Note to CCC Faculty: This assignment with rubric has been shared in the Canvas Commons! Look for World Literature Essay Assignment with Rubric, and feel free to adapt as needed.
This essay is your chance to explore connections between the epics we have read and/or between literature and culture. The topics below are starting points, but you are also welcome to craft your own as long as I approve it as suitable for this assignment. If you would like to develop your own topic, let's discuss it via the Canvas Inbox or Zoom videoconferencing.
- Analyze the significance of the wilderness in three ancient texts—for example, the forest in the Ramayana, the wilderness in Gilgamesh and the sea in the Odyssey.
- Explore the role of women in a few of the epics we have studied. For example, what parallels can you draw between Draupadi in the Mahabharata and Sita in the Ramayana? Or do you see any resemblance between either of these women and the women in the Illiad and/or the Odyssey? To what extent to these women fit the mold society creates for them, and what do you make of this? After considering the possibilities, choose a narrowed focus for your essay.
- The Illiad and the Odyssey are often cited as classic examples of epic poetry, but what about the Ramayana and the Mahabharata? Prove that one of these works is also a good model of epic poetry, using Abram’s definition and one of the Greek epics for comparison.
- Many of the heroes in the epics we have read are closely connected to the gods. Analyze the cultural differences and/or similarities you see in these divine-heroic relationships. You may choose to focus on connections across several texts, or you could choose two texts which illustrate key similarities or differences. Your thesis should present an overall insight based on your connections.
- Examine the nature of fate in several of the works we have read. How is it perceived and used by characters and/or authors? Does this change from one culture to another, or do you see similarities?
Your essay should respond to the topic in an insightful, focused, well-developed essay of 4-6 pages. Summary is to be avoided; instead, focus on presenting, explaining, and supporting your ideas.
Solid essay structure and clear organization are crucial to the success of this project. (If you need a refresher in essay structure, head to the Writing Center, either on campus or online.) To make your answer convincing, be sure to support it with specific details from the text. In fact, each point you make should be supported with evidence from the text and explanation of how those details develop your point.
It is expected that students at this level possess college-level grammar and punctuation skills. Be sure to edit and proofread carefully, and remember that help is available in the Writing Center. If you haven’t tried out the Writing Center’s OWL yet, this is an excellent time to do so; you will be amazed at how much you learn!
- After you have chosen your topic, prewrite to explore and develop ideas. Write a thesis statement that communicates your central insight. Be sure that your thesis can be developed in an essay of 4-6 pages.
- Next, sketch an outline of supporting sections to develop your thesis. This essay can get complex rather quickly, so it is important to keep your thoughts organized, especially as you are comparing/contrasting. When constructing your outline, remember the importance of using evidence from the texts, especially quotes, to bolster your ideas. To be considered complete, your outline must have a thesis and 3-4 sections; each section must include evidence from the text. Optional (but recommended!): Submit your outline for feedback via the Optional Outline Review.
- Submit your outline and a few paragraphs of your first draft to our peer review workshop for feedback.
- Use the feedback from your classmates to finish writing your essay. If you need a refresher in the writing process, essay writing, or MLA format, take advantage of the links provided in Resources for the Study of World Lit. The Purdue OWL will be especially helpful with this assignment.
Revise and edit your work thoroughly before submitting your Epic Essay here. Remember, this is where the grade of an essay develops. If what you submit looks like a rough draft, it likely will be in the D-F range. If it is well organized, fully developed, and carefully edited, the quality (and thus the grade) skyrockets. So, shoot for the sky!
The Fine Print
How long should my paper be?
This essay should be 4-6 pages in length, using standard MLA margins and font. If you find that your draft is shorter (3½ pages does not meet the requirement), look for places where more support is needed. If your draft is longer, check to see if it contains unnecessary details (especially plot summary) that may distract readers from your thesis.
What is the format?
Use MLA guidelines for paper format and documenting source information. Note that this is not a research paper; the emphasis is on your ideas and the connections you see. If you only cite our textbook, in-text parenthetical documentation is required but a Works Cited page is not. However, the use of any outside sources (whether quoted or paraphrased) requires documentation and a Works Cited page.
When is it due, and what needs to be turned in?
Topic: If you would like to choose your own topic, it must be approved by Monday, October 9, 11:59 p.m. If this deadline has not been met, you must choose one of the topics on this assignment sheet.
Outline: Submit your outline and partial draft for feedback by Tuesday, October 10, 11:59 p.m. Respond to your each outline/draft you are assigned, following the provided guidelines, by Thursday, October 12, 11:59 p.m.
Essay: The final draft of your essay is due Saturday, October 14, 11:59 p.m. You may submit it as a Microsoft Word document (either .doc or .docx) or PDF. Late papers are accepted with a 10% deduction per day up to two days; additional days require written approval.
A Friendly Reminder about Documentation and Plagiarism . . .
Sources of quotations and paraphrases must be properly documented according to MLA format. Plagiarism, the act of using another person's words or ideas without giving credit to the author, carries serious consequences. Plagiarized work will receive a failing grade, and the plagiarizer may also receive a failing grade for the course and/or face misconduct charges (see Southwestern College Catalog). When in doubt, see me!
All essays will be run through VeriCite plagiarism detection software before being graded. You will need to check the box acknowledging this and SWC's academic honesty policy before submitting your paper.
Essay Evaluation and Feedback
I will use the Epic Essay Rubric to evaluate this essay. I recommend that you review it regularly to evaluate your progress. Within a week of your essay's submission, a grade, completed rubric, and detailed with feedback will be posted in Canvas.
Click "Submit Assignment" at the top of this page when you are ready to submit the final draft of your essay. Congratulations!