Assignment Instructions “Character in Our Town”
This final project will require you to gather research material, analyze it, evaluate it, and bring it together to act as support for your writing. All options require strong critical engagement with both the focal primary text(s) and with the required peer reviewed sources.
General Requirements for the Project:
All submissions must:
· use 3 peer reviewed sources in addition to whatever primary texts they discuss (and these sources must be used, actually cited, in the essay, not just listed in the works cited at the end)
· be 1000-1500 words long
· must be original to this class (no resubmissions from other courses are allowed)
BE CAREFUL that you do not create a cut and paste essay of information from your various sources; your ideas are to be the focus of the essay, and the research should only supplement and support your ideas. Also, take great care not to plagiarize; if in doubt, cite the source. See the sample essay for an example of an MLA formatted essay.
These projects will be graded using the Research Project Essay rubric .
DISCLAIMER: Originality of attachments will be verified by Turnitin. Both you and your instructor will receive the results.
Topic Choices for the Research Project
Choose one of the following prompts to guide your project.
· Setting of Wilder’s Our Town: Thornton Wilder’s Our Town is set in 1908 – or is it? Why is the set for Wilder’s Our Town empty and artificial? How does the set of Our Town help highlight the theme of the play (make sure to mention that theme in your essay). If you want, you may choose to discuss a production or two of Our Town to help you prove your point about the setting.
· Classifying The Merchant of Venice: The Merchant of Venice is a troublesome play to classify in the usual Shakespearean categories of comedy, history, or tragedy. Though it ends with several marriages, and therefore matches the usual pattern of a comedy, it also contains some very dark and problematic elements, such as Shylock’s essentially forced conversion to Christianity. How do you think that we should view this play? Is it really a comedy? Is there any way to argue that it is a tragedy? Be sure to clearly define your understanding of tragedy and comedy; for some helpful sites, see Comedy and Tragedy by David L. Simpson of DePaul University, and the Comedy and Tragedypages by Lisa Schnell of the University of Vermont.
· Character in Our Town: Wilder’s play does not appear to be chronological. Instead, it appears that time is a bit muddled in this play and that the Stage Manager has the ability to manipulate and disrupt time. Who is the Stage Manager, why does he disrupt the play’s chronology, and what purpose does the Stage Manager serve?
· Satire in The Importance of Being Earnest: Oscar Wilde is known for his satire, and The Importance of Being Earnest is no exception to Wilde’s usual mode of satirical writing. The effect of satire will change, however, depending upon the audience, and one of the fascinating things about this play is that the people Wilde satirizes are also the people he expects to be watching the play. Why does Wilde satirize the viewers who will be buying the tickets? What kind of reaction might he be aiming to evoke in his audience?
· Make your own essay topic: create your own topic that focuses on one play that we read for this unit, or on some specific related element of two plays. Avoid responding directly to any of the forum topics for this unit, though you may work with an offshoot of the ideas that came up during discussion. Please note that you contact the instructor for feedback by Thursday of Week 7 if you choose this option.
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