Assignment 2: Project Paper – Comparative Essay
This “Assignment 2” writing assignment is a comparative essay focused on topics encountered in our HUM 111 class. The project will be based on research but will reflect your views and interpretation of the topic. This project is designed to help you stretch your mind and your abilities as an organized, innovative, and critical thinker. If approached properly, it should also be fun!
Choose one (1) of the topics from the list of topic choices below. Read the topic carefully. Write a three to four (4-5) page paper (850-1,100 words) that follows instructions and covers each part of the topic. (The title page and References list do not get included in this word count).
Note: Your instructor may require you to submit your topic choice for approval before the end of Week 5.
My TOPIC choice is:
- Qualities of the Hero: Comparing Gilgamesh and Odysseus. Write an essay comparing these two (2) heroic figures from ancient epics of different cultures, especially focusing your analysis on the sources about their encounters with monsters: Gilgamesh encounters the monster guarding the forest, Humbaba, in Tablets 3-5 of the Epic of Gilgamesh (see http://www.ancienttexts.org/library/mesopotamian/gilgamesh/; scroll down to the Tablet links; think of "Tablet" numbers like chapter numbers)." Odysseus encounters Polyphemus the Cyclops in Book 9 of The Odyssey (see http://www.theoi.com/Text/HomerOdyssey9.html; from line 105 to the end). Your paper should:
a) Compare Gilgamesh and Odysseus as to their heroic qualities, noting similarities and differences, using specific examples from the epics.
b) Summarize what this indicates about differences between ancient Mesopotamian and Greek cultures in their ideals and expectations.
c) From this comparison, suggest ways that current cultural ideals and expectations shape modern notions about role models and heroes.
For the topic you choose:
- Establish a clear thesis about your topic as part of the introductory paragraph (often the thesis is the last thing one determines after doing the basic research and outline; however it will be placed in the first paragraph of your paper).
- This is a comparative essay. Comparison approached properly will require some critical thinking on your part. Use a point-by-point approach for the essay. That means, if comparing subject A with subject B, don't do the first half of the essay on subject A and then the second half on subject B--that will seem like two (2) separate essays and comparisons will tend to get lost. Instead, you should be mentioning both subjects in most of your paragraphs as you compare them throughout the essay. Comparisons will identify similarities as well as contrasts.
- Do not try to do everything on your two (2) subjects. You should end up narrowing your focus to a few insights and issues about the subjects being compared. And, from those fairly specific points of comparison, you will develop a thesis and glean some lessons.
- Follow closely the instructions below for your specific topic.
- Include a concluding paragraph at the end. This paragraph will, in some way, refer back to the thesis established in your first paragraph, since now you have demonstrated and supported it. It may be here that you also include your observations relating your study to the modern workplace or society (see your topic). Try to finish with flair!
- Use at least three (3) good quality academic sources, with one (1) source being the class text. Note: Wikipedia and other similar Websites do not qualify as academic resources.