Comparative Analysis Paper on Medieval Literature

This paper will ask you to critically analyze one or two literary works we have read in class, focusing on the theme of “Otherness in Medieval Literature.” You must focus on this specific theme by analyzing tropes (a conventional idea or figurative language) that you find in these texts – how do understandings of cultural, religious, or corporeal difference change depending on the context of these literary works? How do these changes help define or re-define how we understand medieval cultural encounters? Prove your ideas and your argument with quotations of the texts, following MLA format.

You must source your research paper with scholarship from the last 25-30 years in the form of journal articles and books. Your bibliography must be in MLA format and you may use articles I’ve posted on Blackboard, as well as those you find in the MLA Bibliography, JSTOR, Project MUSE, etc. You should have SEVEN secondary sources (not including the primary texts you’re writing about).

For example, you might focus on religious differences in the Song of Roland and/or The Song of the Cid. You might also write about Chaucer, Boccaccio, and the Arabian Nights as frame tales. The choice of the topic, and the text(s) you want to analyze is up to you.


  1. Identify a theme or a trope that exemplifies otherness in a medieval literary text or two.

Choose an appropriately significant theme and trope that interests you, and compare how each is represented differently in medieval contexts. Cite frequently, to demonstrate and prove your points, using page numbers or line numbers from poetry.

  1. You may choose from any of the texts we have read for class.
  2. Papers should conform to either MLA format of Style. They are to be 7-10 pages in length, double-spaced.

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