Knowledge Project

For this project, you will be writing a thematic analysis paper. This is your final paper for high school English, and it should demonstrate everything you have learned not only in this unit, but in this class, and in your entire high school career.

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Your paper will compare and contrast Macbeth with another piece that we read in this class. This means that first, you will need to choose a theme from Macbeth(knowledge, ambition, etc.), and then choose another story from this course that handles a similar theme.

The focus of your paper should be on how this theme is developed throughout each story. You should show how the writer uses the plot, characters, sequencing, or other techniques to create a conclusion about this theme. (For example, “Shakespeare uses the genre of tragedy to show us how ambition can lead to an ultimate downfall.”) Then, deepen the conversation by adding a comparison and contrast to another piece we read in this class. (“In contrast, the genre of epic glorifies ambition, which we see clearly through the way Beowulf boasts about his strength and then goes on to slay his enemies.”)

Focus on these points:

Focus on these points:

What assertion does the story make about the theme? (Ambition is dangerous. Femininity does not mean weakness or frailty.)
What techniques does the writer use to create this assertion? (Characters, plot, genre, literary devices, etc.)
What similarities are there between the themes in the two stories? (Both Macbeth and Beowulf are prime examples of masculinity.)
What significant differences are there between the themes in the two stories? (Macbeth ultimately destroys his community, his loved ones, and himself; Beowulf uses his strength to save people from a terrible monster.)
What can we learn about this theme from the comparison and contrast of these two stories? (While we see ambition, strength, and cruelty as essential parts of masculinity in these two stories, it is in the selfishness of the individual that danger lies.)

For an additional level of challenge, you may consider adding a third story that we studied in class to your essay. For my example topic of Masculinity, I chose to write about Macbeth and Beowulf. Adding a discussion of King Arthur might provide another dimension. However, discussing the three stories is optional.

Your paper must include textual analysis. (Review this unit’s close reading pages to review.) Use a minimum of six passages (quotes) from the stories throughout your paper (at least one per story, per body paragraph).

This essay should be between two and five pages (500-1250 words) in length. Your final draft should be saved and submitted as a .doc or .pdf file. It should be in 12-point font in Times New Roman.

10% of your grade will be on grammar and mechanics. Write as clearly and correctly as you can. This means that 90% of your grade is based on your ideas – however, you will not earn an A if you do not proofread carefully and check for errors.

Most importantly, remember this is a culminating project for English 12. Your essay should show everything you have learned throughout the class.

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