Mosaic I (Fall 2009) - Paper #1

Mosaic I - Paper #1

Write a paper on one of the topics below.

Topic #1

Write an interpretation of The Epic of Gilgamesh. The story is framed with the suggestion that we admire the fire-baked walls of Uruk. Why does the poet draw this to our attention at both the beginning and the end? Why does the poet allow Gilgamesh to find the flower of youth, only to have it snatched away by a snake? Why does the poet have Gilgamesh fail to achieve immortality? Why does Gilgamesh fail Uta-napishti's test so miserably? An interpretation should explain the purpose of the work and illuminate the role of various aspects of the text; it should not be a plot summary. Papers that are primarily plot summary will receive a failing grade. Your interpretation must be supported by textual evidence.

Topic #2

Explain and evaluate Borges' argument against the prospect of a desirable form of immortality. Why does Borges envision the immortals as hopelessly apathetic and craving nothing so much as death? What problems does he identify with immortality? For instance, he claims that there are no moral or intellectual merits among immortals. Why does he think this? Is he right? Your paper must be supported by textual evidence. Papers that are primarily plot summary will receive a failing grade. You are prohibited from appealing to religious authority in your evaluation. If you are unable to write on this topic without preaching, choose topic #1 instead.

Due Date

Tuesday 10/06/2009


The paper should be no more than 1,000 words. This is approximately 3 pages double-spaced with Arial 12 point font.


The paper must be typed. It should be double spaced. It should have one inch margins. You should use a 12 point font. I prefer Arial, since it is easy to read. Please follow the general paper and exam instructions under the "course documents / writing" section on Blackboard.


You are required to hand in a paper copy at the start of class on the due date. In addition you must submit the paper through Safe Assign via Blackboard by 11:59 pm on the due date. Safe Assign is a plagiarism detection tool. It will compare your paper against others available online, in journals, submitted in this class, Temple, and from all other universities that use the software.

Note: Plagiarism will result in a failing grade in the class, not just on this assignment. The paper must be the product of your own work. This is not a group exercise.


Your paper should be clearly written, well-structured, and free of grammatical and spelling errors. It is practically impossible to get higher than a C if you start writing the night before the paper is due. The grading scale is as follows:

A = excellent

B = good

C = meets minimal expectations

D = bad

F = awful