Hannah Webster Foster’s The Coquette

Hannah Webster Foster’s The Coquette (1797) can be read as a cautionary tale for women to be mindful of the dangers of seduction, but we also hear in Eliza’s declarations of freedom and desire for friendship strong opposition to the dominant models for being and belonging circulating in post-revolutionary America. Write an essay where you consider Eliza’s utopic ideas for being and belonging in relation to the social and political realities she has to contend with.
Organize your essay around a clearly articulated thesis. Support your thesis with textual evidence that you then analyze in order to support your claims. Pick 3-4 quotes from the text and use quotation marks and page number. First analyze the quote and only then analyse how it is related to the whole essay. Organize your evidence in well-constructed paragraphs that are unified under topic sentences that the paragraphs then logically develop. I’m looking for how well you develop your ideas throughout the essay. Remember to write with an audience in mind. While I’m your primary audience, your essay should be understood by anyone not familiar with the texts you’re writing about or the discussions we’ve been having in class.
Avoid absolute statements, vague generalizations, and clichés. Don’t forget to title your essays (your titles should echo your thesis) and number your pages.



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