Exploring Rebellion & Conformity: A Synthesis of Literary Perspectives


The Norton Field Guide explains that “When you synthesize, you group similar bits of information together, looking for patterns or themes or trends and trying to identify key points…such as how two sources agree with each other but not completely and how the information in one source supports or undercuts the argument of another” (Bullock 473-75).

In this assignment, you will synthesize the themes of three or more of the official readings in the course, on the dichotomy of rebellion and conformity, as described in the unit’s Video Briefing. Your task is to compare, contrast, and combine the viewpoints presented in these three sources to gain a deeper understanding of the topic. The essay should be a minimum of 1,000 words and is worth a possible 133 points.


For this essay, you will:

  • Using the listing below, and the notes you submitted earlier, formally analyze three of the official readings in the course which discuss the themes of rebellion and conformity from different perspectives.
  • Craft a thesis statement that outlines how the three sources agree and disagree with one another on the topic of rebellion and conformity.
  • Begin the essay with a summary of issues you will consider surrounding rebellion and conformity.
  • Synthesize — compare, contrast, and combine — the three different stances observed in the different readings, highlighting how each of the readings offers insights into the human experience in terms of revellion versus conformity. Offer specific evidence from each reading to prove your key points. Assume your readers are familiar with each of the readings. (Do not indulge in summarizing entire plots; instead, only discuss the key elements which offer insight into these themes, summarizing them briefly and/or offering brief quotations which illustrate the pont and prove your point is accurate.)
  • End the essay with a brief description of your own personal perspective on the three sources, offering your insights and reflections on the topic.


  • Minimum of 1,000 words.
  • Adherence to MLA formatting guidelines (12-point Times New Roman font, double spacing, 1″ margins, indent the first lines of each paragraph, etc.)
  • An underlined thesis statement for your essay.
  • Attach your submission in PDF or Word file format (.doc or .docx)
  • Please keep your paragraphs focused on a single point, with a clear these sentence. Brief paragraphs are best; group longer sections under subheadings, which (in MLA) are bold text, “Capital Case,” on the left margin.
  • Find, cite, and effectively use two or more expert sources to support your approach or specific points in your essay. Include a Works Cited page, using proper MLA formatting and citations throughout.

Basic Concepts for Interpreting Literature in terms of Rebellion vs. Conformity

When considering the thematic dichotomy of rebellion vs conformity, including issues of the individual versus the group, take note of the following elements:

  1. Individual vs Group: Explore the tension between individual autonomy and conformity to societal norms or group dynamics.
  2. Motivations: Analyze the reasons behind characters’ choices to conform or rebel against established norms.
  3. Conflict: Identify conflicts that arise from clashes between individuals and societal expectations or group dynamics.
  4. Transformation: Examine how characters undergo personal growth or change as they navigate the struggle between rebellion and conformity.
  5. Power Dynamics: Consider the role of power structures and hierarchies in influencing individuals’ choices to conform or rebel.
  6. Social Pressure: Note the external influences and pressures that shape characters’ decisions to conform or challenge the status quo.
  7. Identity: Explore how conformity or rebellion can impact a character’s sense of self and individual identity.
  8. Consequences: Analyze the outcomes and consequences of characters’ choices to conform or rebel.
  9. Peer Influence: Consider the impact of peer pressure and the influence of social groups on characters’ behavior.
  10. Societal Norms: Examine the societal expectations, rules, and values that characters either conform to or challenge.
  11. Empowerment: Explore instances where rebellion against conformity leads to personal empowerment or societal change.
  12. Social Critique: Note any social commentary or critique of prevailing norms or systems embedded within the exploration of rebellion and conformity.

These elements provide a framework for analyzing and interpreting the thematic dichotomy of rebellion vs conformity. It is important to adapt and expand based on the specific context and themes present in each literary work, considering additional elements such as symbolism, character dynamics, narrative structure, and thematic development.

Proofreading and Grading Criteria

Ask yourself the following questions to help assess the quality of your essay:

  1. What does the essay do especially well?
  2. What is the title of the essay? Does the title reveal something about the content of the essay?
  3. Does the introduction of the essay establish the context of the issue, providing enough background information?
  4. What’s the thesis statement? Does the thesis focus on the debatable issue and the articles’ viewpoints? Does it allude to the main points? Is it on the first page? Is it 1-3 sentences?
  5. Does each section of the essay rely on the basic concepts, listed above?
  6. Does each section of the essay reference one of the readings — and compare/contrast it with others?
  7. Does the essay summarize and quote relevant points only? Is it padded with unnecessary plot summaries?
  8. Does the conclusion offer a personal perspective on the three sources, including real insights and reflections on the topic? Does the essay show genuine depth of thinking on the issue?
  9. How is the essay organized? Does the essay flow logically and smoothly? Can you identify a topic sentence early in each body paragraph?
  10. How would you describe the tone of the essay? Is the essay appropriately academic in its tone? Does it rely on third-person perspective, focusing on the works and topics themselves? Or, does it use unnecessary first- or second-person (I, You, We)? Are there casual sections that could be more professional?
  11. Is the essay free of grammatical and surface errors on the sentence level? Does it appear the author proofread their writing carefully, checked it in Grammarly/F7 in Word?
  12. What two or three revisions would most strengthen this essay?


Please note that I will also use these questions as a guide when grading this paper, so be sure to compose your writing with these criteria in mind.