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American Literature - Assignment 1: Characters Analysis

Instructor: Karen Schweitzer
If you are seeking college credit for this course, you must submit two essays and pass the proctored final exam. You must submit your essays before registering for the final. Below you will find prompts and instructions for submitting your essay.

About The Assignment

Despite its relative youth, American Literature has transformed through several different periods, each with distinct identities and purposes. In this course, you've covered several of the prominent eras and read famous works from each of them. Drawing upon these works, use the following prompt as a foundation to write a 1,000 to 1,500 word essay about the topic.

Formatting & Sources

Please write your paper in the MLA format. As part of your research, you may refer to the course material for supporting evidence, but you must also use at least four credible, outside sources and cite them using MLA format as well. Please include a mix of both primary and secondary sources, with at least one source from a scholarly peer-reviewed journal. If you use any Study.com lessons as sources, please also cite them in MLA (including the lesson title and instructor's name).

  • Primary sources are first-hand accounts such as interviews, advertisements, speeches, company documents, statements, and press releases published by the company in question.
  • Secondary sources come from peer-reviewed scholarly journals, such as the Journal of Management. You may use like JSTOR, Google Scholar, and Social Science Research Network to find articles from these journals. Secondary sources may also come from reputable websites with .gov, .edu, or .org in the domain. (Wikipedia is not a reputable source, though the sources listed in Wikipedia articles may be acceptable.)

If you're unsure about how to use MLA format for your paper and sources, please see the following lessons:

Final Essay Prompt

Several of the works in this course include characters struggling to either live by a set of standards created for them by society or by their own internal guidelines. Choose two characters from the books you have read from this course. (They must come from different works). Compare and contrast these characters, addressing issues of race, gender, and class as applicable. Explore how these characters embody what it means to be an American. Please make sure to support your explanation with examples from the text.

Grading Rubric

Your essays will be graded based on the following rubric:

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