Paper 1 Assignment
For your first paper assignment for EGL1020, you will need to examine a particular
element(s) of literature as it applies to one or more of the texts we have read. Presumably, this
will mean that you will need to work with The Cask of Amontillado and/or The Secret Lion.
However, you may choose any of the texts mentioned in the syllabus. Papers should choose one
or more basic elements of literature (setting, character, plot, point of view, etc.) as we discussed
in class and trace their development in one or more texts. The goal is to make a statement about
how one or more of these elements works in one or more of the texts from the class. You are
free to develop and shape your topic as you see fit. I have included possible topics below, but
you are encouraged to modify or create your own topic as long as it fits the general requirements
defined above. The primary goal here is to demonstrate your ability to recognize different
elements in a given text and reflect on them in writing.
The paper should use Font size 12 or 13, and the paragraphs need to be double-spaced.
Information directly taken from text, either verbatim or paraphrased, should be properly
attributed to the author. The length requirement is 3-4 pages. See your text for sample essays
and consult the examples online as well. Avoid using "you" or "I" in the paper. Keep it in
the third person only.
Sample Paper Topics
1. Explain how the narrator's point of view shapes the action and pacing of The Cask of
Amontillado. Trace the plot and the different aspects of the story and how they are revealed by
the narrator. You could also compare and contrast the narrators in The Cask of Amontillado and
The Secret Lion. Be sure to include several examples from the text to support your thesis.
2. Discuss the types of characters present in The Cask of Amontillado and/or The Secret Lion.
Are they rounded or flat? Are they sympathetic or untrustworthy? How do you know? Use
examples from these stories to support your claim.
3. Focus on the setting in one of our texts. How is it portrayed? Does it change? What effect
does it have on the characters or plot?
December 25, 20XX
The following is an excerpt from a paper. Note that the introduction begins with attention
grabbers, introduces the story and author, and then it ends with a thesis. Note how the writer
integrates the story using quotations and then spends most of his time explaining and analyzing
rather than summarizing. Also note the conclusion. It restates the thesis and then summarizes the
essay's main points. Finally, examine the Works Cited Page. If you choose the same story, your
Works Cited Page will be identical to the one below.
December 25, 20XX
How does setting affect a story? Does it influence the plot or change a story's trajectory?
Setting is one of the more important aspects in short stories. It can shape the action and drive
characters towards a set goal. In Edgar Allan Poe's The Cask of Amontillado, the change in
setting reflects the narrator's main goal: revenge. Each scene and both of the characters in the
play are surrounded and seemingly trapped by their surroundings. In fact, the change in settings
from a light party atmosphere, known as carnival, all the way the dark Catacombs reflect
Montresor's manipulative action as he tricks Fortunato into following along to his own death.
From the very beginning of the story, the setting sets the tone of the play and helps
Montresor manipulate Fortunato. The narrator Montresor describes the opening atmosphere as
"the supreme madness of the carnival season" (218). According to Montresor, "he had on a
tight-fitting parti-striped dress, and his head was surmounted by the conical cap and bells" (219).
Fortunato is dressed as a silly jester or clown. Clearly, this is a party and festive atmosphere.
Everyone seems to be having a good time, and this includes both Montresor and Fortunato.
There is no sign or hint for Fortunato that an evil outcome is in the future. In fact, Montresor
begin a friendly conversation about wine. Montresor is inquiring about the quality of a particular
kind of wine called Amontillado. He knows that Fortunato believes himself to be a wine expert.
As a result, the two characters talk freely, and, in the party atmosphere, Montresor can lay his
trap about luring Fortunato to his estate. Montresor even warns Fortunato about the environment
in his crypt. However, Fortunato states, "The cold is merely nothing. Amontillado!" In his
festive mood, Fortunato is obsessed with wine and fun.
The setting begins to darken a bit as the two characters enter the estate. Montresor points
out how he as tricked his servants into leaving early...
The setting changes in The Cask of Amontillado contribute to evil trickery of Montresor
and his ability to deceive his friend Fortunato. The opening party creates an ideal atmosphere to
lower Fortunato's guard. After the party, Poe's story begins to darken as the action moves to
Montresor's empty estate and finally to the crypts. The atmosphere in the crypt reflects the evil
that Montresor is planning. All of the bones and dark imagery in the catacombs alert the reader
to an unpleasant ending. Unfortunately for Fortunato, he is unable to recognize any of these
danger signs; his drunken state or pride have led him to imprisonment and a horrible death.
Poe, Edgar Allan. "The Cask of Amontillado." Portable Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing.
Eds. Laurie Kirzner and Stephen Mandell. Ohio: Cengage Learning, 2013. 218-223.
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