Your research paper should be an argumentative essay that makes a specific claim about one or more of the course readings. The claim should incorporate some specific school of literary criticism discussed in class. Support this claim and argument in a well-developed, well-written, and well- organized essay of at least 1500-1800 words of text (not counting the works cited page) and must successfully use at least 5 critical secondary sources (primary sources- the literary texts assigned from class- are not included as part of the research requirement) accessed through the GMC library.
The bulleted list below provides general options for paper topics. The entirety of the class reading assignments can be found in the Course Syllabus, under “Course Schedule.” The list below provides general options for paper topics:
A paper focusing on one of the texts from class (if only writing on one text, it must be a different text than the ones you wrote on for Response Papers 1 and 2).
A paper focusing on multiple texts (no more than 3) by the same author
A paper focusing on multiple texts (but no more than two) by different authors
Tips and Reminders
Re-read the text(s) on which you want to base your paper.
Once you have decided on a topic, begin doing preliminary research (you will need to do a lot of research for this assignment anyway). Read what other literary critics have said. This will help you to further narrow down your topic, and even to find some of the sources you will end up using in the paper. Remember that you are a literary critic too—this means you should feel free to question and disagree with the interpretations you read.
Make sure your thesis is an arguable one, something that readers might actually agree or disagree with. Don’t be afraid to take a leap and put forward a new, creative, and/or unique interpretation. Remember that any argument should be properly supported with reasonable textual evidence.
Your paper must incorporate information from outside sources found through the GMC library. Remember that you have three methods for incorporating outside information into any paper: you can quote (use the source’s exact words), paraphrase (put the source’s words into your own words), or summarize (boil down information from a source to a 1-2 sentence summary in your own words).
Avoid unnecessary plot summary and biographical information. Assume that your reader has already read the work you are discussing, and assume that your reader knows important information about the author’s life already.
Remember that sources like Wikipedia, Sparknotes, and other open-web sources are not appropriate for this paper. Conduct your research through the library like a real researcher, rather than relying on Google to find open-web sources.
MLA formatting for style, in-text citations, and works cited entries is a significant part of this paper. Review the sample essays in our textbook, and review grade feedback on past response papers for help with this.
Organize your argument to maximize its effectiveness. Your introduction should include a thesis. Each paragraph of your paper should include a topic sentence that references your thesis. Each sentence in each paragraph should directly support that paragraph’s topic sentence.
Finally, don’t forget the little things. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation should be perfect. Edit and revise your work. Manage your time efficiently to allow yourself the opportunity to read and reread your final paper multiple times.
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