Classical and contemporary works Assignments

Classical and contemporary works
                             Classical and contemporary works

Classical and contemporary works

Select a work of literature, philosophical text, sacred text, or anything in a literary form from the Sayre materials we have been exploring together. You must select your work from one of the chapters listed in the reading schedule on your syllabus. Your essay must be a minimum of 1750 words, in MLA format, with a total of nine in-text citations, ab comprehensive thesis, and a works cited. Please complete each of the following five steps in a single cohesive work with a clear thesis:

1) What is the literary work which you have selected? Summarize this text and analyze some of its major themes in your words. Give me a detailed overview of the work you have selected.

Demonstrate to me that you have read the work in its entirety, that you have absorbed it, and that you have reflected meaningfully upon it. Include in your summary at least three quotes (3/9) from the text which you find to be essential to your understanding of this work. Be sure to explain the meaning and significance of each of the passages you select.

2) Take a step back from the work you have selected and look at what was happening in the world of the author of your work: What was happening in the wider cultural context of the work you selected? Based on your reading of Sayre, what issues was the author facing in their time period? How does Sayre understand/frame this figure and their writings? How does Sayre’s analysis of context help you to better understand and contextualize this text? Be specific. You must include at least three (6/9) citations from Sayre supporting your exploration of the wider cultural context from which the text you selected emerges

3) Drawing from your research in steps one and two carefully answer the following question:

Broadly speaking, what do you believe was the author’s strongest motivation in creating this text? Why do you believe this to be the author’s motivation? How does this work reflect and respond to the important issues taking place in this time period and the life of the author? Be specific and carefully explain your reasoning. Remember that there will be many possible answers to this question. Your job is to craft a well formed argument for this interpretation and to support it with reasoning based on your research.

4) After you have identified a clear answer to the questions in step three regarding the motivation of the author ask yourself: What does the motivation you identified in step three look like in the context of our contemporary culture? How has this motivation been expressed in the context of your life? Provide a careful summary and relevant context for the contemporary work you have selected. For the purpose of this essay we will define contemporary as having been created during your lifetime. You may choose a work of any medium for the contemporary work. You must include three citations to support your summary of the contemporary work (9/9).

5) Compare and contrast the classical work you selected with the contemporary work you selected: In what ways are these two works similar? Carefully explain the connections between the two works you selected. How did you get from the classical work to the contemporary work? How is this work expressing a similar motivation to the classical work? Don’t force comparisons. If you find out that the works are only superficially connected, select a different contemporary work.

Next, contrast the classical work you selected with the contemporary work: How are these works different? Explain the differences in tone, purpose, meaning, and historical context.

Make sure it is clear that there are also important differences between these works and that ultimately each work is also unique. Carefully and responsibly argue for this comparison & contrast and explain your reasoning clearly.

Thesis: Finally, your thesis is a reflection gleaned from having completed all five steps of the prompt that essentially asks: So what? What did you learn from completing this five step journey? This might look like: By examining The Epic of Gilgamesh and J.A. Bayona’s A Monster Calls in these five steps it can be observed that: X. Where X = your thesis. To be clear: your thesis is not an answer to a particular step in the prompt. Rather, your thesis will be an insight which can be gained only from the aggregate of all 5 steps.

For example, suppose you chose to write on The Epic of Gilgamesh. After convincing me you read the text with your careful summary and analysis of major of themes via step one, researching the context of Mesopotamia and contextualizing the text in step two, you argue in step three that this text is motivated by, among many things, an attempt to grapple with mortality and loss in a way that helped to shape Mesopotamian values and communities. Having thus made your argument in step three, in step four you would ask yourself, “What works have I seen/heard/read/experienced from our contemporary context which seek to grapple with the themes of mortality and loss?”

Upon reflection you realize that the 2016 film A Monster Calls directed by J.A. Bayona is an example of a contemporary work which, like The Epic of Gilgamesh, wrestles with mortality and loss. If you chose this work you would give me a clear and concise overview of A Monster Calls in step four, just the way you did in steps one and two for The Epic of Gilgamesh. In step five you discuss the similarities in the two pieces. Then, realizing that there are important differences, you discuss those as well. Finally, you refer back to your thesis and conclude your essay.

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