LIT 260/ Final Paper
A 5 page essay (double-spaced, with a title that is not just “Final Paper”). You must have a Works Cited that cites the works you discuss. You must discuss Winter’s Bone, and two other texts we’ve read for class (which ones are up to you). Please do not write more than 5 pages; in this class we have been emphasizing concise writing (wordiness/padding not welcome). Know what you want to say first and then say it as directly as possible.
Your essay should consider and make a point about belonging and you should emphasize close reading (i.e. how specific details, quotations from the texts contribute to the message about belonging) and the correct use of literary terms.
A focus of this class has been how literature represents individuals as they exist in and are shaped by larger systems. We have met the “I” in Song of Myself, readers and tourists called in/out by the second person narrations of Citizen and A Small Place, Jamaica Kincaid and Marlon James in the first person, the characters in the Silko and Ortiz stories, the characters in Persepolis and Winter’s Bone.
We have seen how they exist in and are shaped by larger systems, such as family, communities, cities, nations, religions, economies, histories, etc. From discussion of the dinner table in Whitman to the “self self/historical self” journal entries about Citizen to the group wikis sorting out Marji’s and Ree’s ecosystems, we have been engaged in a semester-long conversation about how individual identities are formed in relationship to the groups to which they are supposed to belong.
Write an essay about three of these texts (one of which must be Winter’s Bone the novel) in which you discuss this notion of belonging. Questions you might consider as you make your way to your own argument about it include: who belongs and who doesn’t?
How do we make those determinations?
What kinds of ideas about belonging shape identity?
How do these characters move in and out of spaces to which they do/do not belong?
How do they define themselves against larger systems or ideas?
What formal features convey such ideas (for example, repetition in poems, or the point of view or dialogue used in fiction, or how panels/splashes/gutters are used in graphic works, or how visual images work with text in Citizen)?

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