English and Literature
Write an essay where you research the answer to a question about an author and his/her writing. Your research should help you discover something new—a new idea. As the writer, you should feel like you’re uncovering information that will help you come to a new conclusion about the writer’s work and why he/she wrote it. The idea of research is to help you find answers, but often it opens up new questions. That’s OK. You’re to pose a new perspective on what others have already said—you should consider research the same as entering into a conversation and adding your two-cents after you’ve heard everyone else’s opinion.
5. Include at least 3 quotes from Alexander Pope’s The Rape of the Lock& 3 quotes from your research.
After reading about Alexander Pope’s The Rape of the Lock, read the option below (in blue), which will help you explore the author and his/her work more. I’m giving you a good head start here with the historical and biographical contexts below as well as the research questions to lead you along. But, I want you to cull through the research after reading the primary source and really take time to figure out what arguments are being made about the author and his/her writing, as well as the time period. I want you to do the work here, rather than me doing the research for you. You’re going to find a lot of articles and then have to narrow them down. Then, decide where you want to place yourself in the discussion that the critics are having about the issue. So, having said that, start by reading The Rape of the Lock. Think about what it might be arguing. Then, read the option below that prompted your research. Then, go to an on-line library and start answering these questions about the text.
Alexander Pope: satirist, known for his Essay on Criticism, Essay on Man, and The Rape of the Lock. An Essay on Criticismwas an attempt to identify and refine his own positions as a poet and critic. Pope’s physical deformity seemed to have defined much of the way he viewed his life and he became involved in writing as a result of a sort of distorted view of on life after being shuffled around. He read avidly and was precocious in his youth. His preferences for publication, to always be regarded as the best writer of his times, even if translating an original, he would have preferred to have published the original, regardless of the public’s reception of his work gave him an arrogant reputation. The Essay on Criticism was said to be a response to an ongoing debate on the question of whether poetry should be natural, or written according to predetermined artificial rules inherited from the classical past. The poem is a discussion of the standard rules that govern poetry by which the critic passes judgment. “The Rape of the Lock,” first published in 1712, with a revised version published in 1714. A “mock epic,” it satirizes a high-society quarrel between ArabellaFermor (the “Belinda” of the poem) and 7th Baron Robert Petre, who had snipped a lock of hair from her head without her permission. The satirical style is tempered, however, by a genuine and almost voyeuristic interest in the “beau-monde” (fashionable world) of 18th-century English society. The Essay On Man is an affirmative poem of faith: life seems to be chaotic and confusing to man when he is in the center of it, but according to Pope it is really divinely ordered. In Pope’s world, God exists and is what he centers the Universe around in order to have an ordered structure. The limited intelligence of man can only take in tiny portions of this order and can experience only partial truths, hence man must rely on hope which then leads into faith. Man must be aware of his existence in the Universe and what he brings to it, in terms of riches, power and fame. It is man’s duty to strive to be good regardless of other situations: this is the message Pope is trying to get across to the reader. Critical receptions to Pope have been ambiguous or negative. What arguments is Pope making about the importance of society and order in his writings and why does he choose satire as his literary mode? Why might his ideas and writings have been rejected by the public even though the quality of it was quite good? Can you see how his reputation is being revised and this sort of writing might now be relevant to a contemporary audience even though the style isn’t modern? Connect Pope’s work with the political, cultural, social, and religious issues that were being addressed. Make a clear argument that is supported by both a primary text by Pope and your research that shows how Pope’s writing connected to what was happening during the time in which he was writing, and how his arguments are still relevant today.
Suggestions & Advice
• You can disagree with what the sources say and argue against them in favor of something else or you can use the sources to support a view that you have.
• You can use biographical information about the author, books, critical articles, videos, and/or audio sources.
• What you will want to argue is going to depend on what interests you about the author and her work and what others are saying about the author in the research that you find.
• The first step for your research is going to be simply typing in the author’s name or title of her work and see what sorts of articles come up—what are folks generally addressing and where might you want to enter into the conversation that they’re having?
• You may work with an author whom you’ve already written on one that you haven’t. If you work with one you’ve already written on you must write a new paper—not merely add quotes from sources to the paper you already wrote.
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