Analyze what  Rebecca HARDING Davis seems to be saying about the American Dream and how we can reach our full potential.  Is her story challenging the idea of the dream as the successful expression of ourselves that can overcome all other influences?  Does Davis’ story show that Emerson’s ideal of the artist as a non-conformist is not really attainable or practical?   Does the story demonstrate that it takes more than just self-reliance to be successful?   Consider Dr. May’s ideas about self-reliance as you develop your essay.






Textual Support:  Consider grounding your discussion in the ideas discussed by Emerson in “The American Scholar” or “Self-Reliance” to set up the concerns regarding American identity and how that is portrayed through literature.  You’ll also, of course, use quotations from the texts that you are analyzing. Do not use The Scarlet Letter for this assignment.




Length:  Your essay should have no fewer than five paragraphs (you’ll actually need more) and should be no fewer than 1250-1500 words (approximately five double-spaced pages in Times New Roman 12 point), not counting the title page and references page.  Note that this is a minimum length.




Thesis Statement:  Please formulate a clear thesis statement that directly presents your argument point.  Do not use a purpose statement, a quotation,  or question as your thesis.  Please see page 11 of The Writer’s Brief Handbook for a discussion of how the thesis should function.  Consider previewing the main literary texts you are analyzing in that thesis and/or the introduction paragraph.




Organization:  This will likely vary, but since we’re using that issue of the “past” and concern over being restricted to old forms and imitation to  “frame” our discussion, you might choose to organize your essay in such a way that shows that concern and the lingering references to the past in the literary works you are analyzing and then that shows the author’s balancing of the past and those ideas of progression and/or nonconformity.




Note that this type of paper does not rely on plot summaries.  While you do want to provide a bit of context for the literary texts you are analyzing, this should be done fairly quickly and concisely so you can move on to using those texts to support your larger analysis/argument thesis.




Additional Requirements:


·        Do not use first person (“I” or “we”) or second person (“you”) in this essay.  The focus is on textual analysis and making a larger interpretive argument, so personal experience and narrative tone are not appropriate.


·        Do not rely on large, block quotations for support.  Ideally, your paper will not contain block quotations, as you’ll be using paraphrase and concise quotations.


·        Your paper should be edited.  Make sure you’ve spelled authors’ names correctly and employ spell checker.


·        Your assignment should be in APA format with a title page and references page.  Note that the entire paper should be double-spaced and should use APA style citations.




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