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There are two major papers required for this course. Each will require you to take at least one of the texts from the course and give a compelling argument that offers a specific interpretation about the texts in question. The specific focus of your interpretation can vary depending on what ideas or texts excited you from the course, but the following generalized issues might help focus your thinking on a potential topic:

  • Gender roles
  • Stereotypes of women held by either gender
  • Stereotypes of men held by either gender
  • Sexuality
  • Education and gender roles
  • Misogyny and misandry
  • Historical issues related to women
  • Race and/or class in relation to gender
  • Politics of power
  • Humor
  • Religion
  • Aesthetics / symbolism

Please note that you are not limited to the above options: as long as your topic deals with a text from class and offers a strong interpretation that is made through a well-supported argument using quoted material from your primary texts (which include the novels, short stories, and films on the syllabus), your topic will satisfy my minimum expectations.

Each paper must do the following:

  • Introduce the author(s) and text title(s) to be discussed in the introduction.
  • Outline the topic, thesis, and major points of discussion in the introduction.
  • Use strong transitions within and between paragraphs.
  • Give quotes following the MLA style, including signal phrases, parenthetical citations, and a works cited page.
  • Avoid summarization without analysis to justify the repetition of facts from the text(s).
  • Avoid plagiarism of any kind.
  • Display a high degree of editing, polish, and style.
  • Use at least one block quote.
  • Employ to the MS Word formatting commands described in the MS Word Assignment.

Special requirements for the First Paper

  • Fall between 4 and 6 pages in length.

Special requirements for the Second Paper

  • Fall between 5 and 8 pages in length.
  • Use at least four scholarly articles and one non-scholarly source (with proper MLA documentation) to help develop your argument.
  • Focus on a different text than that discussed in the First Paper.

Bear in mind that you can compare and contrast multiple works in relationship to a specific theme, or you can focus exclusively on one text. Each of you are encouraged to email potential topics to me for feedback before you start writing.

I recommend the following sources available through our library (you may need to log into the Library page to access them):

  • Find Books (catalog): Books still work, folks.
  • JSTOR: Journal articles stretching back more than 75 years in humanities, history, culture and the sciences.
  • Academic Search Premier: These Online resources are usually far more academically acceptable than googled articles.
  • The Literature Resource Center: scholarly work on literature.
  • Netlibrary: Online versions of scholarly books.

Friendly Warnings:

  • Simply giving a summary of the text or background on the writer is not enough for this task.
  • Wikipedia is not a legitimate source in this college-level class. Make sure that you can defend the decision to use specific Online sources if challenged.
  • If you choose to make comparisons between events from the course and contemporary issues or events, I urge you to make sure the focus of the paper is at least 60% on the class material.

Extra Credit Opportunity:

As part of my full-time teaching load during the regular school year, I tutor 2 hours a week in the Writing Center, located in the Learning Assistance Laboratory on the second floor of the library in College Hall. If you have your paper draft reviewed by a writing tutor at least three days before the final draft is due, you will receive an additional 5 points on your final paper grade. You can be tutored in person or Online (click here for Online tutoring instructions); submit the paper to an English 102 tutor). To get the credit, have the tutor sign the draft and indicate the time and date of the conference. If the tutoring occurs Online, simply print out the response.




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Site published on January 20, 2016