Thursday, February 18, 2010

Long Paper #1

You will have two long papers this semester. One will cover the United States and one will be situated in Northern Ireland.

Each long paper is made up of three grades. The first grade is for your rough draft, the second for a mandatory meeting with me to go over suggested revisions, and the third is for the final draft.You can also find this and additional information on your syllabus.

I will pass around a sign up sheet next week for the meeting times on March 2. If for some reason you cannot meet on that date, we can arrange an alternative time. You will receive your rough draft at your meeting.


You MAY want to meet with me or send me a draft before you turn in your rough draft. I will make meetings if you email me at or I will accept preliminary rough drafts up until noon on Wednesday, February 24. You can send me ideas, paragraphs, whatever you would like.

Each student is given the opportunity at one "free read" before each paper (or rough draft and final draft) is due. This policy will apply throughout the remainder of the semester. It is in your best interest to take advantage of this policy.


Rough Draft: February 25
Meeting: March 2
Final Draft: March 4


Each paper should be 5-6 pages long, double spaced in Times 12 point font with standard spacing and margins, and turned in on paper. Students should follow MLA guidelines on the formatting of their paper and in their citation methods. Papers will be evaluated according to the following criteria, although +/- grades may be present in order to indicate the relative strength of the work within these general categories.

A: This paper addresses the question in a manner that demonstrates a comprehension of the assignment as well as the social and political contexts discussed in class. The thesis is clear and concise, allowing the argument to develop in a structured manner. Additionally, the paper is original as it provides a unique perspective. All MLA guidelines are correct and there are minimal technical problems.

B: This paper completes the basic requirements of the assignment, follows MLA guidelines, and is generally clear and concise. It does, however, need to improve in one or a few of the following areas: organization, argument development, or mechanics.

C: This paper answers the question of the assignment, but lacks useful citation from the primary text and contains an underdeveloped thesis statement. MLA citations may be incorrect, and/or other technical problems may be present.

D: This paper does not complete the requirements of the assignment.


1. Ekphrasis is the depiction of a visual art in writing. Use the photo of the burning girl from Vietnam to investigate "You and I Are Disappearing" by Yusef Komunyakaa. Choose either metaphors that are not represented in the photograph or those that are (remember our class discussion) then argue how these metaphors confront readers with their own passivity to suffering.

2. Pretend you are deciding whether or not to allow Amiri Baraka to retain his position as Poet Laureate of New Jersey following the publication of "Somebody Blew Up America" after 9-11. Argue one side or the other, using examples from the text.

3. Trace the Western as it appears in Ishmael Reed's "I am a cowboy in the boat of Ra." Why is the Western used in a poem about Egyptian mythology? How do elements of the Western in this poem reveal a uniquely American subjectivity (sense of personal perspective) on the part of the poet?


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