Guidelines for Writing Paper Letters of the Younger Pliny Your paper on Letters of the Younger Pliny should follow a specific theme, which is that of Pliny as a father figure. Although he had no children of his own, Pliny is eager to take on the role of a father figure in Roman society. In your reading, try to find examples of this wider definition of the “father” or “paterfamilias” as it was called during the Roman Empire and see what kind of picture emerges of this man. Approach Before you begin to read Pliny, make sure you have read the main textbook (A History of Western Society, Volume I, edited McKay, Hill and Buckler), chapters 5 and 6, particularly chapter 5 from the section titled “Traditional Life and Greek Influences” on to the end of chapter 6. This will give you the necessary background to understanding the society in which Pliny lived. Consider carefully the concept of “paterfamilias” and also “Life in the Golden Age” in chapter 6. Once you have done this, you should read your Penguin Classic version of Pliny’s Letter. Reading Pliny for this paper You may want to mark the Pliny book where you find something interesting, which relates to the actual paper. This will pertain to relevant information about Pliny as a father figure, so you will be looking for those examples as you read through. Do not be overwhelmed by reading Pliny. If you are reading a letter which doesn’t seem to relate to the paper, and it doesn’t hold your attention, leave it and move on to the next letter. Try to read a cross section of as many letters as possible from each chapter or “book” of letters. (There are ten of these but do not panic – they are quite short). Mark the interesting letters which do answer these points with a post-it note or by highlighting the text so that it is easier to come back to them and include them in your argument. What to ask yourself There are many, less obvious ways in which Pliny may be a father figure in society, without actually having children of his own. Does he set a good example in public life? Does he treat his friends well? What is his attitude towards his friends’ children, and the younger generation in general? What is his attitude towards people who need his help or who are of a lower social status? Does he try to influence other people’s lives for the good? To use the power he may have, to further their situation? Remember that Pliny is a man of his time, and some of his attitudes may seem alien to us, but we need to judge him by the values of his society, as well as timeless values of kindness, compassion and concern. Format Your paper should be double spaced, between four and five pages long, excluding the title page and stapled at the top left corner. The title is given below. On the title page, you should also include your name, class number and the date. The paper should be turned in according to the date given on the syllabus. When citing, you may refer only to the textbook, which you may cite in full the first time you mention it, and after that, use an abbreviation, such as Western Society and the page number, both in parentheses. When citing a particular letter by Pliny, use (Book#, Letter#) in parentheses at the end of the paragraph of text. These are shortened citation forms, as you will be using only two books for this paper. Title Use this exact title to keep your writing and focus on track. To what extent was Pliny a positive mentor and/or father figure in Roman Society, even though he had no children of his own?
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