Michael Delahoyde, PhD

Professor of English

Mythology: Assignment

Crazy Dog
Washington State University


One of the objectives of this course is that you improve your skills in critical analysis by by articulating, organizing, and polishing the presentation of your insights in some kind of written form. On the due date noted below, you will be pleased and relieved to turn in the most significant single piece of written work you will have produced for the semester in this class, something that ought to have more meaning than just a graded assignment: at least as a potential portfolio paper, but possibly as the central production of your own particular expertise in Mythology or the beginning of a larger future masterpiece. Eventually you will be going down to the House of Death; aim for step one of immortality now.

The Project:

Identify one intriguing mythological moment in one of the works we have examined — ideally Ovid’s Metamorphoses — and explore, or at least start to explore, its implications in a minimum four-page complete manuscript using MLA-style format. (The use of secondary source journal articles is optional but professional and therefore strongly advised).

What moment or feature in a mythological work emerging since the start of the semester has had a significant effect upon you and what are the implications of this experience? Find and describe an incident, or a character, or a theme you have noticed in one of the works — something that has resonated with you personally, or professionally, or emotionally, or in any unique way.

You need not, and probably should not, adopt a mode of maudlin deep personal confession; rather, aim for a more philosophical kind of discussion. The essay should include a thesis and supporting evidence, ultimately serving as a reflective exploration with some critical thinking on this portion of your educational experience at WSU while it is, ideally, still happening.

You are encouraged to research and include secondary sources, but original insight and analysis should still dominate the entire discussion. Your final revised essay must consist of four typed, double-spaced pages containing an intriguing (not underlined) title, an original unified thesis, vigorous analytical work, no extra spaces between paragraphs, all in a clean, effective, illuminating, properly documented presentation (correctly punctuated in-text parenthetical citations of author and page, and a correctly formatted MLA-style Works Cited list). You will include a Works Cited list even if the only work on the list is the primary text. For further instruction regarding documentation, see my Mythology website, or ask me ahead of time. Proofread well so that minor surface matters do not distract readers from your ideas. The grade for any manuscript lacking a Works Cited list or containing a renegade, variant, or insane documentation system will strike you as intensely disappointing.

The Deal:You are obligated to hand in the assignment (or the textual portions of a web page with the URL) at the beginning of the class period on the designated due date. Truancy is, of course, no excuse (i.e., “I couldn’t get my paper in ’cause I cut class”). Fate, as we know, plays amusing tricks. I tell you right now that Aunt Millie could drop in a flash on “paper-due eve”: it is your obligation to anticipate anything like this in your life that could go wrong and to take preventive measures or to develop back-up plans. You also must accept responsibility for being so foolish as to stake your grade on a computer’s or printer’s reliability. And no bitter ironies about roommates and alarm-clocks. No work submitted means you did not meet the requirements of the course (big F); late work will not be read but at least you will have met requirements minimally (little F factored in). On a more positive note, I assure you that I am happy to provide advice and help at any stage of the pre-writing, researching, and drafting processes, short of giving you a topic and writing the text for you. Ultimately, though, it must be completed and turned in when due; the compressed schedule of the summer semester does not allow for screwing around and cheesy excuses. Get to work early, consult with me as needed, and turn in the best possible masterpiece. Sample papers, good to excellent, are available on the web site, as are instructions and examples for the required MLA-style documentation.

PROJECT DUE: MONDAY, JULY 23rd, 2012; 12:00 NOON.