Stop the presses! This email came in at 1:45pm today:
I have to write a 4-6 page paper (due today) on a theory. My teacher gave us the theories - marxist, feminism, postcolonial, queer, and cultural materialism. I have no idea what any of them mean, except feminism, and i can't find any info to help me online. i have to write the paper using one of these theories and one of the stories i've read thus far; Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Piers Plowman, Canterbury Tales (General Prologue, Pardoner's Prologue and Tale, Wife of Bath, Miller's Prologye and Tale, and the Closing), Everyman, and The Second Shepherds' Play. I have no idea what to do and this paper is due at 4:30 today. can you help me ????
Maybe! If you type really fast, stay off FB, and follow my five-step plan, you might have something resembling a paper to give your teacher at 4:30.
When you're in a jam like this, you have to work with what you have. In this case, you have a knowledge of feminism, so go with that. Immediately worrying about the other theories your prof mentioned as options. From now until 4:30, you're all feminism, all the time (step 1).
It sounds like you've also read the assigned material. Great! Think about female characters in the works you mention (step 2). Two women jump out at me: Grendel's mother and the Wife of Bath. Now think about how those women cope with their male-dominated societies (step 3). Do they knuckle under? Whine? Work with what they've got? Forge alliances with other women? Once you've answered this question, you'll have your thesis.
Now find three or four passages in the book that support your thesis (step 4). Jot down page numbers and a phrase or two about what each passage suggests, specifically.
Now write your paper (step 5).
When you have more time, pick up the Bedford Glossary of Literary Terms. It's a good starting place for understanding literary theories.
Got any tips for our panicky Sparkler? How do you write papers in two hours or less?