Guidelines for Interpretive Essays History 170, Spring 2010 February, 2010

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1 Guidelines for Interpretive Essays History 170, Spring 2010 February, 2010 Format for each installment Times, 12 One-inch margins on all sides One-sided Double-spaced Specify a title for each paper Description You will submit this paper in two installments. The first installment is 2-3 pages and is worth 10% of your grade. The second installment is 4-5 pages and is worth a second 10% of your grade. You will use a total of five primary sources to write the two papers. Note that you can retroactively improve your first grade based on your performance on the second paper (details below). Due March 22: For the first installment, address the following question using only the primary sources assigned in class: What kinds of conditions (or motives) created violent conflict in sixteenth or seventeenth-century America? o Choose two primary sources to write this paper. Due May 10: For the second and final installment, you will revise and extend the first paper. Address both the following questions using the primary sources assigned in class: What kinds of conditions (or motives) created violent conflict in eighteenth-century America? How are these related to conflicts in the earlier period? o Choose three additional primary sources to extend your paper. o You must attach the first version of your paper (with my comments) so I can assess your improvements accurately. What are the steps to extending and finalizing my interpretive essay? Identify sources (five total) Create Outline include dates in outline Edit/rewrite first paper based on feedback Extend the paper (4-5 pages) Rewrite introduction Write a new conclusion Proofread and edit for feedback Submit final paper 1

2 What is the list of primary sources I can use? Before the eighteenth century: Cortes Paul le Jeune John Winthrop Mary Rowlandson Thomas Harriot John White After the eighteenth century: Stono Rebellion (sources from book) Hannah Heaton Jonathan Edwards Whitefield to slaveholders Runaway slave ads Civility rules Transformation of Benjamin Franklin (portraits) Nat Turner Confessions as recorded by Thomas Gray What are two examples of a paper using five sources? Example 1: First installment Native-settler conflict John Winthrop (1630) Mary Rowlandson (1676) Example 1: Full installment Slaveholder-slave conflict Stono sources (1739) Runaway slave ads (1760s and 1770) Nat Turner s Rebellion (Confessions) (1831) Example 2: First installment Spanish-Native vs. French-Native conflict Cortes, 1519 Paul Le Jeune, 1634 Example 2: Full installment English-Native and English-African conflict John White (Drawings) Native in relation to Black (Jordan s essay not primary source) Stono Rebellion Source 1 Source 2 How do I write the introductory paragraph of the interpretive essay? 2

3 Your first paragraph may begin like this: Undoubtedly, the mindset of European newcomers affected the amount of violence that shaped seventeenth and eighteenth century America. The English conflict with Indians in the seventeenth century and with Africans in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries highlight the contentious nature of settlement as English men and women domesticated their new world. John Winthrop and Mary Rowlandson illuminate how the early assumptions of New England s English settlers led to war with the Indians. The changing portraits of Benjamin Franklin reveal the emerging consciousness of status and the rise of the colonial gentlemen by the mid-eighteenth century. Finally, runaway slave ads and Nat Turner s rebellion demonstrate that all colonists did not follow the same path to becoming American. Rough Drafts I am happy to look at multiple rough drafts via or in person but you need to give me a full week to provide feedback. Citing Sources You must use two sources in the first installment and a total of five primary sources for the final paper. After the sentence that incorporates the primary source, note the author s last name and page number in parentheses (Author, 25). Use the page number superimposed on each page by Maple Press. Since the paper is based only on our class readings, you do not have to include footnotes or endnotes. Do not use multi-sentence quotes from any source. As much as possible, use your own words and quote phrases which would otherwise be hard to paraphrase. As a general rule, cite directly from each source just once and no more than twice in your essay. Here are two ways to cite sources, both taken from your Reader: When using direct quotes from the source: In his letter, Cortes felt confident about converting the natives in Mexico because he believed they lived equally and reasonably (Cortes, 4). When using information from the source but not direct quotes: Repeatedly, Cortes compares Moorish mosques and fashions with Aztec temples and homes, respectively (Cortes, 3). What are example sentences that cite primary sources? In her narrative, Sovereignty and Goodness of God, Mary Rowlandson provides evidence of English technology used effectively by the natives. For example, she writes that the Indians used Guns, Spears and Hatchets (55). 3

4 George Washington s second rule provides an instance of bodily self-consciousness in eighteenth century colonial culture. Washington notes: When in company, put not your hands to any part of the body not usually discovered (187). In response to sermons from George Whitefield, a Connecticut woman, Hannah Heaton, experienced terror, wondered whether God was angry at her wicked ways, and felt the devil twitch her cloathes (173). Unsurprisingly, eighteenth-century slaveowners stressed very different qualities when they sold their slaves. Instead of emphasizing the slaves sly or cunning nature, the owners dwelled on the Honesty and Sobriety of the slave (163). Late Paper Policy You will get a zero for the paper if it is not turned in at the beginning of class on the day it is due. If there is an emergency, you must come and speak to me at least a week before the paper is due. How will you determine my final grade? Detailed criteria for evaluation follow in the next pages. Note that you can retrospectively improve your grade for the first installment by submitting a superb second paper. Scenario if your final installment is better than your first installment: Example: If you get an 80% in your first installment and a 90% in your final paper, your final grade for the first assignment will upgrade to 85%. 90 minus 80 is 10 and 10 divided by 2 is 5. This 5 is added to your first grade. Example: If you get a 60% in your first installment and a 100% in your final paper, your final grade for the first assignment will upgrade to 80%. 100 minus 60 is 40 and 40 divided by 2 is 20. This 20 is added to your first grade. Scenario if your final installment is worse than your first installment: You cannot lower your first grade if your second installment is worse than your first one. Grading Qualities of an A Assignment -fulfills all the requirements of the assignment - presents a recognizable, strong thesis or argument -contains unified paragraphs that support recognizable topic sentences - makes sure that the topic sentence of each paragraph relates to the thesis or argument in some way - presents accurate information, with generalizations supported by facts, examples, or analysis 4

5 -displays original thought -defines terms if necessary -is clearly organized with an appropriate essay structure -has an effective introduction and conclusion -contains effective transitions between sentences and between paragraphs Clarity and Correctness (Logistics) -uses sentences that are easy to understand on a first reading -includes a variety of sentence constructions -uses document design to enhance readability -has no serious errors of diction, syntax, grammar, punctuation, or spelling -shows evidence of careful editing Qualities of a B Assignment -fulfills most of the requirements of assignment -presents accurate information, with generalizations supported by facts, examples, or analysis -argues logically -defines terms if necessary -has a recognizable thesis or subject line -has appropriate organization -contains unified paragraphs that support recognizable topic sentences -has appropriate introduction and conclusion -contains transitions Clarity and Organization (Logistics) -uses sentences that are easy to understand on a first reading -includes a variety of sentence constructions -uses some document design elements -has very few errors of diction, syntax, grammar, punctuation, or spelling. The errors do not prevent comprehension. -shows evidence of editing. Qualities of a C Assignment -fulfills the main parts of the assignment -supports generalizations with some detail -defines terms if necessary -has a recognizable thesis or subject line -uses appropriate organization -contains unified paragraphs with topic sentences -has an introduction and conclusion Clarity and Correctness (Logistics) -uses understandable sentences 5

6 -shows some variety in sentence construction -has some elements of document design -has a few errors of diction, syntax, grammar, punctuation, or spelling. Errors occasionally prevent comprehension -shows an understanding of the conventions of written English Qualities of a D or F Assignment -fails to fulfill main parts of the assignment -provides scant information and little support -has a barely recognizable thesis or subject line -has poor organization -contains some paragraphs with topic sentences Clarity and Correctness (Logistics) -many sentences are not understandable upon first reading -shows little variety in sentence construction -has many errors of diction, syntax, grammar, punctuation, or spelling. The errors often prevent comprehension 6

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