Guidelines of the Final Paper on My Year of Meats

Length: 6 pages (including your Works Cited page — 5 pages and Works Cited on page 6) with 1-2 secondary sources.

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*Note: As for outside sources, please use the passages/articles we’ve discussed in class.

*Length for each paragraph: Please expand each paragraph in this longer paper.

Option 1- Introduction can be about 10-15 lines. Each body paragraph can be about a page (22-23 lines). The conclusion can be about 10-15 lines. (*Option 1 is slightly easier than option 2). Please include 3-4 textual examples and more analysis in each body paragraph.

Option 2 – As for body paragraphs, you can have two short body paragraphs (about 10-12 lines) per point. Then, you should have total 6 body paragraphs. Please make sure to have a clear topic sentence at the beginning of each body paragraph.

Your paper should involve an in-depth analysis of Ozeki’s My Year of Meats. Please keep in mind that literary analysis should not be a plot summary.


Examples of Paper Topics (*you are not required to choose a question from these examples)

Please feel free to combine the following questions and come up with your thesis.

1. What dominant values does Ruth Ozeki through Jane Takagi-Little challenge in My Year of Meats? How does Jane use the media to debunk the dominant images of American families and beef as the ideal meat? How does Jane’s biracial identity play a role in undermining the dominant values of society?

2. There is a parallel between Akiko and Jane in many ways. The scene of Akiko lying unconscious on the bathroom floor after Joichi beat her is juxtaposed with a scene that Jane becomes unconscious after she got knocked out on the slaughterhouse floor. What do you think Ozeki is trying to convey through paralleling the scenes and through these two female characters? What do Akiko and Jane have in common and what do they oppose in common? What is Akiko struggling about and what does she oppose? What impacts does Jane have on Akiko?

3. The theme of violence is foregrounded throughout the novel. How is Joichi’s attitude toward Akiko and Jane similar to or different from cattle feeders’ unethical use of drugs on livestock? What causes violence against women (the bodies of women) and non-human beings (animals), and how do characters in the novel contest/resist the violence against them?

4. What effects do Jane and her programs bring to Akiko and Bunny? How do Jane, Akiko, and Bunny influence to each other? Does Ozeki through these characters highlight women’s issues?


Writing instructions

Your thesis should be clear and specific, and it should be put at the end of your introduction.
Please make sure that each paragraph begins with a topic/summary sentence that refers back to your thesis, and add at least two textual examples in each body paragraph to support your thesis and add your analysis after quotations.
Direct quotations should not exceed more than 3 lines. Please pick the most important and relevant passage that supports the main point of the paragraph. For the omitted parts, use ellipsis (3 dots …) between sentences.
(Integrating sources to your paper – example) Akiko could not keep any meat in her stomach: “It[meat] began in her stomach, like an animal alive, and would climb its way back up her gullet, until it burst from the back of her throat” (37). (add your analysis) Akiko’s reaction to meat implies/signifies… (and add an outside source to support your analysis). Regarding Akiko’s subconscious or rather conscious response to containing meat in her body, Shameem Black in her article states that…. (#).

*Please arranges sources in alphabetical order by the author’s last name

*Please put double quotation marks around article titles, and italicize the novel title.

Works Cited (example – MLA documentation style)

Black, Shameem. “Fertile Cosmofeminism: Ruth L. Ozeki and Transnational Reproduction.” Meridians, vol. 5, no. 1, 2004, pp. 226–256.

Cheng, Emily. “Meat and the Millennium: Transnational Politics of Race and Gender in Ruth Ozeki’s My Year of Meats.” Journal of Asian

American Studies, vol. 12, no. 2, 2009, pp. 191-220.

Fish, Cheryl J. “The Toxic Body Politic: Ethnicity, Gender, and Corrective Eco-Justice in Ruth Ozeki’s ‘My Year of Meats’ and Judith Helfand

and Daniel Gold’s ‘Blue Vinyl.’” MELUS, vol. 34, no. 2, 2009, pp. 43–62.

Ozeki, Ruth L. My Year of Meats. New York :Penguin Books, 1999. Print.


A sample paper

(Title) Female Solidarity Against Violence: An Analysis on Ozeki’s My Year of Meats

Ruth Ozeki’s My Year of Meats is the interwoven story of Jane Takagi-Little and Akiko Ueno. Jane is a documentarian desperate for work, who goes on a trip of self-discovery when she accepts a job working on the television show and Akiko is a Japanese housewife of Jane’s boss, Joichi Ueno. Joichi abuses and pressures his wife to have his child despite her hesitation to do so. The television show, My American Wife!, created to promote American beef to Japanese families, showcases the idea of perfect American families who live happy fulfilling lives because of the meat they consume. When Jane is thrust into the directing role, she defies her controlling, sexist superior and chooses to show realistic American families instead of the upper-class white wives the team continues to push. As a result, Jane uncovers an unsavory truth– the meat is full of artificial hormones that have catastrophic effects on its consumers. (Thesis) Although separated by an ocean, Jane and Akiko’s lives run parallel and highlight women’s issues in society. (point 1) The abuse both women endure at the hands of Joichi, (point 2) the oversexualization and mistreatment of the women and the effects of the illegal practices in the meat industry on their body and fertility highlight the parallels between the two women, and(point 3) the unfair disadvantage women endure in a male driven society.

(Second paragraph that refers to point 1) The disadvantages women endure in a male dominated society can be seen in the abuse each woman faces both physically and verbally at Joichi’s hand. Joichi believed because he was a man, he was above both his wife and Jane. In his eyes, no matter what they did, they were never good enough. After Jane directed an episode of My American Wife! that received high ratings, Joichi spoke to Jane saying, “You are still incompetent and cannot make correct choices for proper program topics. So I must teach you” (107). Joichi viewed Jane as incompetent because she was independent and did not follow what he wanted. She achieved higher ratings with her program ideas than he did and that angered him, especially since she was a woman. (transition towards Akiko) Besides Joichi’s misogynistic attitude towards women at work, he also mistreats his wife and views her as his tool for reproduction. Joichi’s anger and frustration stem from his wife’s inability to conceive. (more textual examples and analysis needed in this paragraph – about 12-15 more lines).

(Topic sentence of the third paragraph that refers to point 2) The oversexualization and mistreatment of women throughout My Year of Meats makes it possible for the women to be viewed as mere sexual objects instead of human beings.

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