) conduct a close reading of the novel based upon the question chosen and 2) do research to support your argument. Here are the questions:
1. According to the novel, how does the Ibo culture, and Okonkwo specifically, divide up qualities based on gender, especially strength vs. weakness? Analyze a specific example from the novel to show how gender is applied to concepts other than a person’s biological sex.
2. Look up the word hubris. What does it mean and how does it apply to Okonkwo? Explain the significance of hubris in this novel.
3. Do you know what locusts usually represent in literature? If not, look it up. Now, relate the significance of locusts to this novel. In what way are the locusts in the novel foreshadowing and perhaps ironic. What is their significance?
4. How does the last paragraph in the novel change our entire understanding of the whole story? In effect, what does that paragraph, like colonialism, do to the Ibo people?
Here are the directions for the writing the paper:
1) A close reading of a text means that you look very closely at just one or two texts, selecting important passages to quote and analyze closely for the way they lead to a particular understanding of the work as a whole. Every point you make in your argument should be supported by direct evidence from the text. Direct evidence includes direct quotes as well as brief descriptions of important events when necessary. Do not speak about the texts generally or in chronological or plot summary order (example: and then this happened, then that happened), but make particular points about the texts that build upon one another. It will be required that you use at least one quote from the novel in each body paragraph. Do not use more than two quotes per paragraph, and use no more than one block quote (over 4 lines long) in the entire paper.
2) You are required to use TWO sources other than the novel. The research component of this assignment is meant to help you make your writing more informed. Things that you can research include: background on the history, biographical information for Chinua Achebe, any outside ideas you want to bring in to your analysis (example: a social or psychological theory), or what other literary critics (especially scholars and experts) have said about the meaning/interpretation of the novel. For example, you could quote what a professor said about how to interpret the novel. The requirement for research is that sources must be either from the Broward College library or from a website that ends in .edu. Websites that end in .org, .com, etc. will not be accepted (no Sparknotes or Wikipedia). It is required that you review everything under the Research Paper folder under the Survival Guide for Essays Module so you can understand the research expectations for this essay.
Requirements for writing this essay include: MLA formatting (including in-text citations and a Works Cited); consulting the materials that I post on D2L under Handouts and Materials; using lots of quotes that you explain and analyze; 1000 words minimum, double-spaced, using Times New Roman size 12 font. Please note that the Works Cited page will NOT count toward the word requirement.
Thesis Statement: Your paper is required to have a thesis statement. A thesis statement is a sentence that states your main argument. It should be located in your first paragraph (typically at the end of the first paragraph). This is not a statement that says: “this is what I will discuss.” Rather, it is an argument; in other words, it will concisely sum up your overall point in the paper. I will give you sample thesis statements on D2L. Remember, the most important thing to do when writing a thesis is to ask yourself: so what? What is my point? Make sure that your thesis answers this question.