Solomon Northrup (Twelve Years a Slave)

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Write a paper of approximately 500 words in which you provide a reference-book-style overview of author Solomon Northrup (Twelve Years a Slave). While this assignment will be rather brief, do not be fooled into thinking that it will be simple. Your writing should be exceptionally concise and focused, packing as much information into those 500 words as you can possibly manage. You will obviously need to use outside sources to research this paper, document it in your submission separately.

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Claiming a Topic: When you have selected a topic, post a message in this discussion forum with the work/author as your subject line. If yours is the first “John Taylor,” for example, then you have the rights to that work. Later, you will be posting your actual paper as a reply to that original posting.

Contents: While there is no fixed pattern for this sort of writing, a good set of contents will probably include the following: an overview of the person, a bit of information about the writer’s life, a look at the writer’s work, and a brief critical appraisal of this work.

Please note that it is exceptionally easy to wind up plagiarizing an assignment like this. I encourage you to consult online as well as print sources as you write this paper, but be very careful that you do not follow any one or more of these sources too closely. Remember that closely following another source in words, ideas, and/or structure can be considered plagiarism.

How do you avoid this problem?

First, create your own structure. For example, you might find a resource that relates the life of Alfred Lottagall’s The Folly of Foolishness as follows:

Paragraph 1—Introduction and overview.

Paragraph 2—Plot summary.

Paragraph 3—Critical interpretation

Paragraph 4—Author’s life

Paragraph 5—The opinions of the critics

Paragraph 6—Conclusion.

Whatever else you do, don’t just follow that structure. Perhaps you could mix the plot summary in with the critical interpretation. Second, don’t follow the structures of other people’s sentences. Write your own ideas from scratch. If you do these two simple things, no one will consider accusing you of academic dishonesty.


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