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Assignment 3: Literary Analysis


The major writing assignment for this week is to compose a 600- to 800-word paper that analyzes how gender—masculinities and femininities—is portrayed in The Odyssey.

One way to approach this assignment is to consider how male characters think and speak about female characters (human and/or divine). How do the males treat female characters? How do the female characters treat the males? What patterns emerge? Based on those patterns, can you identify models of femininities and masculinities in The Odyssey? In other words, are particular behaviors, conditions, or roles associated with men but not women and vice versa?

Second, analyze at least two major male characters. What does this reveal? Now carefully consider two female figures (human and/or divine). How are they represented? Using the data that you gathered, describe what the ideal ancient Greek woman and man might have been like.

Next, decide if any of the female and male characters violate rules that apply to women’s and men’s behavior and, in so doing, offer the audience negative models of gender. Reflect on The Odyssey’s ending—who wins and loses and why? What do the ultimate fates of the female and male characters reveal about ancient Greeks’ ideas about gender?

Do not simply answer all these questions in order to develop your paper. These questions are designed to catalyze critical thinking, and you should use the writing process described in the online lectures to compose your essay.

As you prepare to write this week’s paper, make sure you understand how many things you are being asked to do.

Develop a Tentative Thesis
How is gender portrayed in The Odyssey?
With regard to gender, what do different elements of The Odyssey reveal about the culture and its important philosophies and values?

Choose one of the prewriting techniques discussed in chapter 3c, “Invent and Prewrite,” of The New Century Handbook and begin prewriting.

Rough Draft

Write your rough draft. You are not required to submit it, but you should get in the habit of writing one for every essay you compose in this and other classes.

Revise and Edit

Proofread the rough draft to check if the:

Thesis is clear and well focused, and the introduction includes all the necessary information.
Discussion of evidence includes quotes, paraphrases, or summaries and synthesizes this material and your ideas.
Conclusion is appropriate and reinforces the paper’s main ideas without repeating the introduction word for word.
Essay is formatted in APA style throughout, and it uses appropriate grammar, spelling, and mechanics.
Quoted material does not exceed 25% of the essay.
Make any changes necessary to ensure that the essay is polished and persuasive.

APA Style Mini-Lecture. Do not list ancient classics in the reference list of your essay. Citations for an ancient classic must be included in the text of the paper when you quote, paraphrase, or summarize. Make sure the first citation indicates the version or translation you used as well as the date of publication. You will also need to include the chapter number of the passage in question. Normally, you should also include line numbers, but they are not available in the version of The Odyssey we are using in this course. Here is an example: Alcinous, the ruler of Scheria, encourages Odysseus to tell his story, saying, ‘And now, speak and tell us truly: where have you been driven in your wanderings? What parts of the inhabited world have you visited? What lovely cities did you see, what people in them? Did you meet hostile tribes with no sense of right and wrong, or did you fall in with hospitable and god-fearing people? Explain to us also what sorrow makes you weep as you listen to the tragic story of the Argives and the fall of Troy’ (Homer, trans. 1946, 8).

Double check your final copy for spelling and grammar. Name your document SU_ENG2002_W1_A3_LastName_FirstInitial.doc. By Tuesday, February 24, 2015, submit your final draft in a Microsoft Word document to the W1: Assignment 3 Dropbox.

Assignment 3 Grading Criteria
Maximum Points
Wrote a complete introduction that engages your classmates’ interest, explains the topic, provides a detailed thesis that identifies your argument, briefly states the main evidence, and maps the paper for your audience.
Used key passages and quotations from the text to support and defend your thesis. Supporting examples and quotations are fully analyzed. The link between the thesis and the evidence is clearly explained.
Examined in your essay’s discussion of evidence what the text suggests about the culture, philosophies, or ideologies that influenced it.
Organized the paper effectively with unified paragraphs, each of which has a topic sentence and effective transitions to the next paragraph.
Provided an appropriate conclusion that reinforces the paper’s main ideas.
Met the word requirement.
Communicated clearly using your own words for the majority of the paper with correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling throughout.
Formatted the paper in APA style throughout, including a title page, running head, headings between sections, in-text citations, and a reference list.


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