TASK:
Write a thoughtful essay in response to the following prompt.

In Their Eyes Were Watching God, the narrator and Janie both reference “the horizon” several times. The word shows up on the first and the last page of the novel and on many pages in between, which draws our attention to it. In class, we have discussed (or will) how “the horizon” is a very flexible term and a free-floating concept, one that isn’t very clearly defined. We’ve alsotalked about how “the horizon” might be Janie’s vision of contentedness or even happiness. But the concepts of “contentedness” and “happiness” are still far too vague. So…what should wedo? I’m asking you to climb the ladder of specificity in relation to these concepts and answer the following questions in your essay: What does Janie value? What does Janie need, really, in order to be content and/or happy? What specific forms do “contentedness” and “happiness” take in Janie’s life?

Your job is not to write about every single one of those elements of Janie’s happiness or to simply list them. Rather, I want you to take one or two or three of them in turn and fully explain 1) what that element is, 2) what that element means to Janie, 3) where in the text you recognize that element functioning in Janie’s life, 4) how you know that Janie values that element, and 5) how, why, and in what ways that element is significant.

(Please Note: If you select, for example, “freedom” as the single concept to investigate in your essay, you are not saying that only “freedom” matters to Janie. Rather, you are saying that “freedom” in its various manifestations is well worth investigating and exploring in great detail. You can even explain this in your introduction. One goal of this essay is to look very closely at a few things, not to look very quickly at many things. Does this make some sense?)Keep in mind that one way to discover what Janie values and/or wants in her life is to look closely at those elements that she does not value or want. Perhaps you will want to write about that as well.

EXPECTATIONS:
A Few Basic Requirements Your paper:
At minimum, you should have 1200 words and should include a work cited page;

Should be double-spaced and written in 12-point, Times New Roman font;

Should employ specific textual evidence fromTheir Eyes, and, of course, substantive, critical analysis of this evidence;

Should avoid summarizing. Although some context occasionally will be necessary, you should assume that your audience (your peers in this class) is familiar withTheir Eyes;

Should be organized around your central analytical thesis statement so that all of the work you do in the paper points back to this thesis and serves as an extended argument for the validity of this central claim;

Should have body paragraphs that begin with good idea statements or claims that provide a context and focus for the rest of the paragraph;

Should adhere to the grammatical and mechanical rules of standard English;

Should conform to MLA style and rules of citation.

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