You are tasked with writing a 10 pg (approx. 2750-3000 words) essay on a topic of your choosing on I’m Jennifer Egan’s Goon Squad. going to give you as wide a purview as possible. That said, having that much freedom is sometimes a problem. Here are some things to think about:

  1. Strong papers start out of a problem the text generates. You don’t want to superimpose a topic onto the text in hopes that it pans out. We abstract the implications of a problem from our close readings.
  2. You may well be interested in the novel’s historical or political or gender concerns. Or you might be interested in issues of novelistic form (about length or narrative middles or origins or character etc. etc.). Or you could take up the novel’s interest in punk, technology, sexuality. Egan’s novel will support a lot of different interests. It doesn’t matter to me what you write about so long as your argument starts out of your close reading.
  3. You are encouraged (expected really) to talk with me about your paper prior to writing your annotated bibliography (instructions below). It is my job to help guide you so that your interests have sufficient support

This assignment requires has two different components.

Part A)

  1. Identify Topic
  2. Identify Critical Problem – Write two or three sentences about the problem you are going to engage.
  3. Provide a working title and thesis for your final project. Your thesis will, obviously, change as you begin writing but you should begin developing an argumentative position beforehand. Remember, you want to sort critics around your idea; you don’t want to be in the position of constantly moving to accommodate others.
  4. The approximate length of this section will be ½ – ¾ of a page.

Part B) Annotated bibliography. The annotated bibliography must include at least 5 sources. Each annotation should provide:

  1. the source’s argument
  2. an assessment of how the source fits into the larger body of criticism on the novel or the problem you are engaging.
  3. claims about the strengths and weaknesses of the source. For example, you might say something like Nilges allows us to see how … At the same time, his focus on x occludes y. All critical accounts are partial. One has to blinker oneself from some complications in order to have an insight. Remember, be a little generous with your interlocutors (even if you want to be critical of them). Their work helps you frame out your idea.
  4. annotations should be in conversation with each other. So you might write something like Moynagh revises Rushton’s thesis about x by insisting on y. Or D’arcy repudiates Marquis’ argument that a is a function of b. Instead he ….

Annotations need be tight. There is no space for wordiness or clutter.

Here is a link to a useful resource U of T puts out on writing annotated bibliographies:

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