Literature 450

Fall 2012


Structure for Exam Two — Take-Home Essay Outline

Instead of writing an in-class or out-of-class essay for Exam Two, you will be conceiving of an essay, composing an outline for that essay, and briefly presenting your essay idea to your peers during one of our final courses: December 6 or December 11.  In short, you will conceive, but not fully execute, an essay regarding the Section II materials. 

Exam Two will be worth 25% of the final grade, with the vast majority of the grade (85%) based on your written outline rather than on your brief oral presentation of that outline in class.

The essay must focus on a topic found two of three of the Sigmund Freud books and one of the Hitchcock films of your choice.  That is, select two books from the following, Dora: An Analysis of a Case of Hysteria, Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, and Civilization and Its Discontents, excluding one book as you see fit, and select one film from the following, The Birds, Rope, and Rear Window, excluding two films as you see fit. 

In addition, you should utilize at least ONE of the works of criticism covered in the final section of the class: Toril Moi’s “Representation of Patriarchy,” Elizabeth Cowie’s “Rear Window Ethics,” Slavoj Žižek’s Looking Awry, Amy Lawrence’s “American Shame,” and Lee Edelman’s “Compassion’s Compulsion” (from No Future).  These works (or excerpts from them) are all available in the Electronic Reserves.




Essay Outline Requirements:


I. Descriptive Title:

A phrase for a title indicating the topic that you will be discussing and preferably, if possible, your stance with regards to that topic as well.


II. Introductory Paragraph:

A complete, well-written paragraph that includes the following:



III. Body Paragraphs

A series of at least four complete, well-written, argumentative sentences that would serve as the opening, “topic sentences” for the four (or more) paragraphs that would follow if you were actually writing the entire essay. 

Topic sentences are particular subsets of the more general thesis statement — four specific claims that together support the main argument as a whole.  These, too, must be debatable rather than descriptive.


IV. Application to a Critical Theorist

Pick one body paragraph to write out completely.  This paragraph must use in a substantive fashion two quotes, one quotation from your first Freud book and another from the criticism.  The paragraph must also contain at least a brief quote from the third secondary source (either the second Freud book or the work of criticism, whichever was not used for the longer quotes).


Type that passage out in full on the outline, and then do the following:

Task  1:           Explicate the argument of the two longer quotations, making sure to attend to its full complexity;

Task  2:           Explain how the passages relate to your essay topic and serves to support your argument;

Task  3:           Critically discuss the quotation, clarifying your own position with regards to it.