Course Guidelines

  Class Discussion   Writing Assignments  
  Path 1 Calendar   Path 2 Groups & Texts   Reference Texts

Grace and the Grotesque
Writing Assignments & Student Groups (Path 2)

Writing Assignments

"The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love."
(Galatians 5:6, NIV)

composition guidelines / essay #1: painting analysis / essay #2: synergetic paper / path 2 groups


General Composition Guidelines

Writing Assignment #1: Short Story Response (10%)

Purpose: to convincingly respond to one of the relevant study questions provided for each story
Audience: readers and viewers familiar with the story in hand (do not provide plot summary)
Writing foci: organization at the paragraph and essay level; convincing reasoning and evidence; appropriate diction

Students will each develop a 600-700 word argument that:

Make sure to employ MLA style; you can refer to this sample paper for guidelines about formatting your first page, though please note that this essay was constructed with different guidelines in mind--you needn't mention Dalí or von Trier. (Your Works Cited page for this assignment should list the Flannery O'Connor story, The Bible, and whatever essay(s) by Flannery O'Connor which you reference. Be sure to use the 8th edition MLA guidelines for a Works Cited page.)

You will find links to the available prompts/questions at the Path 2 Group and Text page. Please insure that each student in your group responds to a different prompt. Also, for this assignment, do not look at or employ secondary sources: rely on your own interpretive skills.

Paste at the head of your essay the prompt to which you are responding, and email the final product as a .doc or .docx document to Dr. Marchbanks by noon on Sat. Oct. 10. Late essays will lose one point per day.

Writing Assignment #2: Term Paper (20%)

Purpose: to determine whether each of the works you analyze constitute a rejection, revision, or adoption of Biblical ideas and/or images
Audience: readers and viewers familiar with the works you consider
Writing foci: organization at the paragraph and essay level; convincing reasoning and evidence; appropriate diction

This assignment requires you to consider the ways in which the different thinkers and artists studied this quarter have engaged similar subject matter. Do their separate engagements with the same topic(s) constitute a meeting of the minds, or do they differ widely in their agendas and conclusions? You must find some creative way of weaving these various texts together into a tightly organized, narrowly defined, debatable position, one which concludes that each text does or does not embrace ideas and/or images found in the Bible. You may wrap your argument around the theme I used to organize your group's texts (i.e. violence), or not--your choice.

Each student's essay must include all of the following elements, as long as at least half of the paper focuses on the Von Trier film assigned to your group:

Please make sure that you follow the links from the Path 2 group page to a series of study questions concerning the film; these may prove invaluable in helping you wrestle with the works on your own.

You are free to incorporate other (Path 1) works by each of these visual artists as well; referencing additional works might help you set up your argument, conclude it, or clarify claims made throughout the essay. The essay should, however, focus its attention on the works assigned to your group here. You may employ secondary sources grounded in biography or history, and may pull from DVD supplemental material about the making of a film, but do not employ any literary criticism or film criticism: rely on your own interpretive skills.

Essays should be 5-7 pages in length, and follow MLA guidelines for formatting, in-text citation, and creating appropriate citation entries in a separate Works Cited page. When reference lines of poetry, please indicate the passage in question by parenthetically the line numbers, not the page numbers. Example: (ll.6-7). When citing specific images or dialogue from your film, be sure to cite the hours, minutes, and seconds, like this (00.10.53-00.11.30). If you're working with season 1 or 2 of The Kingdom, please also place at the head of the time stamp the episode number you're referencing, like this (

A joint, 45-60 minute paper conference with others in your small group will precede completion of this paper; go here to find a time that works for your group. Paper conferences will take place between Nov. 11 and Sat., Nov. 14. Please send completed paper to Dr. M via email by noon on Wed., Nov. 25.

"Philosopher Illuminated by the Light of the Moon and the Setting Sun" (1939)
oil on canvas
Salvador Dalí

Dr. Paul Marchbanks