Literature Essay

Assignment Instructions

For your final essay, you should choose one of the following options.

  • Compare and contrast some of the poems from this week’s readings. You may compare poems from a single poet, or compare poems across poets. Have a debatable, persuasive claim and focus on specific points of comparison, using the Lesson in week 7 to guide your structure.
  • View the list of essayists listed below (after the assignment directions). Search the internet for an essay by your selected author and read it. Compose a thesis that has a persuasive, debatable claim about the significance of the message or theme in the essay or the success/effectiveness of the essay as a whole. Summarize the essay in your intro paragraph, end the paragraph with your thesis, and be sure to include your three points of evidence in your thesis statement. Cite the essay as you would any article on the internet as you examine your points of evidence.
  • Compare and contrast John Grisham’s piece to any essay, long-form article on a website like The Atlantic or other news sources,  or film/documentary that explores a contemporary social issue that matters to you. Have a debatable, persuasive claim and focus on specific points of comparison, using the Lesson in week 7 to guide your structure.

Submission Instructions:

Your essays should be in MLA Style and approximately 1625-1950 words, not including the Work(s) Cited page. Meeting the minimum word requirement makes you eligible for a C grade. Meeting the maximum word requirements makes you eligible for an A grade. As with most academic writing, this essay should be written in third person. Please avoid both first person (I, we, our, etc.) and second person (you, your). In the upper left-hand corner of the paper, place your name, the professor’s name, the course name, and the due date for the assignment on consecutive lines. Double space your information from your name onward, and don’t forget a title. All papers should be in Times New Roman font with 12-point type with one-inch margins all the way around your paper. All paragraph indentations should be indented five spaces (use the tab key) from the left margin. All work is to be left justified. When quoting lines in literature, please research the proper way to cite short stories, plays, or poems. You should use the online APUS library to look for scholarly sources. Be careful that you don’t create a “cut and paste” paper of information from your various sources. Your ideas are to be new and freshly constructed. Also, take great care not to plagiarize.

Some Major Essayists

Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790)

St. John de Crevecœur (1725–1813)

Thomas Paine (1737–1809)

Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826)

James Madison (1751–1836)

Alexander Hamilton (1757–1804)

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)

Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865)

Margaret Fuller (1810–1850)

Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

Frederick Douglass (1817?–1895)

Herman Melville (1819–1891

James Russell Lowell (1819–1891)

Mark Twain (1835–1910)

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815–1902)

H. L. Menken (1880–1956)

E. B. White (1899–  )

Ralph Ellison (1913–1994)

Louis Auchincloss (1917–  )

Betty Friedan (1921–  )

James Baldwin (1924–1987)

William F. Buckley Jr. (1925–  )

Gore Vidal (1925–  )

Edward Abbey (1927–1989)

Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–1968)

John McPhee (1931–  )

Joan Didion (1934–  )

Garry Wills (1934–  )

Jonathan Kozol (1936–  )

Barbara Ehrenreich (1941–  )

Stephen Jay Gould (1941–2002)

George F. Will (1941–  )

Garrison Keillor (1942–  )

Annie Dillard (1945–  )

Dave Barry (1947–  )

Katha Pollitt (1949–  )

Bill Bryson (1951–  )

Brent Staples  (1951–  )

Deborah Tannen (1951–  )

Anna Quindlen (1952–  )

Cornel West (1953–  )

David Sedaris (1956–  )

Malcolm Gladwell (1963–  )

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