Project 4: Mongrels

Overview

One could argue that Mongrels uses the figure of the werewolf to thematize any number of contemporary issues related to the marginalization of vulnerable populations in American society. And in fact, that’s what you’ll do for this writing project.

For this project, pick a current social, political, or economic issue and read it through the lens of Mongrels. In other words, imagine that Mongrels is an allegory for our times, an extended metaphor for something like migration, discrimination, economic precarity, human trafficking, social identity in the age of DNA, and so on. What is the novel trying to tell us about this theme?

A successful essay will do three things:

  • Convincingly show that Mongrels (or some distinct character or episode therein) parallels some real-life non-werewolf issue in contemporary society. To pull this off, you’ll have to provide a thumbnail sketch of that issue. Use at least 3 credible news sources to highlight salient features of the issue.
  • Explore the issue’s analog in the novel. Find the parallels between the news and Mongrels at both the literal and evocative levels.
  • Argue that Mongrels has something meaningful to say about that issue—that the novel can help us see the issue in a new way.
 Key Dates
  • Friday, October 26: 1-page outline of Mongrels paper due in class. Outline should include main argument, key features of real-life issue, examples of how Mongrels parallels real-life issue, and lessons Mongrels has to teach us about that issue.
  • Monday, October 29: 750 word draft due by the end of the day
  • Wednesday, November 7: 1,000 word final version of Mongrels paper due
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. It should also include the name of the work or works you’re writing about. Try using a colon to separate the title into two parts: something specific and something general.
  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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