The Lies We Tell Ourselves
Both books: Till We Have Faces and The Thanatos Syndrome, hold up a mirror to the lies we tell ourselves, whether privately or publicly: discuss (1700 words)
Instructions:Begin your essay with a thesis statement, or include it in a very brief introduction. This statement should take the form of a contestable claim (one that requires elaboration and argumentation) about how the theme of lies we tell ourselves manifests in the two texts.Your thesis statement should not be a simple reformulation of the basic premise or some similar generality.Alternatively, you may pick a different aspect in each novel, since the books are very different in content. Either way, your paper should devote roughly equal attention to the two books.Avoid making your thesis or theses too broad. It is better to narrow your focus far enough to argue your point successfully than to make a more ambitious claim and argue it poorly because you’ve run out of room.
Paper organizationWhichever option you choose, remember that a short paper requires one to be precise and concise. So think very carefully about the evidence you will enlist. It is not always wise to rely on the traditional structure of a main argument [thesis] propped up by three supporting sub-arguments. This is an arbitrary form that often leaves one with too little room to convincingly argue one or more of the sub-points. Instead, dwell first on finding compelling textual evidence from the novels, evaluate how much room you will need to properly elucidate them, and proceed to organize your essay from there.
Remember:• You have limited real estate, so do not waste much space on an elaborate introduction. Bring the reader quickly to your thesis or theses, indicate the main line of support you will offer, and proceed to the main body of your work.• Always rely on textual evidence to advance your claims. When presenting a passage for consideration, do not take for granted that your reader will understand it as you do. Instead, carefully guide her through what the lines show and why they are relevant.• Choose your words carefully! One well-placed word will serve you far better than five lazy ones; one clear sentence than any number of obscure or ambiguous ones.
EvaluationYou are again expected to demonstrate familiarity with the books in question and sufficient reflection on them to show that you are following the author’s own line of thought; that is, that you understand the work on some level. (Whether you agree with it or share its author’s perspective is another matter.)
The following questions will be used in assessment:• Is this paper clearly written and well presented?• Does it have something definite to say?• How far does what it says arise from a direct engagement with the book(s) in question?• Is the evidence it supplies cogent?• Are its claims accurate?• Does it successfully elucidate the theme?• How insightful is it?

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