Writing Assignment #1
Read either the tale of Cupid and Psyche from Apuleius’ Metamorphoses (The Golden
Ass) or Sophocles’ The Women of Trachis. Links to both are posted on Canvas.
Choose one of the following directions to write 1100-1200 words:
1) Find another version of the story with which to compare what you chose to read.
This can be a piece of art, literature, song, movie, etc. How does each artist use
the myth and the idea of love? Remember that we are studying Aphrodite/Eros
this week—mention of them should occur in your analysis of love.
2) Explore the question “What does love make mortals do?” In other words, who is
responsible for the actions of the story? This question certainly will involve
“getting into” the mind of the characters, but you should also keep in mind that
we are studying Aphrodite/Eros this week. How is the author shaping the myth
with an eye to these deities?
For either option 1 or option 2, you need to find 2-3 additional sources to
support your analysis. These must be scholarly sources, not a random person
tweeting from their basement. Please email if you are unsure if your source “counts.” If
you are discussing a piece of art, song, etc. include in a footnote how I can access the
This is a formal paper, and as such there are certain minimum requirements of format
• The paper is to be double-spaced, 12 pt. font, with one-inch margins on all sides,
and no extra space after paragraphs.
• Use tab indentation, not double spacing between paragraphs.
• Your paper title, your name, the course number and name, and the date should
appear on the cover page only.
• Number the pages in the upper right-hand corner.
• Do not use silly fonts; Times New Roman or Calibri are good choices.
• Check that the font and font size are consistent throughout (including headers,
title page, bibliography, quotations, etc.)
• You need citations and a bibliography page with full Chicago or MLA citations—I
do not care which citation style you choose, but be consistent throughout the
paper. Do not forget to cite the main work you read to analyze (i.e. the text of
Apuleius or Sophocles).
• The paper should be as free as possible from mechanical and grammatical
• Do not use contractions!
(Yes, these matters can and will affect your grade.)
Nota Bene: word count does NOT include title page, bibliography, header, footnotes,
appendices. . .
The tone of your paper should be fairly formal, but it should also reveal the presence of
a creative and interested mind at work. The two extremes that you should avoid are the
overly chatty paper that sounds like a conversation or a personal letter addressed to
your teacher, and the dry-as-a-bone “lab report” paper, which is signaled by extensive
use of the passive voice and the use of phrases such as “in the opinion of the present
As you begin the essay, do not waste time praising the author or the question: “One of
the most important questions ever to face humanity is the function of the simile in
Homer’s magnificent epic poem, the Iliad”. Likewise, do not waste time by slowly
funneling in to the actual question with irrelevant background (“Since the dawn of
time,”). Get to the point; 1100-1200 words is not that long for proper analysis.
The introductory paragraph should leave me with a very clear idea of where the paper
is headed. The best way to do this is to provide a thesis statement. Every paragraph
should contribute a logical step toward proving your argument. The conclusion of your
paper should not merely summarize the paper. Rather, it should persuade the reader
that you have discovered and discussed something significant.
In constructing your argument, each paragraph should make a point (claim), give textual
evidence supporting your point, and then make clear why that evidence supports the
point you are making. It is easy to forget that last step, but it is an important one.
Submit your paper on Canvas as a doc or docx file.
A direct quotation from the syllabus:
Unless the student provides written documentation that justifies an
extension, late papers will receive no more than a grade of 75% and will
not be eligible for a rewrite.
So please submit on time!
Avoiding academic dishonesty. When you read any of the thousands of books and
articles to be found in a library or in an academic database, let alone the internet, you
must give proper credit in your paper and supply a properly formatted or “bibliography”
page. Non-refereed materials from the web are unacceptable sources for college-level
work, meaning that you should not cite them in the same way you would a scholar in
support of an argument. Still, if you read it you need to include it in your bibliography. As
a result, your bibliography will most likely include more than the bare minimum of three
items (the original piece, aka a primary resource, and the minimum of two scholarly
A reminder (quoted directly from the class syllabus):
PLAGIARISM: Whenever you use more than four words taken from an
author other than yourself, you must indicate so by placing the phrase
between quotation marks and indicating the source with page number
either in a footnote (Chicago Style) or in parentheses following the text
cited (MLA Style). Then you should include the full citation in your
bibliography. All material used in OR read for the writing assignment
MUST be listed in your bibliography, whether primary source, secondary
source, website, etc. Failure to follow these steps constitutes
plagiarism and is grounds for a zero on the assignment.
Additional comments/help with citations. You should not be using any long (three lines
or more) quotations in this paper (cite line numbers instead). The following are good
ways to cite the primary source material:
• Parenthetical reference only: Give precise references in parentheses within the
body of the paper when you mention an event or other factual information
• Short quotation with parenthetical reference: If you need to quote something,
integrate the quotation seamlessly into the structure of your sentences. Here is
an example: Poetic images are not made but are “discovered in Nature”
(Nicolson, 18). Please note that the parenthetical reference appears outside the
quotation marks but before the next punctuation mark. Remember that
quotations, like the data in a lab report, are part of your argument. They should
never be used as decoration or “filler.”
A sample rubric is posted on Canvas to help you see what I seek in a paper, but I’ll
repeat myself here (yup, argumentation is that important to me): “In constructing
your argument, each paragraph should make a point (claim), give textual evidence
supporting your point, and then make clear why that evidence supports the point you
are making. It is easy to forget that last step, but it is an important one.”
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