UNIV 190: Clarkson Seminar
Final Essay Topic
Fall, 2013

In its own way, each of the texts we’ve read embodies some of the cultural beliefs of its time and place, beginning with The Epic of Gilgamesh and ending with The Sweet Hereafter and Persepolis. One of many common threads running through all of them is the belief that each individual must take responsibility for his/her choices and actions, whether that involves a quest, a battle, a job, a legal case or simply a commitment to the person’s own community.

Your assignment is to work with The Sweet Hereafter and Persepolis, which are set only about 10 years apart in time. Focusing on a specific character in each of your chosen texts, trace how this idea of personal responsibility plays out within the cultural context of the story. If you believe it helps support your thesis, you may include a character or characters from earlier class texts.

You may choose to conclude with your own reflections on the subject or you may choose to work entirely within the context of the narratives you’ve chosen. Either way, your conclusion should draw the ideas you’ve generated together, not simply repeat the thesis.

As usual, you need to begin with an introduction that contains a strong thesis statement. Your essay should avoid generalizing without very specific support for the generalizations. Unlike some of the earlier assignments, you do not need to consult reference sources, but you may choose to draw on the information you have already researched for the class if that’s appropriate for your argument.

Consult the web page for further information about format, and don’t forget to spell check and add a title.

Length: no less than one and a half single-spaced pages in a type face no larger than 11 points
Due: Monday, December 9, at noon in Snell 265