the screwtape lettersPaper instructions:

Now is the time to write your first major paper, which will be on C.S. Lewis’s novel The Screwtape Letters.

You will write a position paper on the text and use quotes from the novel to support your claim. You will need to use at least three theories of comedy to support your thesis and also help explain what is happening in Lewis’s story. Try to also use some of the annotated information where possible.

A position paper is an analysis essay: analysis is only possible if stories, dramas, and narratives mean something beyond the surface. Usually, this meaning requires some interpretive activity to make that ‘something’ clear to someone else, which is what you will do in your paper on Screwtape.

Often a good interpretive paper asks questions and then answers them. Your paper needs an argument that is debatable. Here is an example of a poor thesis statement: “Shakespeare’s Hamlet is about a prince who seeks revenge.” This statement is not a good argument because it cannot be debated. A better argument would be, “Hamlet experiences internal conflict because he is in love with his mother.” This is a very controversial claim. However, a student can take this argument as his or her thesis if, throughout the paper, he or she shows (1) how Hamlet is in love with his mother, (2) why he’s in love with her, and (3) what implications there are for reading the play in this manner.

This is what I want you to do with the inverted world of C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters. You will argue that your perspective on the novel is a valid one and support your argument with the theories of comedy we have discussed in class as well as the research in the annotated text.

Just to recap, a good position paper on Screwtape will do the following things:
1.It has a debatable thesis.
2.It avoids the obvious (or it does not argue a conclusion that most readers could have reached on their own)
3.It supports its argument with strong evidence from the text (short quotations, paraphrases, closed readings, etc.)
4.It supports its argument with a few of the theories of comedy that we are discussing in class.
5.It makes explicit use of scholarly information in the annotated text to help support its argument.
6.It uses careful reasoning to explain how the evidence presented relates to the controlling idea of the paper.
7.Avoids plagiarism (or even the appearance of plagiarism).
8.If using block quotes, use them only from The Screwtape letters (not the theories); limit yourself to no more than 2 blocked quotes, and each should be no longer than 200 words.

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