TEXTS: One of following Selected John Donne?s Poems; Elegy V: His Picture; Elegy XVII: On His Mistress; Elegy XX: To His Mistress Going to Bed; The Flea; The Good-Morrow; Song : Go and catch a falling star; The Undertaking; The Sun Rising; The Canonization; Song : Sweetest love, I do not go; Air and Angels; The Anniversary; Twickenham Garden; Love’s Growth; The Dream; A Valediction of Weeping; Love’s Alchemy; A Nocturnal upon Saint Lucy’s Day; A Valediction Forbidding Mourning; The Ecstasy; Love’s Deity; The Will; The Expiration;
(they can be found at; http://www.literature-web.net/donne)

And the Topic is whatever comes from the text.
The thesis should be provocative, and paradoxical.
I listed below the instructor?s descriptions. Please do close reading (as in my papers) to support thesis throughout the paper (support is almost only by close reading). Close reading examples are in my papers below. Please emulate my close reading style in my papers.

Instructor?s descriptions are below;
The Meaning of Letter Grades for Your Research Papers

Grades that professors derive from a non-quantitative evaluation sometimes confuse students who have not written a great many essays before. So below I’ve outlined not an exhaustive criterion, but rather a profile of several typical qualities that earn particular grades. I hope this is helpful, but please see me if it raises any new questions.

A Range (A-, A, A+)

An original and lively thesis that is at least partially successful. Thesis is argumentative and controversial, sensitive to the text and its contexts, working against a strong counterargument into the heart of the text and enriches the reader’s appreciation of its artistic significance. Inventive or even simply sound choice and use of secondary materials. Strong evidence of having considered and re-considered both text and paper drafts. Plentiful and to-the-point close readings (but no lengthy quotations). Lively and grammatically correct prose. Strong sense of paragraphing, structure, logic and audience. Proper manuscript format, including notes and works cited list.

B Range (B-, B, B+)

Original thesis that is partially successful, but is either under ambitious or logically flawed. Contention with challenging counterargument. Sound use of secondary materials. Evidence of familiarity with nuances of the text. Evidence of multiple revision. Standard use of English (no more than, say, three errors per page). Some insightful close readings. Logical paragraphing. Good manuscript format.

The Umpteen Commandments
(subject to amendments and additions)
–Avoid beginning clauses with unattached pronouns. Not “This is because…” but “This condition is because . . .”

–Prefer the simple present to the present progressive. Not “He is running” but “He runs.”

–Cut out phrases whose absence will not change the meaning of the sentence. Not “This type of/kind of/sort of action” when “this action” will do.

–Watch out for words that have lost their meaning and/or resonance due to overuse, misuse, or lack of precision. “The book was interesting.” “The essay was descriptive.” “The performer had a unique style.” “War is the ultimate solution.” “He is a nice man.”

–Do not needlessly separate the subject from the predicate.
Needful: “Joe Ross, my boss, lives in Seattle.”
Needless: “Frank, when his brother was killed, turned himself in.”

–Use the possessive case before the gerund.
Not “Jim hitting the field goal won the game.”
But “Jim’s hitting the field goal won the game.”

–Prune intensifiers. They usually mean that the following word is not the one that precisely fits your meaning. Not “The book was extremely dull.” But “The book was tedious or stupefying or soporific.” P.S., do not intensify absolute words like unique, enigmatic, ultimate, etc. You cannot have “a touch of pregnancy” or be suffering from “a mild case of death.” So too are words like “unique” absolute: something is either unique or it is not, period.

–Make each sentence as brief as it can be while expressing what you want it to.

–If you have a choice, choose the concrete word over the abstract word. Not “He wanted a man with more strength.” But “He wanted a man with more brawn.”

–Make sure each word you choose is the most appropriate, the most precise. Otherwise, you are letting words choose the meaning rather than your choosing the meaning and finding the word that fits.

–Never needlessly use the passive voice.

–Never needlessly split infinitives.
Not “to quickly run” but “to run quickly”

–Try to make your prose “verb-centered” rather than “noun-centered.” Not “He is a sculptor” but “He sculpts.”

–Vary sentence construction and length. Use simple sentences, for example, to begin or conclude points, compound sentences to draw together two or more ideas, and complex or complex/compound sentences to explain the relationship between ideas. Most well-developed paragraphs contain all four types of sentences.

–Avoid clich?s, truisms, trite expressions, familiar metaphors, mixed metaphors, adages, and worn-out images. Ex. My “tried and true” at the beginning of this handout.

–Remember, you are inventing language and knowledge every time you write. You are creating some thing new. Make it beautiful and meaningful.

–Finally, remember that you do not know what you think about something until you have written, and rewritten and rewritten about it. You cannot be a great writer without being a great thinker: learning to write can make you smarter, honest.
An essay is an analytic or interpretive literary composition usually dealing with its subject from a limited or personal point of view. That, at least, is what my dictionary says. There are, of course, other ways to describe what an essay is, does, should be, resembles, etc. Because all the papers from this part of the course will be essays, we need to clear up exactly what this term entails. An essay is not an essay without a thesis. A thesis is an argument: in the context of this course, an argument is an interpretive response to a given text or group of texts. A thesis is never a matter of observation, but rather an uncovering of the significance of your observations. Another way to put it is that a thesis is a synthesis of the whole, explicitly supported by your analysis of the particulars. This is all a bit abstract. Let’s form some guidelines.
1) Place your thesis in the first paragraph. Remember that in an English paper the thesis should always enrich a reader’s general understanding of the literary work in question. For example, if you were to argue that such and such a character is morally good or bad, you would also need to explain to the reader why this is an important judgment, how an understanding of Mr. Such and Such as a good or bad person affects our understanding of the work in which he appears.
2) The first paragraph should also indicate to the reader how you expect to support your argument and/or what areas of the text you want to explore.
3) Your support is crucial. You cannot persuade a reader by mere assertion (“many readers find Mr. Such and Such a kind and decent character, but I don’t”). In general, move your argument from a common ground of observation to your interpretation. In other words, your thesis is always general, synthetic, and abstract, while your support is always specific, analytic, and concrete.
4) The thesis must be kinetic. As your essay is the development of an argumentative idea, your thesis cannot be static. A static thesis would be one that argues, for example, Mr. Such and Such is a bad character. On this page he does a bad thing, and them he does another bad thing on this page, and finally he does a really bad thing on the last page. Ergo, Mr. Such and Such is a bad character. This argument is static because it depends on addition to prove its point. In other words, the thesis doesn’t go anywhere. A kinetic thesis, as the name suggests, moves. The points you raise are like building blocks: you could not change the order. A kinetic thesis develops during the course of the essay and is only completed in the conclusion.
5) FIRST SENTENCE RULE: As an aid to both yourself and the reader, make sure that the first sentence of each paragraph in the body of the essay explicitly connects your thesis with the paragraph idea. This tactic will help you to avoid needless plot summary. It will also insure that your thesis is kinetic. If you find your first sentences using words like “another” or “again” or “also”, you probably do not have a kinetic thesis, but a static one.
6) When you quote a passage in an essay, you are implicitly asking the reader to look at the language therein. Do not use quotations to review the plot. A quotation should be followed by an interpretation (at least as long as the quotation itself) of the sounds, tone, word choices, and rhythm of that quotation. If you find yourself ending a paragraph with a quotation, you probably have not commented upon the essay well enough.
7) Use the historical present tense throughout your essay. Understand that events in a book are, in reality, timeless. Hence the events are always happening.
8) SO WHAT? SCHOOL OF COUCH POTATODOM: In reference to rule #1, ask yourself why your argument is important. How does it relate to the whole text? Get that reader off the sofa; tell him why he should care.
9) ARGUE THE OPPOSITE SCHOOL OF THE DEVIL: A test every thesis should undergo–state the exact opposite of your thesis. Could this opposing point of view be argued reasonably. If it could, then you probably have an arguable thesis, and that’s good. If the opposite of your thesis could not be argued reasonably, then your thesis is probably either not pointed enough or it is an observation and not an interpretation.
10) Remember to cite references correctly.
11) Remember that apostrophes exist.
12) Proofread at least twice.
13) Read your papers out loud to someone to catch the glitches of the dumb pen.

My Papers;
Close Reading;
?A Midsummer Night Dream? III.ii.128-133

Helena?s lines in ?A Midsummer Night Dream? which indicated below demonstrate doubleness and untrustworthiness of human words. In the literal context of the lines, Helena accuses Lysander?s change of his heart and courtship to two women, Hermia and Helena, but further, there is also a connotation that not men and women never keep their words.
You do advance your cunning more and more.
When truth kills truth, O devilish-holy fray!
These vows are Hermia?s. Will you give her o?er?
Weigh oath with oath, and you will nothing weigh.
Your vows to her and me, put in two scales,
Will even weigh; and both as light as tales.
Here, Helena implies doubleness in human mind by indicating the notion of ?two? in each line. As underlined above, in each line except line 131, there are repetitions of words as ?more and more,? ?truth kills truth,? and ?oath with oath,? which suggest twoness, or direct indications of twoness such as ?two? and ?both,? so that here Helena insistently emphasizes the notion of ?two.? Moreover, though in line 131, there is no indication of twoness, the name ?Hermia,? one person, in line 131 is divided up into two parts, ?her and me? in line 133. This division of a name of a person indicates that the twoness/doubleness emphasized by Helena in these lines deals with the inner face of an individual person.
Moreover, the word ?oath? reiterated twice evokes a connotation of sincerity; however, the notion of the doubleness contradicts the concept of sincerity, one genuine human feeling and accordance to it. This contradiction of doubleness and oath, sincerity, suggests that the oaths made by men and women in the ?A Midsummer Night Dream? fall into contradictions. Therefore, the words ?devilish-holy fray,? a combination of two extreme opposite concepts, ?devil? and ?holiness,? in line 129 imply the contradiction caused by doubleness.
On the contrary, the prior statement of Lysander below emphasizes on oneness of his oath.
So that but one heart we can make of it:
Two bosoms intercained with an oath,
So then two bosoms and single troth.
For lying so, Hermia, I do not lie.
Here Lysander notes the notion of oneness by saying, ?one heart,? ?an oath,? and ?single troth.? Nevertheless, ?lying? and ?lie? in the following line implies his falseness, though the word ?lying? here means ?to lay down? in the literary context.
Line 131 indicates that oaths, the words and promise by men and women, turn to nothing.
Weigh oath with oath, and you will nothing weigh.
Grammatically, the latter part of the line, ?you will nothing weigh,? should be, ?you will weigh nothing,? because any predicate, ?nothing? in this case, usually comes after verbs; however, this line changes the grammatical order and ?weigh? comes in very last of the line. Then, the whole line is formed to start and end with ?weigh,? and is split up into two parts by a comma. Further, the word ?weigh? evokes the concept of measurement or judgment. Therefore, this structure of the line itself expresses the form of ?two scales;? former part of the line before comma, ?Weigh oath with oath,? is one scale and the other is the latter after the comma, ?and you will nothing weigh.? Then, the objects measured in these scales are ?oath? in former part and ?nothing? in latter part. The result of the measurement is in line 133, ?even weigh,? which means ?oath? and ?nothing? are even; therefore, oaths means nothing; every man and woman never keeps their words.
Now therefore, the notions of doubleness/twoness imply the untrustworthiness of human words, and oaths turning to nothing prove that men and women never keep their words.

Lines #900-908 in ?Antigone? demonstrate her determination to go to the world of death with a great honor. Antigone chose to follow Zeus?s law rather than king?s law which ordered not to taking care of her brother?s dead body. Though, rebelling against king?s law, she has prepared herself for denial of her life and marriage, Antigone is still attached to the world of the living, at first. However, she finally decided to break away from her life, and to marry with death.
Look at me, men of my fatherland,
setting out on the last road
looking into the last light of day
the last I will ever see?
the god of death who puts us all to bed
takes me down to the banks of Acheron alive-
denied my part in the wedding-songs,
no wedding-song in the dusk has crowned my marriage-
I go to wed the lord of the dark waters.

A mixture of positive and negative words in lines#900-908 implies that Antigone is right between the world of death and the world of the living at that time. For example, the words ?death? and ?alive? emerge together in one sentence as below:
the god of death who puts us all to bed
takes me down to the banks of Acheron alive-

As this sentence has words of opposite meanings, Antigone lives in two opposite world; the world of death and that of the living. Antigone has gone ?down to the banks of Acheron,? between the living and the dead: she is neither dead nor alive. She does not go into the Acheron, land of the dead. It is also expressed by different way in the later lines:
I have no home on earth and none below,
not with the living not with the breathless dead.

These lines imply that if Antigone is in the cave in which she cannot get in touch with the living people though she can be physically alive, Antigone is no less than being neither the world of death nor the world of the living, right between the death and life.
At this point, however, Antigone still hesitates to go to the Acheron. Antigone is attached to the world of living. The word, ?fatherland? which is mentioned in the first line, has a notion of home which evokes a sense of nostalgia. Therefore, the word, ?fatherland? implies that she is still looking for her home in the world of living. The word, ?last,? which is reiterated three times, gives readers a strong sense of Antigone regretting her final parting from the world of living. She is very nostalgic up to this point of the lines.
In the latter part of the lines, there are combinations of positive and negative words, and these combinations of the words suggest that Antigone has despaired for the world of living, and that, for Antigone, end of life, death, turns to honorable happiness. As indicated below, words which have positive connotation of life and those which have negative connotation of death are connected each other:
no wedding-song in the dusk has crowned my marriage-
I go to wed the lord of the dark waters.

?Dusk,? which is associated with the notion of a beginning of the end, is connected to the honorable word, ?crowned.? ?Wed,? which is a suggestive word of beginning of happiness, is connected to the word, ?dark,? which evokes the notion of night, ends of things. Dusk-crowned combination suggests that Antigone puts honor on the meaning of her death. Her death is going with great honors, because her death is a consequence of her following the Zeus? law. The wed-dark combination means that she found her happiness in the end of her life; therefore, she decided to go into the Acheron positively.
Given that, I would like to conclude that these lines are expressing the determination of Antigone?s later suicide, and her death is highly honored as the word, ?crowned? indicates.