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Literature of the Underworld: Home

ENGL 2341 Honors Class with Professor Dethloff

Reserved for You

Below is a sample of the books available on reserve. You will find over twenty items available for two hour checkouts.

Citation Management Tools

EasyBib: the bibliography maker.

We encourage you to practice creating citations yourself. This is because many citation tools are computer generated, which means they make mistakes. You MUST know how to properly cite the information in order to catch mistakes made by the computer.

About the Assignments

Dante's Inferno

This is a defense paper about Dante's Inferno. You are expected to respond to the following questions in your defense:

  1. The Source: Why should I read something so old and archaic?
  2. The Text: Why is it important?
  3. The Receiver: What is in it for me?

Be sure to weave these answers together into a unified thesis/theme.

For more details about the assignment and for content specific information, visit Dante's Divine Comedy guide.

Defense of an Underworld

You are expected to write a defense paper over your own original 21st century underworld. In it, you will respond to the following questions:

  1. The Source: Where did it come from?
  2. The Text: What is it?
  3. The Receiver: Why is it necessary today?

All three sections or answers should weave together into a unified thesis/theme.

The Source

Where did it come from?

Research a primary text from:

1. Ancient Greece and Rome

2. More secular contemporary society

Like Paper 1, you may cover in your researchL biography, time period in history, culture, society, religion, politics, etc. -up to you.

Analyse the sources and place the primary texts in context. You will need to use at least 2 secondary sources for each primary text; total minimum of 4 secondary sources.

**You are establishing a foundation on which your own underworld is to be built.**

The Text

What is it?

Invent your own original 21st century underworld. Explain your underworld through the elements of literary analysis. To guide the creation of your own underworld, you will use at least 1 secondary source on underworlds on reserve at the library.

The Receiver

Why is it necessary today?

Argue for the necessity of our new 21st century underworld. Your support for why it is necessary should fall within the same categories as your covered in the first part.

This time you are contrasting YOUR underworld to those of the past by putting our society in relation to those of the past.

You will need to use at least 1 secondary source that covers some area of contemporary society.


Your paper will be in MLA formating style, including citation and documentation.

Minimum lenth: 1,500 words

Minimum number of sources:

Paper 1 Paper 2

Inferno is your primary source

5 secondary sources

Total minimum: 6 sources listed on your works cited page.

2 primary sources (from class)

6 secondary sources

Total minimum: 8 sources listed on your works cited page.



Hook the reader! Make it interesting. Lead up to an state your thesis. Explain why your paper is important:

What is the problem or question in the work that needs to be answered?

State your thesis as the last line in your introduction.


Flesh out your arguments/answers for the three parts or questions.


Restate your thesis in a new way. (NEVER as the last sentence!)

Use a conclusion strategy:

  • Explain the implication of your analysis and the work.
  • Give a final evaluation of the work based on your analysis.
  • Present an area of ambiguity or any unresolved questions about the work that your analysis presents.

Connecting the Papers to the Honors Project

You will use a great deal of the research from this paper in you honors project. Keep in mind the honors project as you approach the research component and writing the paper. You may wish to reuse some of the secondary sources in your honors project. You may use all of them!


All the research papers will culminate in a final project where you create your own underworld. Your help must be applicable to today's society. The scope of how your hell applies is up to you (specific country, culture, religion, profession, etc.).



At least one primary source from each time period (3):

  1. Ancient Greece and Rome
  2. Christian Middle Ages and Renaissance
  3. Secular contemporary society

Plus 1 primary source from the library reserve collection or one of your choosing. This can fit any of the three time periods.

Total: 4 Primary Sources


Use at least 2 secondary sources for each of the 4 primary sources. You may use the same ones you used in your research papers.

Plus, one secondary source from the reserve collection in the library.

Total: at least 9 secondary sources

Format Your presentation will have oral and visual components. There will be a question/answer session after each presentation.
Timing 10-15 minutes, with a 5 minute Q&A.

There are 3 main parts to the presentation:

  1. Provide background information. Present the primary source and secondary source information on the previous underworlds and explore areas/ topics of your choosing.
  2. Represent, demonstrate, and explain your original underworld base on the areas/topics you explored in the first section.
  3. Connect your original 21st century underworld to the "real" world outside literature. -Use this as a conclusion to unify all parts of the project.
Documentation You are expected to give a works cited list to the audience that will include all primary and secondary sources used throughout the semester on the project.



Videos About the Underworld

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