My own answer to what the humanities are for is simple: They should help us to live. We should look to culture as a storehouse of useful ideas about how to face our most pressing personal and professional issues.
“My own answer to what the humanities are for is simple: They should help us to live. We should look to culture as a storehouse of useful ideas about how to face our most pressing personal and professional issues.” – Alain de Botton, author and educator (MindEdge, Inc., 2014)
From your studies, you have seen how culture, belief systems, and exposure to the arts affect the way people view the world. Learning about these differences in perspective helps us to have a better understanding of what it means to be human. When we understand and value the humanistic point of view, we bring creative solutions and fresh new ideas to the challenges we face in our personal and professional lives. We are schooled in the fundamentals of close analysis, critical thinking, and teasing out the complexities of issues which have no simple right or wrong answer.
In this task, you will write an analysis (suggested length of 3–5 pages) of one work of literature. Choose one work from the list below:
- Sappho, “The Anactoria Poem” ca. 7th century B.C.E. (poetry)
- Aeschylus, “Song of the Furies” from The Eumenides, ca. 458 B.C.E. (poetry)
- Sophocles, Antigone, ca. 442 B.C.E. (drama)
- Aristotle, Book 1 from the Nichomachean Ethics, ca. 35 B.C.E. (philosophical text)
- Augustus, The Deeds of the Divine Augustus, ca. 14 C.E. (funerary inscription)
- Ovid, “The Transformation of Daphne into a Laurel” an excerpt from Book 1 of The Metamorphoses, ca. 2 C.E. (poetry)
- Francesco Petrarch, “The Ascent of Mount Ventoux” 1350 (letter)
- Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, the first seven paragraphs of the “Oration on the Dignity of Man” ca. 1486 (essay excerpt)
- Leonardo da Vinci, Chapter 28 “Comparison of the Arts” from The Notebooks ca. 1478-1518 (art text)
- Edmund Spenser, Sonnet 30, “My Love is like to Ice” from Amoretti 1595 (poetry)
- William Shakespeare, Sonnet 18, “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day” 1609 (poetry)
- Francis Bacon, “Of Studies” from The Essays or Counsels… 1625 (essay)
- Anne Bradstreet, “In Honour of that High and Mighty Princess, Queen Elizabeth” 1643 (poetry)
- Andrew Marvell, “To his Coy Mistress” 1681 (poetry)
- René Descartes, Part 4 from Discourse on Method, 1637 (philosophical text)
- William Congreve, The Way of the World, 1700 (drama-comedy)
- Jonathan Swift, “A Modest Proposal” 1729 (satirical essay)
- Voltaire, “Micromégas” 1752 (short story, science fiction)
- Phillis Wheatley, “To S.M., a Young African Painter, on Seeing his Works” 1773 (poetry)
- Thomas Paine, “Common Sense” 1776 (essay)
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “The Fisherman” 1779 (poetry)
- Immanuel Kant, “An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?” 1784 (essay)
- Lord Byron, “She Walks in Beauty” 1813 (poetry)
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “Kubla Khan” 1816 (poetry)
- Edgar Allan Poe, “The Fall of the House of Usher” 1839 (short story)
- Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights, 1847 (novel)
- Herman Melville, “Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-Street” 1853 (short story)
- Emily Dickinson, “A Narrow Fellow in the Grass” 1865 (poetry)
- Friedrich Nietzsche, Book 4 from The Joyful Wisdom, 1882 (philosophical text)
- Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, 1843 (novella)
- Karl Marx and Friedrich Engles, The Communist Manifesto, 1848 (political pamphlet)
- Christina Rossetti, “Goblin Market” 1862 (poetry)
- Matthew Arnold, “Dover Beach” 1867 (poetry)
- Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 1886 (novella)
- Kate Chopin, “The Story of an Hour” 1894 (short story)
- Mark Twain, “The Five Boons of Life” 1902 (short story)
- Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence, 1921 (novel)
Use the link near the bottom of this page to access direct links to the works listed above.
Once you have selected and read the work, you will create a paragraph of descriptive writing with your personal observations about the work. This paragraph must be written before you do research on the work, the author, and the period it comes from. You will need to be quite detailed in your description of the work.
The next step will be to research the work, the life of the artist, and the period. You will then be ready to create your analysis. This process of analysis will require you to discuss the historical context of the work, pertinent aspects of the author’s biography, themes and/or stylistic characteristics of its historical period, and finally, the relevance of this work for audiences today.
The final requirement of the task will be to reflect on this process of analysis and describe how your perception of the work changed.
Your submission must be your original work. No more than a combined total of 30% of the submission and no more than a 10% match to any one individual source can be directly quoted or closely paraphrased from sources, even if cited correctly. Use the Turnitin Originality Report available in Taskstream as a guide for this measure of originality.
You must use the rubric to direct the creation of your submission because it provides detailed criteria that will be used to evaluate your work. Each requirement below may be evaluated by more than one rubric aspect. The rubric aspect titles may contain hyperlinks to relevant portions of the course.
- Record your initial reaction to the work (suggested length of 1 paragraph or half a page) by doing the following:
- Describe your initial thoughts and/or feelings about the work.
- Describe in detail at least one aspect of the work that most interests you.
- Analyze the work (suggested length of 2–4 pages) by doing the following:
- Describe the historical context of the period in which the work was written.
- Discuss insights into the work that can be gained from the author’s biography.
- Analyze how this work explores a particular theme and/or stylistic characteristic from its period.
- Explain the relevance of this work for today’s audiences.
- Discuss how the deeper knowledge you gained through your analysis has informed or altered your thoughts and/or feelings about the work (suggested length of 1 paragraph or half a page).
- When you use sources to support ideas and elements in a paper or project, provide acknowledgement of source information for any content that is quoted, paraphrased or summarized. Acknowledgement of source information includes in-text citation noting specifically where in the submission the source is used and a corresponding reference, which includes the following:
- location of information (e.g., publisher, journal, website URL)
- Demonstrate professional communication in the content and presentation of your submission.
Note: The use of APA citation style is encouraged but is not required for this task. Evaluators will offer feedback on the acknowledgement of source information but not with regard to conformity with APA or other citation style. For tips on using APA style, please refer to th
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