ENGL 1020: Composition II
Essay #4 – Innocence and Experience
Objective: Write an MLA documented essay of at least 750 words, applying one or more
literary elements to at least three sources (combining primary and secondary).
In an initiation story, the protagonist moves from a state of innocence to a state of experience, and in doing so, is dramatically changed. In their innocence, such characters are typically naïve or ignorant about some aspect of their lives and world. Through an encounter with the true nature of the world, however, the protagonist experiences an epiphany/revelation (a flash of insight and understanding). Traumatized by truth, he or she is forever changed and, for better or worse, moves into a state of experience.
For this essay, trace the steps of either Mrs. Turpin’s or Maya Angelou’s initiation, defining precisely how and what the protagonist is innocent about, identifying the epiphany that ushers her into experience, and showing exactly how she is profoundly changed in her new understanding of the world.
Length Requirements: 750 words
Format: Use the MLA-Style Manuscript Guidelines detailed on pages 213-31 of your handbook. Try not to use the first person (I, me) or second person (you). If you use them, do so sparingly. The essay should be argumentative in nature and should NOT summarize the literary works. The essay should use MLA format for internal citations and the Works Cited page.
One primary source: either “Revelation” or “Graduation”
Two secondary sources from the library’s databases. Note that secondary sources for Maya Angelou’s work should be found in relation to her book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, in which “Graduation” is a chapter.
Save and submit as instructed in syllabus.
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