Hybrid Body Overview

Context: Throughout this quarter, you will be developing your writing, analytical, and research skills by thinking through comparative media and its relationship with bodies and texts in transformation, as well as the larger cultural, social, and political implications that representations of hybrid and transforming bodies indicate. Ultimately, this process will culminate into the final research essay.

The first essay should be thought of a far smaller essay than the final research paper. For this reason, the first essay should not attempt to offer a full reading of the text or put forth any developed understanding of comparative media. Instead, the aim of this essay is to provide a specific close-reading of a hybrid body, and offer thick, detailed description and analysis of perhaps only one or two scenes from your chosen text (it can be any text from Week 0-2, so don’t feel confined to just writing on The Island of Dr. Moreau).

Prompt: Describe a hybrid body in terms of its “composition.” Give an example of “hybrid bodies” from one of our course texts. Describe in detail the appearance of this body. What is it made of? What do those elements signify? In reference to the human-machine, human-animal, or animal-machine hybrid as a metaphor for cultural forces at work, describe the significance of the metamorphic body you have chosen to write about.


Your essay should establish an arguable position, or thesis, in the introductory paragraph and rely upon direct quotations and other textual evidence to support its claim throughout the body paragraphs. I encourage you to go very heavy in your analysis, and don’t just let the quotes speak for themselves. Instead, be very detailed and clear about the points and connections that you are making with the text. For each line of textual quotation, I would try to have at least three lines of your own analysis and commentary (and although I like this 1:3 ratio, don’t feel too constrained by it). Each paragraph should begin with a topic sentence that specifically guides the content of the paragraph and provide a transition sentence or two to provide structure and clarity to the argument and examples being discussed. Your essay should end with a conclusion that not only restates the thesis, but also gestures toward the larger implications of the work, perhaps by discussing the direction that discussion can continue, or rearticulating important take-aways from the argument, etc.

Your essay should follow current MLA 8th edition guidelines. For a refresher/reference, I find these websites to be helpful:

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