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CUNY Lehman College Cinematic & Literary Evil in East of Eden Novel Discussion Paper

CUNY Lehman College Cinematic & Literary Evil in East of Eden Novel Discussion Paper

Question Description

I have a twofold ambition with this mini-essay assignment; and so please do aim to conform your ambitions while writing this mini-essay to my twofold ambition:

1. The first of my two ambitions (goals) is to impart what have always been to me the three most infallible and indispensable elements to all excellent scholarly essays, all scholarly writing.

I will elaborate on the function / purpose of each element further down below. But here they are in short-form:

(a) a Title Question– TQ

(b) a Thesis Response– TR

(c) Evidence Subsections– ESSs

(d) a fourth element is optional: Conclusion (C).

So each of your essays (1.5 pages in length) should include a TA, a TR, and at least one ESS or two.

2. The second of my ambitions is to highlight the process by which one may write an essay on the subject of “variety,” in particular “Varieties of Cinematic & Literary Evil.”

Why are we writing on “variety”?

Because to explore “variety” is to explore “distinctions” — it is to explore what distinctly makes, say, book A uniquely book A and not book B? And to explore “distinctions” is to explore the ways in which one universal form or theme – for example, the theme “evil in persons and in the world” as found in film and literature– may be comprehended and imaginatively expressed in a variety of unique and distinct ways.

We are correct to understand each of our films or books as one distinct form on one universal and perennial theme: in other words, each of our works gives themselves to be a unique (distinct) expression like no other expression on a common theme: Evil.. and it’s opposite, “the Good.”

This is why I have comprehended our course on evil as a theme-and-variations course — so that we may aim to glimpse the truth that evil has an almost infinite plethora of distinct guises and/ or varieties that may be isolated, named (categorized, compartmentalized), and described — by means of evidence (ESSs) — in their uniqueness as a distinct form or theme of evil.

In short, scholars are essentially in the business of making, highlighting, foregrounding, explicating distinctions.

* * * *

What is the function / purpose of each of our 3 (potentially 4) essay elements?

(a) Title Question – TQ

With regard to all essay writing in general, you should understand your essay as:

.. an extended response — modeled on a short-version response (a TR) — to an interesting or thought-provoking or enigmatic question (a TQ) and supported by evidence (ESSs).

Therefore, it’s very wise essay-writing practice to get in the habit of always titling your essay with a Title Question (TQ) …in boldface font.

For example – “Varieties of Cinematic & Literary Evil — What Are They?”

For your mini-essays, you may either use this above Title Question (TQ) as it is; or you may paraphrase it; or you may think up a title question that communicates the same essential meaning in your own words.

(b) Title Response – TR

With regard to all essay writing in general, you should understand your thesis (which I’d like somewhere in your first paragraph, ideally as the last sentence of your first paragraph) as a “TR,” a Thesis Response — a response to your TQ, your Title Question.

For example — “…there are many varieties of cinematic and literary evil; and while each variety may share common features with all the other varieties, this essay will nevertheless aim to map out two distinct varieties…” [in your mini-essay, you are NOT asked to keep your TR in boldface text, keep in plain text.]

For your mini-essays, you may either use this above Thesis Response as it is; or you may paraphrase it; or you may think up a thesis response that communicates the same essential meaning in your own words.

(c) Evidence Subsections – ESSs

With regard to all essay writing in general, you should understand your Evidence Subsections (ESSs) as the sections in your paper — all the sections subsequent to your introductory paragraph — as the places where you will be aiming to persuade your reader of the truth-value of your Thesis Response.

With regard to this mini-essay 1 in particular, these ESSs (you should include at least two) should consist of one variety of evil drawn from either one of our course’s films or literary works or drawn from any film or literary work on evil of your choice.

You should be at least trying your best to communicate to your reader something — anything — that is unique, distinct, about the cinematic or literary work that you choose.

In these Evidence Subsections, you’ll be (1) using quotes and (2) explicating quotes:

In other words, with the interest of expressing the particular / distinct variety of evil from a book or from a film that you have isolated, you will be (1) mobilizing quotes; and also you’ll be (2) explicating these quotes in the interest of expressing the particular / distinct variety of evil in a book or in a film that you have isolated.

In essay-writing, we generally use words from “primary works” — the aesthetic imaginative works themselves, i.e., an imaginative film or a book — and “secondary sources” — these being critical commentaries by critics on primary works from the realms of the arts and entertainment.

Note that for mini-essay 1 (due March 19th), you are not asked to use “secondary sources”; you are only asked to use (a) the words from the primary work which you have chosen and (2) your own words consisting of an explication of the “primary” words that you chose — i.e., the quotes you chose — for the purpose of highlighting a given “variety” of either literary or cinematic evil.


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