Binary Paper


In this assignment, you will write a 4-5 page paper in which you identify both a specific binary at work in one of the texts from the syllabus and a moment in that text where that binary breaks down (is challenged, obliterated, complicated, etc.).  While you have a lot of leeway in terms of what you write about, you should consider 1) the importance of this binary as something communicated to/through  the child 2) how the figure of the child challenges that binary and 3) that you may use parts of this paper for your final project, so consider choosing a binary relevant to your group’s themes.

The purpose of this paper is to exercise students in articulating a close reading argument, engage students in greater detail about the course theme of binaries and breaking binaries, and to allow students the opportunity to further develop the ideas and skills demonstrated in their post.

Paper Guidelines

In this paper you will do three things:

1) you will identify a binary narrative that one of the texts on the syllabus creates/and or reinforces.   The question to ask is what kind of story does this binary tell.?  You will use relevant textual examples to illustrate how the literature constructs this binary, and you will posit your own idea about what might be at stake in communicating this binary.

2) you will find some small moment in the literature that defies  or challenges  or complicates the logic of that binary you have just articulated.   The moment will be small and it will not necessarily destroy the binary narrative you’ve articulated, but it will suggest a place where that narrative is vulnerable and where we are invited to think and imagine a different narrative.

3) You will ultimately make a claim about how this small moment affects the binary narrative the texts put forth.  This claim will be your thesis, so while in terms of thinking and pre-planning, you should come to this claim after thinking through steps 1 & 2, your written paper should posit this claim early on.

Note:  You are welcome to revisit and expound upon your binary/mess posts.  HOWEVER because those posts are interactive and responsive to each other, you should be careful to make sure you only revisit your own work.  There may be overlap in ideas, but your arguments must be your arguments.  Your readings must be your readings.

Second Note:  This paper is a paper, and should read as a paper with an introduction and a clearly stated and logically sound thesis.  You should introduce your various points with topic sentences.  You should bring your reader through your argument in stages that best illustrate your point.  You should use specific, relevant, and accurately cited textual evidence.  You should follow that evidence  with an explanation of how you want your reader view that evidence—how does it relate to your argument.  You should have a solid conclusion that does more than just restate your argument; it should try to deepen our awareness of the stakes or “so what” of the argument.

Paper Formatting Guidelines

  • 4-5 pages. You must have at least a 4 full pages.  It is not possible to do these assignments fully with less.*
  • 1 inch margins
  • Double spaced
  • 12 point Times New Roman Font
  • Name and any relevant class  or assignment info in the header
  • Page number in footer
  • There should be no identification /header  in the body of the paper (i.e. date, instructor, etc).  That space is for your paper.

* If you find that you are over by ½ a page, do not worry.  If you are over by a whole page, you should make sure all parts of the paper are relevant and that you’re being precise.   If you have concerns about the page length, you must talk to me at least a week before the paper is due.