Synthesis Paper

For this paper, you will select a theme related to women’s roles or women’s bodies that appears in a variety of poems, stories, and nonfiction (for instance, the power/danger of women’s sexuality, the confinement of marriage, the challenges facing the woman artist/intellectual).

After selecting your theme, you will examine how it is presented in three to five works from our course. At least one of the texts must have been written before 1950. Also, be sure to include at least two of the major forms (poetry, fiction, non-fiction, drama). Your paper should include the following:

Readings from course: The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women:

  • Zora Neale Hurston: “Sweat” ; “How It Feels to Be Colored Me”; Edna St. Vincent Millay: [I, being born a woman and distressed]; Alice Walker: “In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens”
  • Joyce Carol Oates: “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” (1192–1202)
  • Maxine Hong Kingston: “No Name Woman”; Sharon Olds “The One Girl at the Boys’ Party” ; Louise Erdrich: “The Shawl.
  • An analysis about what is similar and what is distinctive about each work’s presentation of your theme. Remember to maintain focus on examining your theme; there is no need to summarize a work already familiar to your audience.
  • As pertinent, refer to the works’ historical context and literary elements. But your focus is each work’s presentation of your theme.
  • In your conclusion, explain which work(s) are most compelling to you and why.
  • Include short quotes from the primary texts for support. You may, if you wish, reinforce your evaluation with secondary criticism. Just be sure to appropriately acknowledge these critics (and be sure they are credible). If you include historical research beyond the general information included in our text, be sure to cite that as well.

Guidelines

  • The paper should be 1,800–2,000 words. Your works-cited page does not count towards the length requirement.
  • The paper should use MLA formatting, including double spacing; the appropriate heading on page one; Times New Roman (12 pt. font), 1-inch margins, appropriate parenthetical citations an appropriately formatted works-cited list.
  • Please be sure to appropriately acknowledge and cite any sources used. Failure to do so constitutes plagiarism. Papers that contain plagiarized passages (intentionally or unintentionally) will receive a zero in accordance with Brenau policy.
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