Length/Format: 4-5 pages minimum (not including Works Cited page). Typed, double spaced with 1” margins using 12 pt type (you may write more but not less). MLA formatted/DO NOT INCLUDE PICTURES OR A COVER PAGE (SEE SAMPLE RESEARCH PAPER). I would prefer this paper to be written in the 3rd person to emphasize the subject. Paper due: See Syllabus
Choose any ESTABLISHED (not too modern) author. Read AT LEAST 3 works by that author WHICH WE HAVE NOT READ (you will have to go to the library to find these) and develop your own ideas about them. You should then research the author by reading literary criticism of the author’s works. You should then be able to form a thesis for your paper. (NOTE: if you are looking at longer works such as full-length plays you may want to limit your paper to analyzing only one or two works. If your readings are shorter, you may want to analyze 3 or more works).
PLEASE BE SURE TO FIND AN ARGUMENTATIVE THESIS. PLEASE DO NOT INCLUDE A PLOT SUMMARY AS PART OF YOUR PAPER. For example, “The Tell Tale Heart is really creepy” is NOT a good thesis. On the other hand, “The old man’s evil eye in Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell Tale Heart may represent Poe’s stormy relationship with his real-life father” is a good thesis (assuming you can support this argument with examples from the text and with scholarly criticism). NOTE: YOU MAY NOT USE THIS EXAMPLE!
Making an assertion about common themes of an author’s work is an argumentative thesis. Similarly, interpreting the purpose of particular characters, symbols or images is also an argument. You may wish to consider issues which may have influenced the author such as the historical background in which he/she was writing and the author’s life experiences. THESE ARE MERELY SUGGESTIONS, HOWEVER. THE SUBJECT OF YOUR PAPER IS COMPLETELY UP TO YOU.
You must support your ideas with at least 2 BOOKS of scholarly criticism (not a book review or summary). This may require you to go to a better library than the one we have at LaGuardia. **YOU MAY NOT CITE INTERNET SOURCES! You may use the internet to help you find legitimate sources, but I will not accept a paper that uses internet sources. Papers without a “Works Cited” page and papers that cite only internet sources will receive a failing grade. You MUST use a library to successfully complete this assignment.
This paper assignment is deliberately open-ended and designed to allow you to follow your own interests. My only suggestion is that your thesis should not be overly broad (Edgar Allan Poe was a good writer).
Some suggested authors (for which you can find a lot of criticism in the library): Edgar Allan Poe (fiction & poetry), Kurt Vonnegut (fiction), Emily Dickenson (poetry), Gabriel Garcia Marquez (fiction), Robert Frost (poetry), Arthur Miller (drama) and Sara Teasdale (poetry). NOTE: DON’T CHOOSE SOMEONE TOO MODERN – YOU WON’T FIND ENOUGH SOURCES.
FINAL NOTE: You should begin work on this paper immediately. Research papers take time and cannot be written at the last minute.
SOME SUGGESTED TOPIC IDEAS:
Explore Edgar Allen Poe’s treatment of death in his works — in particular, one might explore the death of a beloved woman in Annabel Lee and The Raven. Explore Robert Frost’s use of nature in his poetry as a metaphor for larger ideas about life and death. How do Arthur Miller’s plays “Death of a Salesman” and/or “All My Sons” question the American Dream and the American system of capitalism? (note: these can probably be seen on video as well as read). Explore Kurt Vonnegut’s use of satire (choose 3 stories to analyze).
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