For this assignment, you will write a 900-1200 word, double-spaced paper focusing on a single sin from Dante’s Purgatorio or William Langland’s Piers Plowman; or, you can compare the portrayal o

For this assignment, you will write a 900-1200 word, double-spaced paper focusing on a single sin from Dante’s Purgatorio or William Langland’s Piers Plowman; or, you can compare the portrayal of a single sin across both texts. Make a clear and compelling argument about your chosen sin and support it with textual evidence (quotations) from that text. Make sure your argument contains two vital components: a clearly-articulated, provocative, and interesting “what” (a statement, observation, or fact) and “so what” (why it’s important, why it matters, what its significance is). Then support your argument with textual evidence and close reading analysis. Each paragraph should develop its own miniature claim in support of your argument, with its own “what” and “so what.” What imagery or diction is deployed in the text, and why is it interesting or significant? What literary devices—alliteration, metaphor, simile, repetition, apostrophe—are used, and what is their overall effect? How does rhyme work in the poem? What words or images are linked by rhyme, and what do you make of this linkage? What is the logic of the poem’s stanza structure? What does your passage’s language emphasize or focus upon, and what does it overlook or neglect? Don’t feel that you have to answer all (or any) of these questions; they’re simply ways to get you thinking about the text. I’d like for you to stick to citing the Purgatorio or Piers Plowman, focusing on close reading rather than additional secondary research. If you would like to discuss ideas or arguments for your paper, please don’t hesitate to set up an appointment during my office hours or send me an email. If you are planning to come by my office hours, please send me an email first to set up a specific time, since my office hours become very busy in the weeks before a paper due date, and I want to honor your time and give you individualized attention. For guidelines on formatting and other expectations, please see the section “General Guidelines for Assignments” on page 3 of the course syllabus. Please do not submit your paper without looking at this first. You do not need to include a Works Cited page with your essay. A Note on Citations (PAY VERY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THIS): When quoting poetry or drama, always cite the canto/act/scene + line number(s) in parentheses, with a period between the canto/act/scene and line(s). Make sure to indicate line breaks with a slash mark (/). If you are quoting three or more lines, quote them as a block quotation, indented, without quotation marks, unless you’re quoting dialogue or direct speech. Example #1: The Dante-narrator repeatedly uses the adjective “livid” (14.84) to characterize the terrace of Envy. Example #2: Lavinia emphasizes the costs of her mother Amata’s anger when she implores, “O queen, why for / anger have you wished to be nothing?” (17.35-36). Example #3: The Dante-narrator draws a sharp contrast between David’s humility and Michal’s pride: There, preceding the holy vessel, leaping with His robes girt up, was the humble Psalmist, and he Was both more and less than king on that occasion. Opposite, portrayed at a window of a great palace, Michal was gazing out like a disdainful, wicked woman. (10.64-69)







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