Expert answer:English Literature (BeWolf )

  

Solved by verified expert:You must base your essay upon Seamus Heaney’s translation ofBeowulf featured in the Norton Anthology, unless you have been granted permission (in writing) by me to use another translation of the poem.Paper 1: Gender and Character AnalysisIn a brief paper (3-4 pages), analyze one of the supporting characters of Beowulf (not Beowulf himself) with regard to gender. You will describe how that character performs gender appropriately or inappropriately (or neither), according to the way the poem seems to establish masculine and feminine standards. You will also hypothesize how your chosen character’s connection with or to the main character, Beowulf, celebrates or critiques the poem’s ideal masculine or feminine behaviors. Think as to how the poem presents characters to teach or comment upon the cultural values and beliefs expressed in the poem with regard how men and women should behave.You might want to consider how Heroic and Christian (Germanic) attitudes about gender and gender performance reaffirm or conflict with each other and how that may send a strong or confusing message to the audience. You could also think about whether the poem advocates one way or many ways to be masculine or feminine. The fates of characters who conform to or fail to meet gender standards might be another interesting approach to the issue. In essence, you’ll be thinking about how the poet creates a much more interesting, complex work of art that resonates with a variety of messages for a variety of readers or listeners.Consider carefully passages in which your chosen character appears and read them over many times! What details in particular stand out or appear meaningful to you? What catches your eye? Are there any patterns or connections between the details that lead you to a specific conclusion (thesis)? Be sure you have a thesis. Your thesis should be the general point you want to make about your character, and particular details you discuss should refer to, support, and explain your general point. Otherwise, your paper will read like a grocery list. A thesis statement gives order and coherence to such a list, explaining what all the examples have to do with one another and how they make their meaning.From the notes you generate, try to perceive patterns or particular lines of thought that can lead you to a thoughtful, provocative, interpretive statement about the meaning of your character’s gender performance and how it relates to general meaning of Beowulf in its entirely. This will be your thesis (a central idea that underlies your interpretation). Be sure that your thesis doesn’t merely describe/summarize your character or state the obvious. An analytical thesis will invite disagreement and will require you to prove that your logic or point of view is valid. A summary does not invite disagreement. It merely states the facts, making no claim. An analytical thesis draws upon summary, but goes beyond it, to enlarge a reader’s experience of a poem—it offers an opinion. There is no right or wrong way to read a text. The point is that almost any interpretation is valid—as long as you clearly state your claim (thesis) and carefully argue that claim.This essay is meant to be a close reading, so you don’t have to do any outside research. In fact, I would prefer you NOT to turn to the long history of scholarship on this poem. If you like, you may consult outside sources to gather general information on Anglo-Saxon history, culture, and spirituality, but you must be sure to cite the information you glean from them with an in-text citation (or footnote) and you must include a bibliography. If you fail to give credit where credit is due, you have plagiarized. If you consult other sources, do not merely repeat or echo the interpretation your source(s) present. It’s okay to turn to online literature guides to clarify any confusion about the poem, but don’t just report what those sites say because they tell you “what the poem means.” To do so is also plagiarism (even if you paraphrase and cite your source). Use outside scholarship or information to supplement your own interpretation/thesis. Don’t be a lazy parrot. Practice critical thinking, formulate your own ideas, and contribute to a conversation about the poem.Once you have a thesis, you are ready to begin drafting the body of your essay. In your introduction, be sure to identify and introduce the poem by title and the character/gender you’ll analyze before you state your thesis. Even if you mention the title Beowulf in your essay’s title, be sure to use the title Beowulf in your introduction. (Don’t make you essay’s title do the work.)Line up the points that illustrate and support your thesis/claim. Don’t limit yourself to 3 (avoid the 5 paragraph essay. It’s unnatural and confining). Be sure you connect each supporting point to your thesis. Show how your evidence relates to your thesis. Make clear (maybe even obvious) the logic and logical progression of your argument. Likewise, be sure to explain and back up your supporting points with material (quotes and paraphrase) from your chosen text. Show where and how the text has led you to your interpretation. This will be the evidence you need to argue your main point.With regard to your conclusion, do not merely summarize your thesis and points. Summarizing in an essay less than 20 pages insults your readers. It implies that they aren’t intelligent enough to remember what they read a few minutes/pages ago. Instead, try to fit your interpretation into a larger picture. You might think about how this interpretation can change typical perceptions of the poem or how the poem and your interpretation relate to your world. This is your opportunity to make sense of this entire exercise. You get to answer the “Who really cares what I think?” question you may be hearing in your head.

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