AGE OF REASON/REVOLUTIONARY PERIOD INSTRUCTIONS

Choose ONE of the following topics and write a polished essay of about 750 words (3-4 double spaced typed pages). The essay requires not less than 2 secondary sources. Before writing your essay, reread your notes and assigned textbook reading(s) just to refresh your memory. Also, it might be useful to reread a composition textbook to remind yourself of the guidelines on how to write a clearly-defined thesis statement, well-developed paragraph(s), and an essay using the MLA or APA or Turabian parenthetical method of documentation for your quotations and any secondary sources you cite. To let your instructor know which style of documentation you are using, write MLA, APA, or Turabian in the title of your essay as follows: Title – Citation style (e.g., “Christians and the Study of American Literature – APA”).
NOTE: To receive an excellent grade, a student must demonstrate a reasonable competence in organizing an essay on a set topic; developing ideas logically and systematically; supporting these ideas with the necessary evidence, quotations or examples; organizing a paragraph; documenting essays (using MLA, APA, or Turabian) style; spelling the commoner words of the English language correctly; punctuating correctly; and writing grammatical sentences, avoiding such common mistakes as comma splices, run-on sentences, sentence fragments, faulty agreements, faulty references, shifts in person, number, or tense.

  1. Choose any ONE of the works/authors of the Age of Reason/Revolutionary period studied in this course and write a literary analysis of the chosen work. The focus of the essay should be three-fold: to discuss the theme of the author/work, the major characteristics of the period that are evident in the work, and major narrative devices the author uses to communicate his or her message. Your essay must have a clearly-defined thesis statement, well-developed paragraph(s), and fitting conclusion.
  2. The Puritan intellectual and spiritual energies were so decisive in laying down the patterns of American intellectual and spiritual (Christian) life. Though Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin make clear their belief in God, discuss how their writing, ideas, and beliefs depart from the firmly established Puritan/Christian beliefs?
  3. Contemporary poet June Jordan calls Wheatley “Phillis Miracle.” Why is her achievement(s) considered a “miracle”? How did this “miracle” affect the thinking and assumptions at the time and even contributed to the abolition of slavery?
  4. Compare Phillis Wheatley with Anne Bradstreet.