Write a research paper on what we may learn about the cultures represented by these books by examining these periods of conflict.

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Write a research paper on what we may learn about the cultures represented by these books by examining these periods of conflict. Purpose: For this assignment, you’ll choose one of the topics below to help you make an argument about Sundiata and Popul Vuh. You will then write an essay with a minimum of 1250 words arguing for and supporting your conclusions. This assignment will build your writing and analytical skills.
We encourage you to use the material in the course to further develop your own original interpretations and arguments; researching other secondary sources is not required for this assignment, and plagiarism of other sources will not be tolerated. Be sure to cite any secondary research that you do for this assignment using MLA citations.

First, choose one of the following two topics:
Topic #1: One of the Five Great Themes of World Literature is “Sacred & Secular.” As stated in Unit 1 of this course, “We will find in our study of literary masterpieces from the past many intricate negotiations between the divine and the earthly realms.” Focusing on both Sundiata and Popul Vuh, select a moment of conflict in each text where we see divine characters interacting with earthly characters. For each, clearly describe the context within which this interaction takes place. Next, identify and discuss the cultural values we see through their interaction. Finally, discuss the following question: What do we learn about the cultures embraced by these texts when we examine these moments of conflict?
Topic #2: Both Sundiata and Popul Vuh deal centrally with a heroic quest. Unit 1’s introduction to the Five Great Themes of World Literature states with regard to the hero: “The surest way to understand what a culture of the past most values is to focus on what it considers heroic, in that a culture recognizes its heroes as embodying its most important ideas, the values that are essential.” Discuss what forces Sundiata and the Hero Twins Hunahpu and Xbalanque have to overcome and how they go about doing it. For Sundiata your essay will probably focus on Sundiata’s historical destiny; in Popul Vuh, the Twins’ quest will have a more mythic quality, but you probably will focus on the meaning for the Mayan culture of the mythic events. Regardless, be sure to discuss the texts in relation to one another, and craft an argument about the similarities and differences in their presentation of their heroic quests.
Second, write an essay presenting your argument. Include quotations from the texts as well as additional details that illustrate and enhance the points you are making. Use the following as an outline of what to include:
Explain the general topic and relevant themes (e.g. heroes, women) and any relevant terms for that topic (suggested 1-2 paragraphs).
Apply that topic to both Sundiata and to Popul Vuh (suggested 4-6 paragraphs). Give specific examples and quotes from the texts to support your analyses. Use in-text citations for the quotations.
Compare and contrast the texts; it’s up to you whether you organize your essay around this (i.e. spend half comparing them, then half contrasting them) or talk about each of them individually, then mention similarities and differences.
Your final page should be your Works Cited page, in MLA format. It should include the literary texts, as well as any content pages from the course material to which you may have referred and any secondary sources you used. Do not plagiarize.
Don’t forget to review the guidelines for How to Succeed in the Written Assignments and the sample paper in MLA format. Make sure you save time to submit your draft to Tutor.com via the free Tutoring Services link (on the green toolbar above) for helpful feedback before the due date. All writing assignments have Turnitin enabled for plagiarism detection.
You’ll be graded on your ability to analyze your topic thoughtfully through your writing, as well as on your language, organization, and MLA formatting. Familiarize yourself with the criteria below by reviewing the Final Essay Rubric.
File submissions: Please submit your file as a DOC.X or PDF file.
Criteria on which you will be graded:
Your arguments are thoughtful
Your essay is well-organized
Your analysis is specific and original
Your use of language is clear and effective
Your quotations and Works Cited are correctly formatted in MLA style
This activity may use a different grading rubric than what was used in past activities. Be sure to check the grading rubric before starting.

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