Write the research essay

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Reference no: EM131372912

Guidelines for the Research Paper

The Research essay must be about literature, following the main focus on english.

Method & Style

The research essay should be more informal rather than formal. For your "research essay," what I mean by "research" is simply that I expect you to do some searching, reading and analyzing of secondary sources outside the realm of our course and textbooks. That does not mean you cannot use one or two sources from our textbook in your paper as well, but you should look for at least half of your sources outside the realm and materials of our course.

And, you should write about a topic/issue that is of interest to you. In other words, don't write a dry, fact-based report-oriented paper.

The more interested in your text(s) and/or argument you are as you write, the more interesting a paper your research essay will be--for you to write and me to read. You should begin by thinking about what authors, texts, issues, concerning literature from our class have interested you; think about what has come up for you in class discussions that has provoked something in you that you felt you wanted to further explore or write about.

Format & Expectations:

Research essay should meet the following minimum criteria:

• Essay must be written as a critical argument paper, not a "report."  You must have something to claim about an issue, text or author that you are interested in exploring, and you should use your sources to make that persuasive argument. Your essay should be based on literature.

• Length should be 5-8 full, typed pages minimum. You may always write more.

• Essay should use a minimum of 5 sources. (You can include yourself as a source, since it is a critical essay, and you can use a maximum of two print sources from our textbook.) Sources can be print sources (books, articles, magazines, newspapers, poems, reports, etc.), but do not have to be--you can use media sources like television, films, ads, interviews, non-language sources like art, etc. You do not have to cite yourself.

• Should follow MLA citation form for citing sources in your bibliography. You can find this information in any grammatical handbook, and I will also be going over it in class soon. You should use in text citations and a Works Cited page instead of footnotes.

For example--(Atwood, pp. ).

Some options for doing research essays:

1) Choose an author you've been particularly interested in or have been puzzled about, and read more of his/her work. If it's a fiction writer, read two to three more pieces of his/her work. If it's a poet, several more poems; if it's a playwright, one more play. Then, get inside the author's head. Analyze, synthesize, compare--what do you see occurring across these texts: themes, symbols, issues, elements of style, etc.? You can discuss as many literary aspects as you like. Concentrate on giving a sense of what is valuable or not about reading this author's work for your study of literature.

A word of caution if you choose option #1: as the audience reading this kind of essay, I may not have prior knowledge, so you should consider that part of your job in writing this paper is to inform me of relevant background or context, on the sources and your essay's main issue, so that I can understand what you base your argument on. You'll have to educate as well as persuade your audience in this case.

2) Examine autobiographical data on the author and discuss, in detail, the relevance of that information to the literary work(s) you are studying. You might look at  two or three pieces of the author's work and apply this autobiographical focus to it. Understand, you should not write a biography or a book report on the author; instead, you are to discuss the relevance of the autobiographical information to a new understanding of the literary text or texts.

3) Find essays, critical pieces, letters, journals, etc., where an author discusses his/her artistic intentions, beliefs, credo, methods, style, etc. Critically connect or analyze how the author's own comments about his/her work might help you to see the literary texts in a new light.

4) If an author writes in more than one genre--for example, Poe or Atwood write fiction, poetry and other kinds of texts-examine samples of these various genres by one author and discuss differences or similarities in the forms, themes, style. You might focus this option like #1 above.

5) Choose a theme or issue that haunts you and look at two or three separate authors' handling of it: for example, texts on gender issues, sexuality, work, marriage, carpe diem, etc.

6) Choose a particular form within a genre--in poetry, for example, the sonnet; in drama, tragedy or comedy; in fiction.... Then examine ways in which two or more authors treat or handle the form.

7) Think about some of the cultural, social, political, spiritual, etc., issues that have arisen in our class about literature. Focus on an issue that intrigues, delights, puzzles or even offends you, and do some outside reading on it, bringing that information to bear on a literary text's meaning. Does it inform your reading or interpretation? How so?

Notice how open-ended these options are; it will really be up to you to determine what you want to focus in on. And, if other, more creative options for the paper occur to you, please feel free to explore in those directions. I'm here for guidance on that if you need me. In any case, your research essay should be a paper in which you clearly put down what you think about the texts or issues you've chosen to write about and why/how you have come to think of it as you have, considering the sources you have garnered to give credence to your argument.

As we discuss the reading texts coming up, we'll include generating possible topics for this paper in our discussion. You should use the time in these next couple of weeks, as we read and discuss other texts, to get a focus/issue in mind and to begin doing research. We will be going to a computer classroom for a session in learning to conduct research for an academic research paper online, and as I said above, I will also be going over MLA citation.


The exam should reflect the format and content of the course, so if you have been involved in the course, you should be able to handle the questions just fine.

At the same time, do not be surprised to see I am asking you to do some new, critical thinking here at the end of the course, rather than creating an exam that "sums things up."

Here are the directions:

Choose just two (2) of the essay questions below, 1 from each section of the exam: choose 1 poem to analyze from the "Essay I" section (poetry) and 1 question to answer from "Essay II" (any question in the section on fiction or drama). You will be writing two short essays total.

Write an essay in response to each choice you make. Your critical/analysis response to each question should be a full, detailed explication of the question in terms of the issues it raises, and you should make every attempt to bring in relevant passages from the text(s) through quotation and specific detail. Please make sure that you address all parts of the questions and that you proofread for grammatical errors once you have finished writing.

Each essay should be at least 600-750 words in length (equivalent of 2 ½ to 3 typed pages).

Both essay responses should follow paper guidelines as outlined in the description and follow MLA guidelines for Standard English grammar. Use your notes and books for exam.

NOTE: If you have written a short paper on any of the questions below, or major aspects of them, you must choose to respond to those
questions that do not repeat the work you did for your short papers.


Choose just one of the following poems and write an explication essay, analyzing the poem in terms of both its meaning and form (with such poetic devices as form itself, metaphor, simile, symbolism, imagery, theme and aspects of sound like rhyme, rhythm, etc.). Once you have "torn the poem apart" through your analysis of it, be sure to go on to "put it back together" (discuss what your explication has led you to learn or say about the poem's overall meaning and/or effect.)

In simpler terms, you are writing an essay here that answers the question, in detail, of "how does the poem make its meaning?" (We have worked with poems in discussion and in your short papers through this same process.)

Attachment:- ESSAY POETRY.rar

Reference no: EM131372912

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