First Essay Prompt: The Odyssey
Deadline: Monday September 18th 11pm
Length: 4 – 5 pages (1000-1250 words)
Format: Typed, double-spaced, 12-pt. standard font (Times New Roman) one-inch margins,
8.5×11 paper. MLA citation.
The first essay on The Odyssey is a formal, academic essay of literary analysis.
You will develop a strong and coherent argument, supported through textual
evidence (citations, quotes), and developed through a detailed close reading of the language and
formal features of the text.
This paper requires a close reading of The Odyssey and not secondary material research, but if you do use any external sources, make sure to cite them explicitly and carefully. Be sure to cite the text carefully and use MLA formatting with a Works Cited page. Remember the injunction against plagiarism. Plagiarism is a serious offense and will be reported to the Dean. A
plagiarized essay will receive an F grade.
Focus on specific examples from the text and be sure to support your argument with quotations. In citing these passages, explain both what they mean and address the language of the passage. That is, give your interpretation of the citations. This is the main task of an academic essay of literary analysis. You need to discuss both what is written and how it is written, and how these relate. You can focus on word choice, connotations, figurative language (metaphor, simile), imagery, tone, characterization, the scene, plot placement, etc…
I will be looking for four key things:
(1) a coherent, developed argument: you should have a thesis, and your paper should be structured and organized to support that thesis. You should aim for complexity.
(2) a close reading of textual evidence: quotations to support your argument, interpretation of the language of the text, relating the meaning (the ‘what’) to the form (the ‘how’). Avoid general plot summary, broad statements (“Since the beginning of time…”).
(3) a clear and well-written paper: make sure you strive for clarity, which can be affected by organization, grammar and spelling, avoiding awkward phrasing and wording.
(4) Correctly employ MLA citation and formatted as above.
Metamorphosis in the original Greek means, roughly, “after a certain form”. (Meta meaning after and Morphe meaning form) To us, a metamorphosis indicates a change or transformation. In The Odyssey, there are countless transformations both physical and metaphysical that occur. What is the importance of metamorphosis for this text? What are the ways in which changes (supernatural, emotional, or physical) are crucial? Examine the theme of transformation and moments of transformation through close reading.