The Rape of the Lock

Discuss generic satire as it appears in Pope’s “The Rape of the Lock.”As with any college-level essay, the paper must have a clear and well-defined

thesis statement;
that is, your paper should forward some sort of argument that comes from your own
interpretation of the text. A good thesis or argument must prove profound enough to sustain a
paper of 4-5 pages in length, while simultaneously being narrow enough in focus such that you
can adequately address your argument in the space permitted. This means that you may want to
focus on a single narrative for your paper, though you may wish to compare and contrast a single
theme from one work of literature as it appears in another. I would not suggest dealing with
more than two works as it will doubtlessly dilute your argument and any thorough treatment of
the evidence.
Though you will necessarily have to contextualize your argument within the narrative/narratives
you have chosen to analyze, this paper is NOT a “book report” and should NOT rely on
summary to pad or otherwise dominate your paper. Thus, you can assume that your audience is
an informed one, familiar with the work of literature at hand, but may need a few refreshers on
the finer points of the narrative necessary to make your argument.
Be sure to draw adequate evidence from your text in order to prove your point. In other words,
the text/texts you have chosen to analyze are your primary source of evidence and should be used
accordingly. You will want to cite frequently (though not overly long) from your text/texts,
taking care to perform a “close reading” and fully expound upon the quotations you have
excised. Per standard procedure you will want to provide citations for your quotes. In this
instance, you will likely want to provide a bibliographical entry at the end of the paper noting the
original author (if known) and the identity of the translation or edition used. Then within the
body of the paper you will want to use either internal citations or footnotes to identify specific
page numbers and/or line numbers from which you have drawn your evidence (in verse, usually
line numbers are appropriate, where the page range is provided in the bibliographical citation).
You are not required to use any secondary sources for this paper. After all, this exercise is about
your ability to offer a “close reading” of a text, not your ability to analyze others’ thoughts on a
given subject. That said, if you feel you need certain outside authorities to help set up your
argument or elucidate any problematic terms or textual cruces, then, by all means draw upon
secondary sources. If you choose to do so, you must acknowledge your sources via standard
MLA format.

 

 

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