Second Essay


For this paper, you need to do a bit of research, using the PowerPoint on the website and such sources as the Encyclopedia Britannica (online at the library website). 


[Do not use Wikipedia or the simplified encyclopedias like Encarta on this one; you need an authoritative source.  Stay away from web pages that do not come from an authoritative (verifiably expert) source at an accredited university or research center. is not a good source, for instance.] Go to the library and ask a reference librarian for help, and you’ll get it. The reference librarians are there during regular working hours, not evenings or weekends, so plan accordingly. 

Then use your knowledge write an analytical paper about the Arabian Nights, following the general guidelines for papers in the Essays section of the webpage.

To begin this paper, you should choose some cultural aspect of the world presented by Shahrazad in her tales. That could be political, religious, or some other area you're particularly interested in exploring, like what an educated person was expected to know or the culture's interest in science, mathematics, or astronomy.

Your research should be focused on the aspect of the culture you've chosen and your paper will compare/contrast the fictional world created by Shahrazad in her stories with the reality of the culture as revealed in your source material. The time we're concerned with is the Abbasid Caliphate during the reign of Harun Al-Rashid (786-809 AD). Harun Al-Rachid (who is a character in some of the stories) ruled his world from Baghdad, and the PowerPoint has a map of the region if you'd like to check it.

To get started, I can suggest that if your interest is political Harun Al-Rachid is a good place to start. If you're more interested in religion, you should start with the tenets of Islam and how they were practiced at this time. For other topics, you should define the topic and then check the research.

My suggestion is to find a subject you're interested in and then do some tentative research to be sure you can find enough material to support your thesis.

In writing the essay, you should formulate your thesis, which should define the particular aspect of the culture you've chosen and make an assertion about what you plan to argue in looking at the ideal world of the stories and the historical world of the Encyclopedias. Since this is an analytical essay, be sure that your thesis is strongly assertive and very clear and that the rest of your paragraphs flow logically and smoothly from the thesis. As usual, be as specific, logical and fact-based as possible.

 In documenting your sources, you should follow either the MLA or APA style. Links to both can be found on the Workshop page. And, to repeat, the general format guidelines for papers can be found on the "Essays" link on the home page for the course.


This paper should be single-spaced and about two pages in length. The typed draft is due on Thursday, October 10, in class for the peer critiquing workshop; the final paper is due on Tuesday, October 15, with hard copy in class and an upload to As before, your final paper should be handed in with your workshop draft and the peer critique, plus a paragraph describing the revision process you undertook in going from your draft to your final paper.