. If you like, you can choose one of these questions and answer it. That will provide you with a thesis that you can use. OR you can come up with your own thesis.
Some ideas for topics:
1. How does the text reflect the time/place/social situation of the author? (Don’t forget the biographical, historical, and other schools of literary criticism you studied earlier in the course).
2. Discuss the importance of symbols/images etc. to the text.
3. How does the text compare with other major works of the time?
4. How does the form of the literary work contribute to the meaning of the piece?
The Statement of Intent
The Statement of Intent is a document that outlines the topic and scope of your Independent Study Project. It should be approximately 250 words in length and contains the following aspects:
• The text(s) you have chosen
• An explanation of why you have chosen your topic.
• A tentative thesis or at least an explanation of what you hope to prove in your essay.
• An outline of the major points which you will consider when writing your essay.
• A paragraph in which you state the aspects of your essay which you will find most challenging.
The statement of intent is not meant to be a binding contract but it is meant to be a serious attempt to begin the research process for your Culminating task. As you refine your research, you may need to change some of the ideas contained in your statement of intent. This is perfectly acceptable – even desirable in some circumstances. Remember, the Statement of Intent is not engraved in stone, but the example that follows will give you some idea of what is expected here.
Statement of Intent
Independent Study Project Romeo and Juliet
October 23, 2006.
My topic for this ISP will be Shakespeare’s use of minor characters in Romeo and Juliet. In this play, Shakespeare uses Tybalt and Mercutio to highlight aspects of Romeo’s character. Juliet’s character is made clearer through her relationship with the Nurse, and her parents. Friar Lawrence is used to shed some light on both the main characters of this play. Given the above, it is clear that Shakespeare uses the minor characters in Romeo and Juliet to provide the audience with a deeper understanding of these “star-cross’d lovers.”
In this ISU, I will try to demonstrate that Tybalt, Mercutio, the Nurse, the Capulets and Friar Lawrence exist to deepen the audience’s understanding of Romeo and Juliet as their love matures. To prove this tentative thesis, I will trace the changes in the relationship of each of these minor characters with either Romeo or Juliet. In doing this, I hope to show that, as Romeo and Juliet fall more deeply in love, their relationship with each of these minor characters changes.
The major points I will consider in this paper are:
Romeo’s attempt to stop Tybalt and Mercutio from fighting with Mercutio after he falls in love with Juliet
Juliet’s changed relationship with the Nurse after she falls in love with Romeo. I will focus on her changing view of the Nurse as a kind of mother, to friend and at the end, to someone whom she can no longer trust.
Juliet’s relationship with her parents also changes as she matures in her love for Romeo. Before she meets him she is behaves like a child. After they fall in love, her behaviour towards her parents changes as she realizes their intention to marry her to Paris.
Friar Lawrence’s relationship with the two lovers changes from friend and helper to someone who provides morals in a funeral sermon after they die.
The major challenges that I will face will involve limiting my ISP to the required word limit given the large size of this topic. Also, I will have to work on my approach to Friar Lawrence. I am not sure that I entirely understand his function or role in this play, especially as it applies to highlighting the characters of Romeo and Juliet.
Now that you are familiar with the Statement of Intent it’s time for you to begin the research process for your Culminating Assignment.
Your assignment is to write a 250-300 word Statement of Intent for the topic of your Culminating following the criteria and example given to you in the content section of this activity. (above)
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