So, thus far we’ve run into dragons, vampires, reanimated corpses, and a squiggly little villain who, apparently, lies at the heart of an otherwise good man… and ugly and raging little Id. All of these textual “monsters” thus far seem to have something that underpin their being for existence: Smaug is a greedy and rapacious dragon; Frankenstein’s Monster is a confused and lonely (not to mentioned abandoned by his creator… How’s that for a metaphor?); Dracula’s not quite as confused about his loneliness… and so on. One could articulate a fine argument for what these monsters might have represented within the context of their time period to the audience in terms of the monster as metaphor for what lay at the heart of their terror to an audience.
One (That’s you) will articulate an argument as to what these monsters might have represented to an audience (within the time period they were released). What made these constructs so horrible and terrifying to the reader? What did these monsters represent about the darkness within the reader that they might identify with as frightening. While certainly fantastic, what did any of these creatures speak to about the reality of the person reading the text.
To wit: You will
- Pick a monster (It’s a three page paper; you don’t have room for more than one.) Hint: I named the obvious monsters… I never said you couldn’t look at other monsters within these books. Frankenstein seems, to me at least, just as horrifying, if not more, in his willingness to play God than the monster he crafts. Or Van Helsing. Or Mina. Or those greedy little trolls. Etc.)
- Craft me an argument that goes after ONE (or something derived from ONE) of those questions above.
- Cite and quote appropriately passages that support your point AND allow you to analyze the evidence you present. (Remember: you’ve only got three pages here.)
- If necessary: incorporate appropriate background material (either from the secondary readings or from your own research) that helps you establish who the readers of this time period were to better help you prove your analysis.
Whatever you chose to do: bear these tips in mind!
- Solid, Topic, Problem and Thesis development are paramount in these papers. You’d be wise to make sure I think the problem/ thesis are manageable as well. Remember, the focus is on analysis! As such:
- Make sure you analyze the texts at a level of formalist inquiry (don’t summarize, avoid generalization, make decisive choices of what passages/ scenes in the text(s) you look at) surrounding a solid argument. In other words, quotes are evidence, not analysis.
- This is a thesis-driven essay – make sure you have a point to show us that is not merely opinion-based, that only seeks to do one thing and that gives us good reason to believe in your answer (and don’t forget that to have a thesis means that you see and identify a problem first: Answers (theses) demand stated problems or ?s).
Remember you want to move past any simple observations and opinions into a thesis-driven set of lucid remarks and observations about whatever themes, foci, paradigms, genres, characterization etc. you wanna put into play against one another. But – remember – this paper deals with your argument, not 3 pages of quotations – so be choosey in what you quote and be analytical.