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English 475: Literature of Viruses and Diseases Language Essay (Essay Sample)


Essay #1-
English 475: Literature of Viruses and Diseases
(Book cover. Defoe, Daniel. A Journal of the Plague Year.)

Goal: To develop an original argument based on Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year and its depiction of that virus.

Choose one of the two options below:

Consider some of the most, haunting, enduring images and references to the plague in Defoe’s book – the death carts, the pit, the ghost images at the beginning, and more. What do the images have in common, how does Defoe portray them, and what language is used in the process? Find at least three to four such references, across the spectrum of the book, and provide a reading of Defoe’s portrayal of them. Connect the images together in some way with a uniting thesis statement on what Defoe may be doing with their collective portrayal.
Consider the way Defoe portrays women and females during the plague. Several of his anecdotes center around women and their helpless experiences with the plague. Some useable passages may be found by searching for these terms: “a certain lady had only a daughter” (1/6) and “was that of women with child” (3/6). Does Defoe depict women any more helplessly than English people as a whole, or is the human condition entirely a forlorn one? Try to find multiple passages about women to make a connection. You’re welcome to include portrayals of women with infants as part of the discussion.

Parameters: 12-point, Times New Roman font; double-spaced; MLA format (loose); ‘Works Cited’ page; in-text citations (just page numbers or estimates); 3.5-5 pages in length

Use directly-quoted textual evidence in every body paragraph. This essay is worth 14% of the final course grade. I can look at early drafts, if they are sent to me via email by Friday at noon.

This essay is due on Sunday, 18 October at 11:59 p.m. CST.

Good luck!


During the Renaissance period or the 17th century, patriarchy is the societal system that the societies follow. The men hold authority over many things like politics, households, women, and children. The patriarchal system simply acknowledged men as the superior being among everyone. On the other hand, women were the subordinate gender. In the 17th century, the perception of women was as a family person and homemaker. Their role was to stay at home with the children. They follow the words of men or their husbands. There was no place for them in the business or political platforms. Because of the men-over-women and parents-over-child mindset, the patriarchal society pushed women at the corner of society. Women's existence was always about men; how to please the men, how to be of help to the men; how to become men's wife (Mack).
In the past, women had barely any rights. They did not have the right to vote as they were not considered relevant to political talks. Because of this, they did not also have the right to owning property or wealth. 

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