British Literature,Humanity, Modernity, and the Cultural Narrative of Progress Do human beings evolve, or do we just keep making the same mistakes, perhaps even inventing new problems for ourselves? Is social development progressive, as those subscribing

 Essay Assignment Two: Humanity, Modernity, and the Cultural Narrative of Progress
Do human beings evolve, or do we just keep making the same mistakes, perhaps even inventing new problems for ourselves? Is social development progressive, as those subscribing to the rational values of the Enlightenment would hold, or is there evidence to support the view held by some of the English romantics, that human society grows progressively worse? To answer this question, compare and contrast one of the nineteenth century texts we’ve read this semester with one from the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries (not including the text you wrote on for your first essay), focusing on the ways in which each text addresses one of the following issues:
Sex, gender
Race, colonialism
The Nonhuman (animals, plants, ecologies, etc.)
Science, learning (or the “liberal arts” in the case of Shakespeare)
Class, social hierarchies
In other words you might choose to write on how Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland takes up and extends Jonathan Swift’s satire on social class in Gulliver’s Travels. Or you might choose to address changes in attitudes towards the nonhuman, as demonstrated by a comparison between S.T. Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. Or perhaps you might compare the treatment of race issues in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. You have a number of options, but whatever your choice of text and subject, be sure that you are comparing a nineteenth- with a pre-nineteenth-century text, and that you do not write on the text that was the subject of your first essay.
Please be aware that the topics given above are very general, and will need to be considerably developed towards a more focused argument as you work towards your essay’s thesis topic. 
Your essay must be 6-8 pages (about 1,800 – 2,400 words)
The essay will be worth 25% of your semester grade. All papers must be typed in a legible font, double-spaced, with one-inch margins all around and in 12-point font. Follow the guidelines described on the style guide for this course, and use the citation practices of the MLA guide, 8th edition.

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