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The first of my two ambitions (goals) is to impart what have always been to me the three most infallible and indispensable elements to all excellent scholarly essays, all scholarly writing.
I will elaborate on the function / purpose of each element further down below. But here they are in short-form:
(a) a Title Question- TQ
(b) a Thesis Response- TR
(c) Evidence Subsections- ESSs
(d) a fourth element is optional: Conclusion (C).
So each of your essays (5-6 pages in length) should include a TA, a TR, and at least 4 titled ESSs.
2. The second of my ambitions is to highlight the process by which one may write an essay on the subject of "variety," in particular "Varieties of Literary Utopianism."
Why are we writing on "variety"?
Because to explore "variety" is to explore "distinctions" -- it is to explore what distinctly makes, say, book A uniquely book A and not book B? And to explore "distinctions" is to explore the ways in which one universal form or theme - for example, the theme or urge for "utopia in persons and in the world" as found in literature-- may be comprehended and imaginatively expressed in a variety of unique and distinct ways.
We are correct to understand each of our literary works as one distinct form on one universal and perennial theme: in other words, each of our works gives themselves to be a unique (distinct) expression like no other expression on a common theme: the urge for utopia.
This is why I have comprehended our course on literary utopias as a theme-and-variations course -- so that we may aim to glimpse the truth that the "urge for utopia" has an almost infinite plethora of distinct guises and/ or varieties that may be isolated, named (categorized, compartmentalized), and described -- by means of evidence (ESSs) -- in their uniqueness as a distinct form or theme of utopia.
In short, scholars are essentially in the business of making, highlighting, foregrounding, explicating distinctions, varieties.
* * * *
What is the function / purpose of each of our 3 (potentially 4) essay elements?
(a) Title Question - TQ
With regard to all essay writing in general, you should understand your essay as:
.. an extended response --- modeled on a short-version response (a TR) -- to an interesting or thought-provoking or enigmatic question (a TQ) and supported by evidence (ESSs).
Therefore, it's very wise essay-writing practice to get in the habit of always titling your essay with a Title Question (TQ) ...in boldface font.
For example - "Varieties of Literary Utopia or Utopianism -- What Are They?"
For your mini-essays, you may either use this above Title Question (TQ) as it is; or you may paraphrase it; or you may think up a title question that communicates the same essential meaning in your own words.
(b) Title Response - TR
With regard to all essay writing in general, you should understand your thesis (which I'd like somewhere in your first paragraph, ideally as the last sentence of your first paragraph) as a "TR," a Thesis Response -- a response to your TQ, your Title Question.
For example -- "...there are many varieties of literary utopianism; and while each variety may share common features with all the other varieties, this essay will nevertheless aim to map out a few distinct varieties..." [in your mini-essay, you are NOT asked to keep your Thesis Response in boldface text, keep in plain text.]
For your essay 1, you may either use this above Thesis Response as it is; or you may paraphrase it; or you may think up a thesis response that communicates the same essential meaning in your own words.
(c) Evidence Subsections - ESSs
With regard to all essay writing in general, you should understand your Evidence Subsections (ESSs) as the sections in your paper -- all the sections subsequent to your introductory paragraph -- as the places where you will be aiming to persuade your reader of the truth-value of your Thesis Response, and you will perform this act of persuasion by means of "evidence," namely quotes and your explication of quotes.
With regard to essay 1 in particular, these ESSs (you should include at least four) should consist of one variety of evil drawn from either one of our course's literary works or drawn from any literary work on "utopia" of your choice.
You should be at least trying your best to communicate to your reader something -- anything -- that is unique, distinct about the literary work on utopia that you choose.
In these 4 Evidence Subsections, you'll be (1) using quotes and (2) explicating quotes:
In other words, with your eye fixed on the task of expressing the particular / distinct varieties of utopia from the books that you have isolated, you will be (1) mobilizing quotes; and also you'll be (2) explicating these quotes, again, always in the interest of expressing the particular / distinct varieties of utopia from the books on utopia that you have isolated.
Primary Versus Secondary Works / Sources
In essay-writing, we generally use words from "primary works" -- the aesthetic imaginative works themselves, i.e., an imaginative film or a book -- and "secondary sources" -- these being critical commentaries by critics on primary works from the realm of arts-and-entertainment.
Note that for essay 1 (due March 19th), you are not asked to use "secondary sources"; you are only asked to use (a) the words from the primary works which you have chosen and (2) your own words consisting of an explication of the "primary" words that you have chosen -- i.e., the quotes you have chosen -- for the purpose of highlighting a given "variety" of literary utopia or utopianism.
For mini-essay 2 (due May 25th), you're task will be easy: you will simply weave into the 4 Evidence Subsections of essay 1 the words of "secondary sources" -- i.e., the words of critics -- who will help you to lend support to your Thesis, your Thesis Response (above).
One last instruction: please title your two Evidence Subsections with a catchy title that serves to encapsulate the material just beneath your title.
Catchy titles for ESSs serve to visually cue your reader into the recognition that he / she is in a separate isolated section of the essay and that this section has a clearly identifiable purpose; and titles serve to offer cues and clues about the textual material that is about to follow.
For example, you might title an Evidence Subsection something like the following, insofar as all the following titles point to a variety of utopia and therefore lend evidence to the your Thesis Response -
Gynocratic Utopianism in Aristophanes' Play The Assemblywomen, or
The Pitfalls of "Back-to-Nature" Utopianism in H.G. Wells' novel A Modern Utopia, or
Communist Utopianism in Thomas More's Utopia
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