Thursday, October 9, 2008

An Elegy for a Hero: Beowulf Essay Quest

An Elegy for a Hero:
An In-class Essay on Beowulf

During the last three weeks, we have gone into some depth picking out themes of Beowulf.

With your scholarly article from JSTOR in hand, your Beowulf fun-pack, your “Writing about Fiction” fun-pack and your weapon of choice (pen or pencil):

  • Construct a well-developed, five paragraph essay in which you consider a theme discussed in your research and its application to the story of Beowulf.
  • Make a thesis statement in which you form a general assumption that can branch into three specific ideas or examples from the poem that address or demonstrate the overall issue (be it about Christianity in Beowulf, the historical roots of Beowulf, the language used in Beowulf, or otherwise).
  • Make your claims regarding the theme by using the scholarly article to back you up. You can do this by quoting directly from, paraphrasing, or summarizing your article of choice.
  • Remember that with each claim you make regarding the theme and its application to Beowulf, you should construct a respective paragraph that revolves around that claim.
  • Each of your body paragraphs should include a specific example from the poem that demonstrates the theme on which your thesis statement is based.
  • If you are quoting or paraphrasing an instance from the text or from your article, you can begin with a transitional phrase such as: For example, For instance when, As [last name of scholar] states, etc.
  • Be sure to refer to all events from the poem in the present tense (i.e. Beowulf fights the she-monster…, rather than, Beowulf fought the she-monster…).
  • Lastly, end with a conclusion—this can be your fifth paragraph—that further illustrates the theme you discussed with the help of a scholarly article/author.

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