· 5-6 pages, double spaced, normal 12-point font
· MLA style and Works Cited (use EasyBib to create your Works Cited)
· Must use at least seven sources total to support your thesis; at least four of these must be new
sources found in your independent research; at least two of these new sources must be
scholarly academic journal articles of a sufficient length.
· Must have unique argumentative thesis: “unique” theses are developed out your research and
sources, as opposed to deciding on a position ahead of time and then finding sources to fit your
argument. Thesis means one main claim supported by at least three supporting claims. Thesis
statements should be clearly stated and located at the end of the introductory paragraph.
· Plagiarism will result in a zero in the course and a report on your permanent record.
· Must have a background/definitions paragraph that defines the important
concepts/terms/ideas deployed in the essay. Background paragraphs follow the introduction
Choose one of the following prompts for your essay:
· Aesthetic Responses to the Enlightenment: Of the aesthetic movements we have studied this
semester—Romanticism, the Gothic, Decadence, Symbolism, Expressionism/Surrealism,
Absurdism, Fabulism/Magical Realism—which of these styles offers the best critique of the
Ideology of Enlightenment?
· Realism and the Enlightenment: Take a position on whether realism supports or subverts the
rationalist ideology of Enlightenment. Many traditional realists believe that realism is an
aesthetic of Enlightenment because it values exploring social problems (social progress was a
key Enlightenment value). Similarly, other Enlightenment thinkers believe that realism should be
used to demonstrate that the world was fundamentally an orderly place despite its surface
chaos, and they also believe that psychological realism ought to show that human beings have
free will (a Rationalist assumption). On the other hand, writers like Chekhov and many realist
stories and writing styles like Impressionism seem to contradict these Enlightenment
assumptions by representing human beings as irrational. Is realism a rationalist or irrationalist
art form? Or perhaps the more provocative question is, should it be?
· Student Proposal: If you have a specific topic related to our course themes that does not fit the
prompts described above, you can propose a paper topic to me via Canvas Inbox. Depending on
the length of the readings you choose, you will need to use 1-3 texts from our semester
modules. *For example, if you choose a longer text like Heart of Darkness, Salome, The
Metamorphosis, or Endgame as a main source for your paper, you will not be required to use
other sources from our course readings; however, this means you will have to add at least six
additional sources from your independent research.