WRITING THE ESSAY II: THE MEANING OF MYTH: In this first-year research seminar, we will discuss and write about an exciting range of myths in order to develop key composition and research skills. Myth is a far-reaching category that intersects with such fields as literature, history, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, theology, gender studies, political science, and psychology. Myths are said to address the origin and nature of things, how people should act, what motivates human behavior, and what it means to be human. Readings cover many genres and may include short foundational Western and non-Western tales; excerpts from longer texts such as Genesis, The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Bhagavad-Gita, and The Odyssey; selected short works such as Grimms’ Fairy Tales, Eliot’s Waste Land, Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, and Camus’ “Myth of Sisyphus"; the poetry of Anne Sexton and Adrienne Rich; and essays by Darwin, Marx, Freud, Jung, Malinowski, Campbell, and Eliade. The class also addresses mythic themes in visual art, and how myths continue to inform politics and contemporary thought. In the course of composing and workshopping essays related to the readings, students will explore how to formulate interesting questions, conduct close readings, construct and organize arguments, locate apt sources, marshal evidence, improve grammatical clarity, and reorganize and revise. Essays build toward a fully developed research paper.