Relate some evil action of which you have considerable knowledge to the themes o
Relate some evil action of which you have considerable knowledge to the themes of the course. You might know the action through either (a.) personal involvement, (b.) detailed second-hand, historical, or news reports, or (c.) psychologically realistic fiction or film that contains enough detail for psychological analysis (e.g., Breaking Bad, Macbeth). For example – but not necessarily – you may attempt to explain the source of the evil behavior in a way that comports, or tellingly fails to comport, with the ideas of some of the authors studied. This action may not be one discussed extensively in class. (The Armenian Genocide and Tuskegee are okay.Southern U.S. racial lynchings are not.) The action needn’t be broadly known, or of any historical importance: Something your uncle did is okay. (But bear in mind that you will be sharing this essay with students and your TA.) In citing a film, you must refer to the minute in which the cited scene occurs, for each cited scene. At least half the essay must be devoted to analysis of the action, rather than simply the reporting of it. Essays that simply describe an evil action in detail, without substantial effort to relate it to the themes of the course, will not be accepted. Neither will essays with the following format: (a.) description of an evil act, followed by (b.) attribution of that act to a purely sadistic or malevolent impulse, followed by (c.) the observation that Mengzi does not seem to allow for purely sadistic or malevolent impulses. That argument is too simple and easy and will have been made too often in class (by the time the paper is due). You must display, or attempt to display, some creative analysis of your own. Subtle and nuanced analysis is preferred, including efforts to render the action compatible with the views of an author when it might at first seem not to be compatible (even if you must acknowledge in the end that such efforts fail). If you are in doubt about a potential topic, or about the best way to structure your essay, please consult with your TA. Papers will be graded primarily on the basis of: (1.) the insightfulness of the analysis of the action, (2.) the knowledge displayed of the themes and authors discussed, (3.) the plausibility of your claims and the adequacy of the argumentative support you offer for them, and (4.) clarity and cogency. You must properly cite any source you use, whether it’s an author assigned in class, something you’ve read on the side, or information from the internet. Citation format is not important, but the information should be specific enough that your TA can find the original source. When citing a text, specify page number or page range. When citing a film, specify the minute of the film. When citing a web source, specify the URL. Please do not quote extensive passages: They will not count toward the minimum word limit of your essay. You may if you wish quote a few words or a phrase if you find it especially well put. However, generally paraphrases are preferred. Putting things in your own words shows that you understand the material, and itreveals your impression of what is important in the material, in a way quoting does not. You must, of course, properly cite (with a footnote, endnote, or parenthetical reference) authors whose ideas you use or discuss, even if only in paraphrase. Improper use of sources is plagiarism, for which the first-time penalty is an F in the course and referral to the office for student conduct. You are urged to err on the side of over-citing rather than under-citing if you are in doubt. A computer program will automatically compare your essay against other essays submitted for the course, as well as against previously submitted essays and various internet sources.

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