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At this point, you have encountered a number of different theories that consider the nature of good and evil from a variety of
viewpoints. For this assignment, you will use these ideas to position yourself in the debate and join the conversation by
formulating and supporting an account of your own of the nature of good and evil for an academic audience unfamiliar with
your sources. This account will certainly, like the other arguments, be in part a product of the context within which you live,
so for this paper, you will want to consider aspects of contemporary life as a context to develop your theory. For contemporary
life you may use a contemporary, current event within the last four years. If you wish to go farther back, you must discuss that
with me, but you will not be allowed to use WW II, Hitler, or any other large historical examples. You may also choose a
fictional account such as a novel, TV show, or film, but you may not use Fellowship of the Ring.
Each paragraph of your essay should advance a claim of your own about some aspect of good or evil. You may want to
consider questions such as the sources of good and evil, the characteristics of good and evil, and the effects of good and evil on
individuals and societies. Each paragraph should also “join the conversation” by placing your claim into the context of the
readings from the class, and position your argument in relation to those texts, considering how your argument uses, extends
complicates, qualifies, challenges, or transforms the ideas about good and evil in those readings or visa versa. (Each paragraph
should join the conversation using your own ideas plus a minimum of three theories from the readings: one from Plato,
Augustine, or Fellowship of the Ring and use both of the last two readings, Susan Griffin’s “Our Secret,” and the National
Geographic article. THEN, you will apply your theory of good and evil to your chosen outside source to determine and explain
how and how well your works, what does not work or work as well, why doesn’t it work, how might you change your theory to
make it work, and finally what does this tell you about developing and applying your own theory. No one’s theory is perfect.
Finally, each paragraph should develop and support your claim with the use of various types of evidence, including specific
examples (real examples and/or examples from art and/or popular culture), numerical evidence, expert testimony, etc. As you
craft this argument, be mindful of the effect of your strategies on your intended reader; how would this argument appeal to
their sense of logic, to their emotions and to their values? Would it persuade them that you are a credible source?
Page length: Five pages minimum, MLA format. The paper may be longer.
Successful papers will
1. Use your theory and the theories we have discussed in class to revise your own theory on the nature of good and evil
and support your theory and argument with evidence.
2. Join the conversation by positioning yourself in relation to the texts we have read discussions of “Good and Evil.”
3. Introduce your paper by bringing the reader into the topic, by providing context of the topic of good and evil, and
introducing the texts and how you are using them.
4. Develop and state an effective thesis, controlling idea, or project statement.
5. Discuss and explain your theory, main claim, supporting claims. Use evidence to support your theory and explain how
three readings from the class have affected your theory. After this discussion, use Plato etc. minimally.
6. Apply your theory to one text either real or fictional to test how well your claims apply to that text. Ideally, some of
your theory will work out quite well and some parts may not work out very well or not at all. Use evidence.
7. Discuss, analyze, and explain what parts of and how well your theory applies to your text. Explore and explain what
does not work, what you want to consider, and how you might change your theory. Use evidence from the text to
compare to your theory. You may also bring in the other readings sparingly and only to back up, support, or help
revise your theory.
8. Use Evidence to back up your theory and claims to support your assertions about your theory and the text.
9. Manage quotations well by introducing and effectively commenting on what the quoted material is doing (reporting,
interpreting, analyzing, etc.), explaining how the quotes support your explanation, analysis, and what readers ought to
10. Use an effective structure that carefully guides the reader from one idea to the next.
11. Conclude with the significance of your own project in this paper or the significance of examining this text and any
other text by using the argument of others to gain greater understanding.
12. Edit so that sentences are readable and appropriate for an academic paper, including meticulous attention to grammar
as well as MLA formatting & citation, and include a “Works Cited Page.”