The assignment is to write a 1000-1250 word analytical essay paper on the following question:
For this assignment, please identify one major topic about the institution of slavery that both Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs address in their narratives, and one major distinction in the slave experiences presented in these two texts. Then construct an historical argument based on these points. Use at least five examples from each text in your answer.
This assignment is due Friday, February 12th at 9 am. Please submit these papers via Blackboard. Make sure you confirm the submission; if you do not receive an email confirming that the paper was submitted, then you did not complete the process. Late papers will be penalized 1/3 of a grade for each day they are late. Failure to use the minimum required number of examples in your paper, or the additional use of any non-course readings will result in a 2 point penalty for each infraction.
If you want me to review a draft (partial or complete) of your paper, you must submit it electronically to me by Friday, February 5th by 9 am. I will not be able to read papers submitted between the 5th and the 12th.
Requirements/recommendations for these papers:
Your essays must respond directly to the assignment. That means simply describing what happened in the readings is not sufficient; you must construct an argument that specifically answers the questions provided. Present your argument in the introduction to your essay, and then use the rest of the space to support your answer using evidence from the course materials.
Use only evidence from the course materials in your paper. Do not draw material from other websites, books, newspapers, articles, encyclopedias or any other texts. You will receive a 2-point penalty for every unapproved source you use in the paper.
BE PRECISE. BE PRECISE. BE PRECISE. Probably the biggest problem occurring in undergraduate papers is a lack of precision. Use active verbs rather than passive, and avoid using pronouns as subjects unless the antecedent is obvious. Avoid using the following words in your essays: aspect, lifestyle, thing, and impact (particularly as a verb). If you have questions about how to avoid vagueness, come ask me.
Use evidence to support your arguments. Except perhaps in the introduction and conclusion, every argument that you make should have some evidence from the course texts to support it. The requirements listed above are minimums; in most cases the more evidence you provide, the better your essay will be. Unsupported arguments are not persuasive and will damage the overall quality of your essay.
The flip side of that same point is that you should only make arguments that you have evidence to support. Don’t make counterfactual arguments, and don’t predetermine your arguments and then go seek evidence to support your claims. Build arguments based on the patterns you see in the course readings, just as we have done repeatedly in class this semester.
Cite your sources in the paper. I am not grading the form of your citations, so the form can be simple (Douglass 24, for example). All that I ask is that you make it simple for me to go back and check your citations if necessary. Any un-cited sources will be considered plagiarism, and will be penalized to the fullest extent the University allows!
Write in concise, direct, complete sentences that convey your points clearly. Use simple past tense for your verbs except in exceptional circumstances (eliminate the use of would and will before your verbs- using the subjunctive and future tense in these papers is almost always wrong). I am not grading you on your ability to construct long, complicated sentences or on your use of impressive vocabulary. I am grading your ability to write grammatically correct sentences without typos, so PROOFREAD YOUR PAPERS! The more complicated your sentence structure, the more confusing and ineffective it is likely to be.
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