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Please only use this textbook ( Barry B. Powell, Classical Myth (9th edition). Please use this edition (or the 8th) Answer the following questions in an essay of approximately 800 words (900 is the a

Please only use this textbook ( Barry B. Powell, Classical Myth (9th edition).  Please use this edition (or the 8th)

Answer the following questions in an essay of approximately 800 words (900 is the absolute maximum).  Your essay should:

  • (1) begin with an introductory paragraph that clearly articulates a thesis and outlines the areas of discussion;
  • (2) identify and explain the most directly relevant primary source(s);
  • (3) provide thorough discussion of the topic that reinforces the thesis; and
  • (4) engage with a relevant critical point.


"The myths of Oedipus and his family, and of Jason, are arguably problematic in that there are no clearly defined heroes."  To what extent is this true?

The essay will be evaluated on the basis of four criteria:  (a) quantity and quality of relevant information provided, identification of a workable thesis statement, and defense of that thesis statement (10 marks); (b) provision and citation of relevant evidence, including ancient sources (10 marks); (c) engagement with at least one critical point, situating the myth(s) within the Greek or Roman culture (5 marks); and (d) composition (5 marks).

 General advice:

A paper should be written in essay format, with a clear introduction and thesis statement, body paragraphs supporting your position (as given in your thesis statement), and a conclusion.  The paper should include a title page at the beginning and a bibliography at the end; it should be double-spaced, use a standard font and font size (e.g. Times New Roman 12 point), and have 2.54 cm (1 inch) margins all around.

Here are some specific things to keep in mind:

1. Papers are always argumentative: state the position that your paper will be defending in your thesis statement (the last sentence of your introductory para.).  The thesis statement should be as specific as possible, and ideally will include details which anticipate the structure of the body of your paper.

2. Since papers are argumentative, you should not be offering mere summaries of stories at any point in your paper.  Every summary that you offer must be explicitly accounted for with a clear indication of its relevance to your thesis statement.

3. Make sure that you define any key terms on which you are relying.  E.g., if you want to argue that someone is a hero, you need to say what you mean by the term "hero".

4. Every claim that you make must be defended with evidence.

5. Every use of a source must be acknowledged with a reference.  (Some students believe that only quotations need to have references.  That is incorrect.)

6. Every reference must include detailed location information--for modern works, page no. (or para. no. for non-paginated works); for ancient works, book no. (if applicable) and line nos..

7. Every paper must have a Bibliography, in addition to in-text notes (e.g. footnotes).  Some students confuse endnotes with bibliographical entries; those are entirely separate.

8. If you choose to use sources besides the textbook and course notes, it is your responsibility to ensure that these are academically fit.  Academically fit sources are (a) signed, (b) composed by properly credentialled authors (e.g. with Ph.D.), (c) published by reputable publishers, and (d) peer-reviewed.  If you do your research by way of Google (e.g.), you are very unlikely to locate academically fit sources.  If you do your research by way of the University Libraries search engine, you will find only academically fit sources.

9. Composition is very important, for no other reason than that poor composition impedes your ability to convey your ideas to your reader.  In some cases students need to do a more thorough job of proof-reading their work, perhaps seeking the help of writers more experienced than themselves in the latter stages of their writing.

10. Since every body para. ought to be a defense of your thesis statement, you ought not to dedicate a para. to identifying primary sources, nor to discussing a critical point.  Allow both of those tasks to be organic parts of your arguments.  (Most obviously, you can identify a primary source just by using and citing it.)

11. As you are writing your papers, check and re-check, at every stage, that you are actually addressing the question you have chosen to answer.  A few students in the past have apparently (consciously or unconsciously) made up their own topics--with results that are always devastating to their paper grade.

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