What we are ultimately concerned with, then, is an authors representation of values that cluster under the general category of character.

One possible approach to this paper is to make the implicit poltical/moral worldview behind your piece of fiction explicit. In other words, after reading this story, what set of values and/or types of people (or specific historical people) should we attempt to emulate, and what makes you think so? You might focus on the way landscapes are described and/or the characters in a fictional story in order to answer the following question: who are the chosen people? In other words, who should we sympathize with or attempt to emulate and why? What particular characteristics are represented positively? Another approach would be to look at the narrators comments about characters actions, race, gender, and so forth. You may choose any work of fiction and it need not be serious literature (i.e., Tolstoy, Shakespeare, etc.). If you would like to use a story that we read for class, then that is fine. As you answer this question, bear in mind that the genre and time period of a work often influence the audiences reception of it. For instance, an old man who has accumulated a small fortune over his lifetime may be called stingy in a medieval fabliau or wise in an eighteenth-century novel. He would most likely be the antagonist of the former and the protagonist of the latter. If none of these ways of writing about literature appeal to you, then you are welcome to choose your own approach. Ultimately, the final paper should just be an analysis of a work of literature how you approach that analysis is up to you.

If you choose to focus on characters, pay particularly close attention to the words the author uses to describe them and their actions. Also, you might think about the specific actions that the character performs that command the most praise from the narrator (though do keep in mind that the narrator may use sarcasm or comically misunderstand a situation). Put differently, is the character at his or her greatest, according to the narrator at least, when following the dictates of conscience, government, the Bible, chivalry, capitalism, cosmopolitanism, feminism, etc.? Or is it some combination of these or other traits that render the character admirable? What we are ultimately concerned with, then, is an authors representation of values that cluster under the general category of character. Consequently, I do not want any more plot summary than is absolutely necessary to set up the context of a characters behavior. Regardless of how you approach this paper, you need an argumentative thesis statement in the last sentence of the introduction that you develop in each of your body paragraphs. Topic and concluding sentences, as well as transitions, will help to orient your reader and prevent you from digressing. You are welcome, but not required, to identify and analyze Franciscan values, or their opposite, in one or more works of literature.

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