(need to read the book before starting the essay, the whole essay is depends on the readings.)
Please format your
essays in US Letter (not A3) size at 12 points in the Times New Roman font, doublespaced.
Examine one or more of the literary texts we have read ( in this essay, the The tale of Genji), just about any comparative, analytical or critical approach is fine; it is up to you. One
effective method is to choose one theme or issue and use it as a point of comparison
between texts, or between different chapters or sections of a longer text. In any case,
your paper needs to be built around an argument that is worth making. This
argument should not be so obvious that there is no need to go about supporting it.
(I.e., if your argument can be paraphrased by saying “these two texts are the same, except
for where they are different,” or “Genji appears to be attracted to women said to resemble
his mother,” you need a new argument.) I encourage students to come up with their own
topics, but if you decide that you would rather be assigned a topic, please let me know.
Even if I assign you a topic, it is up to you to come up with the central argument.
No additional reading or research is necessary, but it is not forbidden, either.
Avoid saying something is “interesting”; it does not constitute a sufficiently weighty
argument, and it is in fact very boring to write in a paper that something is “interesting.”
Consult the citation guidelines, etc., given in the MLA Handbook. (If you wish, you may
use another style manual such as The Chicago Manual of Style).
Please also at least
consider the style guidelines in Elements of Style.
Les bêtes noires de David Gundry:
Bad: “Ōshima’s opinion with regards to U.S. military bases in Japan…”
Good: “Ōshima’s opinion with regard to U.S. military bases in Japan…”
Even better (because more concise): “Ōshima’s opinion regarding U.S. military bases
Bad: “This argument is obviously based off of Bakhtin’s writings on dialogism in
Good: “This argument is obviously based on Bakhtin’s writings on dialogism in fiction.”
Please note that when writing about films or works of literature the convention is to
use, in most cases, the “historical present” to describe their content and to use some
form of past tense when describing the historical framework in which they were
produced or are set.
“Among the Heian-period aristocracy, skill at calligraphy and poetry composition were
important for maintaining and improving one’s social standing. Characters in The Tale of
Genji frequently evaluate others on the basis of their handwriting and poetry.”
Generally I recommend the following structure, with which most of you are probably
Introduction, which should include a thesis statement (i.e., a succinct statement of your
main argument, preferably in your first paragraph).
Evidence for your thesis (the bulk of the paper).
Conclusion (to some extent a restatement of the points introduced in the introduction)