Vikings, Knights, and Hobbits:
Heroic Literature from the Medieval Period
For this paper assignment, you will analyze how medieval heroic literature works and delivers its meaning. Consider first—what does it mean to call a work of literature heroic, mythic, or epic?
This paper should not be about what make a hero, but what makes a heroic narrative. Think about the features of the story and focus on the literary text(s).
You might need to do some research into medieval culture, but you should always keep in mind that your interpretation should first be driven by the literary text(s). As always, the best proof of any literary argument comes from the literature itself. Decide how many texts from the course readings you want to use in your discussion.
Start by defining and understanding all your terms and make sure you’re substantiating any cultural aspect you might address with reputable source information. That means do some research and know your topic. Do not wing it or take yourself to be an authority.
You will also want to make sure you have a narrow enough focus—your thesis statement—to be able to address it adequately in the space allowed.
Be specific and choose number of supporting points on which to build your essay. You will not be able to cover everything about your topic. As long as you clearly explain how you limit your scope in the early part of your paper, you’ll be fine.
You should probably begin by laying out your argument and introducing the major points of it. To accomplish this task, your introductory paragraph should contain your thesis statement and should explain how the literary works that you intend to discuss relate to your thesis.
The body of your essay then should consist of several paragraphs that each make an important assertion, one of the points you decided on in prewriting, and each paragraph should contain specific evidence most likely in the form of quotations from the literature. Again, make sure that your argument focuses on the literary and that you are explaining each bit of evidence that you present. One you have made all of your points, conclude your draft strongly with a statement of how your ideas are important to understanding and applying medieval ideas and values.
Do not allow your conclusion to trail off into vagueness or dwindle into a series of empty sentences. You might think of your conclusion as answering the question of how your paper adds to something to the conversation concerning the medieval literature and its ideas.
Revising, editing, proofreading
In terms of format, your paper should be typed double-spaced on one side of 8.5 X 11-inch sheets of white paper with one inch margins on all sides. Use Times New Roman 12 point font only. Papers not adhering to this format will be returned immediately without review.
You should observe rules of grammar, punctuation, and spelling for Standard Academic English. Once you have finished a draft, you should examine it carefully for errors, which include but are not limited to the following:
- grammatical errors;
- factual errors;
- nonsensical or logically flawed sentences;
- boring, flat, clichéd writing;
- over-blown, exaggerated writing;
- missed opportunities for development;
- logically unsound assertions;
- lack of sufficient evidence or support;
- clumsy, imprecise word choice and unnecessary verbiage.
These errors should be avoided as papers containing errors will penalized heavily. This paper should not use secondary sources except to provide verification of factual information, but not to provide interpretive support. Nevertheless, you must document any material summarized, paraphrased, or quoted from sources. Papers that do not use information from sources fairly and with adequate documentation will be subject to severe grade penalties up to and including receiving a zero as outlined in the Course Policies and Procedures. The recommended style of documentation is the MLA Style. If you have any questions about this style, you should consult a current copy of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.
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