The essay should be a substantial, original, and polished contribution to our un

The essay should be a substantial, original, and polished contribution to our understanding of some of the issues explored by the course. One possible way to approach this essay is as an expansion and refinement of one of the short essays from earlier this semester. However, you may end up taking your ideas in quite a different direction than you have before, or explore areas we’ve only covered briefly. That’s fine: anything brought up can provide you with a starting point.
One difference from the previous short essays is that while there, your main task was to illuminate a specific text, here, you should also be using your analysis to shed light on a larger social or cultural issue. You should also use at least three additional (critical, theoretical, or other) sources, assigned or found through research, to add complexity, depth, and credibility to your inquiry.
The requirements of the essay assignment are:
*An original question or problem, derived from your careful examination of materials.
*Analysis of at least one primary text (novel) assigned in the course.( Stendhal, The Red and the Black; Jane Austen, Mansfield Park; Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground; Tao Lin, Taipei; Olivia Sudjic, Sympathy)
*Discussion of at least one secondary (theoretical) text assigned in the course. (Samuel, Burgis, Veblen, Lukács, Girard, etc, etc)(
*Discussion of at least four texts found through independent research.
*A concluding insight that contributes to our understanding of the course’s guiding questions.
*A minimum of 5 full pages, and maximum of 8 full pages of writing (double-spaced, 12 pt font, 1.25” maximum margins; the Works Cited is not factored into the page count).
*Correct MLA formatting, including a heading, a title (an interesting one!), and page numbers.
*Correct MLA citation, including parenthetical page citations and a Works Cited list.
Mansfield Park
Mimetic desire
Envy, jealousy
The Red and the Black
Internal/external mediation
Notes from Underground
Pecuniary emulation
The leisure class
Various critical texts (Samuel, Burgis, Veblen, Lukács, Girard, etc, etc)
Invidious comparison
COURSE OBJECTIVE REMINDR:“We want what other people want because other people want it.” So the writer Dayna Tortorici has characterized the phenomenon of mimetic desire: desire not motivated by the intrinsic value of an object, but by the fact that other people also desire it. Advertisers have long tapped into this deep impulse, and recent years, social media has allowed us to observe other people’s consumption habits instantaneously, filling us with near constant “FOMO” and envy. However, this is only the latest evolution of the modern experience of desire, which has been shaped for centuries by cutthroat social competition and consumer capitalism. Long before the rise of social media, the technology that revealed this sort of conflict most vividly was the novel, which came to prominence alongside urban consumer societies in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
In this course, we will explore the relationship between imitation, competition, and human wants. Informed by the ideas of the late René Girard, the most prominent theorist of mimetic desire, we will read novels from the 19th and early 21st centuries that dramatize these phenomena. We will also examine the evolution of social media platforms in counterpoint with these literary works, which will enable deeper insight into social dynamics that now shape culture and politics.
The final paper will be graded primarily on the basis of the following questions:
*How clear, interesting, and original is the question/problem being investigated?
*How in-depth and insightful is the analysis of primary textual evidence? (Are the discussions of texts organized around questions, claims, and insights, rather than around plot summary?)
*How thoughtful and complex is the use of secondary (critical or theoretical) texts? (Do those texts open up new questions and problems, or are they merely recapitulated uncritically?)
*Does the essay arrive at new insights about the issues addressed?
*Is the writing free of typos, comma splices, run ons, and other basic errors?
*Is the writing clear, compelling, and oriented toward maintaining a reader’s interest?
*Has the writer made the effort to ensure that formatting and citation match MLA rules?
An “A” essay will be one in which the answer is “very much so”/”yes” to all of the above questions.
A “B”-range essay will be one where the answer is “no” to one or more of the above questions.
A “C”-range essay will be one where the answer is “no” to half or more of the above questions.

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