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English 1302 - Coleman, Laurie - Literary Criticism

Research paper preparation

Searching as Strategic Exploration

1.  Literary Criticism: discussion of the work, themes, symbols, setting, etc. by other writers

2. Background sources on themes and concepts - short entries, easy to read:

3. eBooks, streaming videos, articles on themes and concepts - broader look, more context and connections:

4. Background and in-depth articles on events and ideas - short entries + long research articles focused on specific aspects:

ENGL 1302 Research Paper Assignment (Coleman)

1. Choose to expand a development of ONE of your previous two essays through research.

2. Write a 1,000-1,500 word essay (4-5 pages) in which you investigate what one to three literary scholars have written about the work you originally analyzed. Refer to the sources recommended on the LibGuide created by the librarian for this assignment.

3. You can choose to form your research paper in the following ways:

(a) an existing interpretation of the literary work. For example, if you choose to revisit your short story essay, you can investigate scholarly criticism of the short story you analyzed. You may find a literary critic who argues that the story’s central theme supports your own understanding. So, you will argue your understanding and use the scholar as secondary support.

(b) place the literary work in a historical or social context. For example, if you choose to revisit your poetry essay, you can investigate scholarly criticism of the poem you analyzed. You may find a literary critic who argues that the poem complements the historical period from which its author wrote, focusing on specific events in history. So, you will argue that poem’s events, words, or images are reflected in a specific historical context of the poem.

(c) interpret the literary work through the framework of a literary theory. For example, if you choose to revisit your first essay, you can investigate scholarly criticism of the short story. You may find a literary critic who argues that one of the characters can be interpreted using feminist criticism. So, you will argue that this school of criticism helps us interpret the character’s actions or beliefs. See Chapter 35 of The Norton Introduction to Literature for Critical Approaches.

4. Refer to the advice in Part Four of The Norton Introduction to Literature. See the sample research paper in Chapter 35 of The Norton Introduction to Literature or at the Purdue OWL website.

5. Take another look at your original thesis to insure it is clear and concise. Does it identify the central argument you will prove can be interpreted as the story’s meaning? See The Norton Chapter 31, specifically 31.1.2.

5. Create a well-organized final draft with body paragraphs that each have a clear topic sentence that connects back to the thesis. See The Norton Chapter 31, specifically 31.1.5.

6. Provide evidence for your argument in the body paragraphs by quoting specific passages from the story to support your interpretation of its theme and literary element(s). DO NOT summarize or paraphrase the specific details. Smoothly integrate these quotations into your own writing using effective launch statements. (Effective launch statements avoid the verbs “says”, “states” or “writes”.) See The Norton Chapter 33, specifically 33.4.2.

7. Include correct in-text documentation for these direct quotes, making sure to properly punctuate quoted dialogue or set off long quotations with block formatting, as necessary. See The Norton Chapter 35 for an example paper.

8. Include a Works Cited page at the end of your paper that follows MLA documentation rules with the literary work and all approved secondary sources listed. DO NOT use any sources that are not approved. See The Norton page 44 for an example work cited list.

9. Refer to the Research Paper Checklist on page 10.1 of Module 10 within Canvas. Your total word count should generate a paper at least 1,200 words but not more than 1,500 words.

10. Upload the final draft to the assignment in Canvas and through Turnitin before the due date. Early submissions are encouraged, late submissions are not accepted.

11. Attach your prewriting and rough draft files to the Comments for the assignment--accessible in the Grades tool in Canvas.

Choose ONE poem from Part Two of The Norton Introduction to Literature not read for class discussion to conduct an analysis of its meaning. If you do not have the book, locate a poem on the Poetry Foundation website.

Short stories:
• "The Lesson” by Toni Cade Bambara pages 146-151

• "A & P" by John Updike pages 163-168

• "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin pages 569-570

• "The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien pages 610-622

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