Project 3: Zone One


For this writing project, you can select either one of the following two prompts. The prompts are merely starting points. The most compelling papers will make surprising discoveries along the way toward answering these prompts. Your ultimate argument ought to reflect and build upon these discoveries.

Prompt 1

A key question of Zone One is whether “the great unraveling” represents a break from the past or a continuation of it. In other words, is the post-apocalypse all that different from the pre-apocalypse? Or put another way, was American life before the apocalypse already post-apocalyptic?

Prompt 2

As a genre of monsters, zombies have a number of defining, recognizable characteristics. Stragglers appear to defy some of these characteristics and are arguably Colson Whitehead’s greatest contribution to the genre. What symbolic function do stragglers perform in Zone One, and how do they reshape our understanding of zombies—and of humans?

Other Details

Answering these question is the starting point for this project, but not necessarily the end point. Start thinking about your project as an answer to this question, but be open to discovering new angles and trajectories that take you someplace new and even more interesting.

For this paper you should include two other sources to extend or support your argument. Kyle Bishop’s introduction to American Zombie Gothic would make a good choice, as would any of the other articles and chapters we’ve read so far this semester.

Key Dates
  • Friday, October 12: Approximately 1,250 word draft due by the end of the day
  • Monday, October 22: Approximately 1,500 word final version due by the end of the day

Check out the writing resources put together by Davidson’s Writing Program. There are tips on coming up with titles, a list of common errors to avoid, and steps to finding your most important point and making sure readers can too.

Project Checklist

Before you submit your writing project, there are a number of editing and formatting details to consider. Failure to pay attention to these details or handing in sloppy work can affect a reader’s response to your overall argument. Students who are not meticulous about the presentation of their ideas are often not meticulous about the intellectual rigor of those ideas. So, slow down on both accounts and carefully consider what you write and how you write it, using this checklist as a guide.

  1. Name. Even on a Google Doc, your name and the date should all appear in the top right or left corner of your first page.
  2. Title. Every paper should be titled. The title should be relatively short, but not too short. A two word titles reveals nothing about the contents of your paper. The title should be descriptive and compelling.
  3. Font. Use a common 11- or 12-point font like Times New Roman.
  4. Indentation and Spacing. Use indentation or spacing to signal that start of new paragraphs.
  5. Spelling. Spellcheck your document. Be careful about easily confused words like its and it’s, their and there, and too and to.
  6. Punctuation. Watch out for inappropriate commas or incorrect usage of semicolons, commas, and so on.
  7. Citations. When using sources beyond your own experience or common knowledge, use an accepted citation format (APA, Chicago, or MLA) to cite these sources. Include a Works Cited page when citing sources.
  8. Titles. Journal names, book, and film titles should be italicized, while article, essay, poem, and song titles should be enclosed in quotation marks.
  9. Read Aloud. Reading your essay aloud is the best way to catch awkward sentence construction, missing words, or even holes in your logic.
  10. Document Name. Give your Google Doc a name that includes your last name and project name. Specify whether this is the draft of final version. For example, Sample – Draft – Project 2 or Sample – Final – Project 2.
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