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ENG 201-1020: Introduction to Literature [Online] Fall 2021

Dr. Adrian Versteegh


Paper #2: Due via Blackboard before video session on Oct. 16


Address the prompt below in a thesis-driven essay of at least four full pages [double-spaced, in 12-point Times New Roman]. Be sure to support your argument with specific evidence drawn from the text. Avoid simply rehearsing remarks already covered in class and strive instead for an original reading that showcases your own interpretation. Remember that what follows is a prompt rather than a simple series of questions, and you need not account for every suggestion it raises. Narrow your response to a single, well-defined thesis that can be defended with appropriate citations. Also, bear in mind that an argumentative paper [especially one this short] generally avoids summary and long quotation. Assume that your reader is already an expert [or is at least posing as one]. Don’t retell the story; argue for your particular reading.


“If a writer of prose knows enough of what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one- eighth of it being above water” [Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon].


Choose a series of details, images, or phrases from Ernest Hemingway’s “Big Two-Hearted River” and use them to develop a thesis about how the story employs his “iceberg theory” of writing. What do the moments you’ve selected reveal about the unwritten “truth” beneath the surface of the text? How do they suggest what remains unsaid? How does this contribute to the meaning of the piece? In your view, is Hemingway’s style effective? You may wish to consider the deleted ending of the story [which we encountered as “On Writing”]. Was Hemingway right to cut this section? How might the inclusion of these pages change our reading of the story?


Papers will be graded on strength of argument [tenability of thesis, effective use of evidence, and overall persuasiveness]; clarity of expression [organization, style, and writing mechanics]; adherence to correct structure and formatting; and originality. As with all written work in this course, essays should follow MLA format [see the syllabus and the links provided for details, or use the library to find a guide to current MLA style]. They are due via the portal on Blackboard before our usual video meeting on October 16 at 10am. Be sure to follow the online instructions precisely. Late work cannot be accepted.

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