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Sonnet comparative essay

In this assignment, you will choose one topic from the list below and write a 1000–1250-word essay that compares how that topic is addressed in two of the texts from class.

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Your paper will display the analytical and writing skills we have been practicing in class. You
will demonstrate your ability to analyze literary techniques or themes in short literary pieces,
as well as your understanding of basic concepts in disability studies. Additionally, you will be
executing the compositional methods we have gone over in class: developing strong, specific
thesis statements; constructing well-developed, coherent, unified academic paragraphs;
providing well-chosen, specific evidence to support all of your claims; integrating primary and
secondary sources efficiently and correctly; and formatting and citing according to MLA style
and the Department of English Requirements for Essays.

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Instructions:
• Write the essay in academic essay structure: 1. Open with a “thesis paragraph”
introduction (see WEaL Ch. 7); 2. Continue with “sandwich model” body paragraphs that
have a. a topic sentence that makes a specific claim, b. a blend of analysis and evidence
to support that claim, and c. a summative sentence that reiterates how the paragraph
has proven its claim; 3. Close with a conclusion that clarify the key points of the
argument (without just being a boring summary) and gesture to the wider importance
of the argument.
• You do not need to use secondary sources for this assignment; however, you may use
reference works (e.g. dictionaries, literary encyclopedias) to supplement your argument.
• Cite all your sources—even if you just use one primary source, you must have a works
cited list with that source on it.
• Only cite the sources that you use in the paragraphs themselves (e.g. if you looked up an
author’s biography but did not end up referring to it in your paragraphs, the biography
would not be in the works cited list).

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Essay topics:
1. Tim Evans’s film The End and H. G. Wells’s “The Country of the Blind” both make use of
science fiction conventions, in particular, those of the dystopia. In their use of dystopia, do
they make similar or different comments on the nature of disability? Explain. (For this
assignment, you may wish to do secondary research on dystopia. I recommend using the
reference works available on the LION database).
Dr. Kylee-Anne Hingston
Winter Term 2020
2
2. Compare the use of sonnet form in Jim Ferris’s “Poet of Cripples” and John Milton’s “When I
Consider How My Light Is Spent.” How do the ways the poets use sonnet form support the
arguments each makes about disability?
3. Dora Greenwell’s “The Deformed Child” and Alice Munro’s “Child’s Play” both show a child’s
understanding and experience of disability, but from very different time periods and points
of view. Write an essay comparing how the works portray childhood disability, considering
how literary choices such as point of view affect their portrayals.
4. Alice Munro’s “Child’s Play” and Toni Morrison’s “Recitatif” each follow the relationship of
two female characters who spent time together as children and meet intermittently as
adults, and each has a mysterious, defining moment involving violence against a disabled
person; however, each story creates suspense and mystery in significantly different ways.
Write an essay explaining how those differences affects what each story seems to imply
about disability.
5. Compare the language of sound in Adam Pottle’s “During a Camping Trip” from “Hearing
Test” and John Lee Clark’s “Clamor.” What are the differences between how they use sound
in these poems? What are the reasons for or effects of those differences?

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Expectations to meet:
(see the U of S undergraduate grading system for gradation of descriptors and percentages)
The successful assignment will provide
• Analytical close reading of literary or film techniques
• Correct use of literary and disability-studies terminology
• Strong academic essay structure with effective and logical argumentation
• An introduction that acts like a “thesis paragraph” because it focuses on the text and on
the argument and has an arguable claim that says WHAT the text is doing, HOW the
text does it/ HOW you will prove it, and WHY it matters.
• Well-chosen, specific, and sufficient supporting evidence from the passage
• Source integration that is grammatically correct and cited sufficiently in MLA style
• Sufficient context that any reader could understand the essay’s argument
• Transitions that guide the reader between ideas and paragraphs
• Academic paragraph structure that opens with a specific claim sentence about the text,
followed by analysis and evidence from the text, and closes with a summative sentence
reiterating how the evidence proves the claim
• Clear, concise writing with correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation and with varied
sentence style
• MLA formatting according to the Department of English Requirements for Essays