Art History: Lumper Outline



You will outline a comparison paper by making observations about two images that depict the same myth from Greek mythology and formulate a thesis statement.


One of the most common functions of art is to tell stories. This is especially true of Greek mythology, which has a long history in art from vase painting to oil paintings. Mythology works a little like the telephone game in which a phrase is gradually changed the more it is repeated by different people. In their retelling, every storyteller adds their own twist to the story often reflecting different cultural values and ideals. This means that any myth could have an endless array of variations and interpretations.

In this assignment, you will begin to structure a paper, comparing these two objects (one ancient, one modern) that tell the same myth. To accomplish this, you will fill out ONE of the two attached worksheets, which utilize one of two comparative methodslumping and splitting.

Lumping structures a comparison by breaking down the argument by the two objects.

Step 1: Start with the Image

Look at the two provided images and gather observations about them, paying special attention to how they represent the myth.

You are encouraged to take notes on your observations. (This will help you later!) You may use your own notes or one of the provided worksheets to record your observations and ideas. Here are some questions to get you started. Who are the main characters in each version of the myth? How are they represented on the two objects? What are the major plot points of the myth? How are those points represented on the two objects? Do the objects seem to favor any specific interpretation of the myth? How do these objects differ visually and expressively?

Step 2: Formulate a Thesis Statement

Using the observations you have gathered in Step 1, formulate a thesis statement for your paper, filling in the appropriate area of your worksheet. A thesis statement is an argumentative statement that will be used to structure an essay.

A strong thesis statement should be clear, specific, and make an argument based on analysis. A strong thesis should also have stakes. This means the statement should help you write a comparison that reveals something important about the meaning of the works and myths.

Step 3: Structure Your Argument

After choosing which method (lumping or splitting) you would like to use, fill out your worksheet. If you have used your worksheet to take notes, be sure to rearrange your observations according to how you might best make your argument and erase any observations that do not contribute to that goal. Note: If you are splitting, be sure you are organizing your observations around the different points you would like to make. A good argument will have three to five observations to support it. If you do not have enough points, revisit the two images and gather more relevant observations. If you cannot find three to five observations, you may want to reconsider your thesis.


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