Here I have copied the guidelines:
“The aim of the final essay is to focus on one text by one of the authors covered during the course. You will be able to choose from among the texts up on Moodle or you can choose some other work by one of the authors if you want to. You will have to demonstrate your ability to analyze a literary text, by applying the knowledge gained during the course to some specific text. The course gave you a survey of the cultural history of the US and the main literary schools and thematic areas. You can now choose one text and see how it represents either
the literary school it was a part of (Enlightenment, Romanticism, realism, naturalism, modernism, postmodernism, multiculturalism)
the representation of the key themes of American literature (individualism versus community, civilization versus wilderness).
The focus should be on one aspect or argument about one text – your essay is short and thus make sure you choose a topic that can be covered in that space. This should not be a general musing, but rather a clearly argued and text-based discussion. There should be quotes from the text. No biography of the author, just focus on your chosen topic. If you are interested in the Gothic elements in one of Poe’s stories, this is what you have to talk about – nothing else (no biography, no other texts). Being focused allows you to show your analytical skills. I am assessing you on the basis of your analysis, not essay length.
The essay length is 4-5 double-spaced pages. You do not have to, but may, use secondary sources. If you use other sources, make sure that the main attention is on the literary text and its analysis. If you consult any sources (including internet sources) they have to be referred to. Plagiarism will result in an F and my assistant will specifically check papers for plagiarism.”
Please use this text for the analysis: