ENGL 4106, Fall 2012
Your second essay is an 8-10 page research paper. It is worth 25% of your final grade. Like the first essay, this is a thesis-driven assignment focusing on your argument about the fictional text(s). Your research should be used to strengthen your argument; research material should not be incidental (ie. it should not just be inserted into the paper at random), but nor should it drown out your thesis.
Your paper must include a minimum of 5 secondary sources (this does not count the novels/short stories, which are your “primary” sources). Secondary sources will generally be historical books, literary critical books, or literary critical articles. You may count the essays I have posted on courseden. In general, do not count online sources unless they are articles in scholarly journals. If you have questions about how to find good sources or you are uncertain as to whether a source is legitimate, ask me.
The paper should be stapled, typed, double spaced, in 12 point Times New Roman font, with one- inch margins. Use correct MLA format, include a Works Cited page, and proofread carefully. You must give clear and accurate credit to all sources – both in the works cited and in the body of the essay.
You can access the departmental grading rubric for upper-level courses here: http://www.westga.edu/~engdept/fr/Ruby.doc
I encourage you to visit office hours to consult about the paper, at any stage of its development and as often as you wish. Bring drafts, partial drafts, notes, whatever you’ve got.
You are free to devise your own topic on any fictional text(s) from the course or to select one of the following prompts. You may also combine more than one prompt. In either case, you must develop your own argument, supported by persuasive textual evidence and insightful analysis. Since the prompts listed here are very broad, you will need to narrow them down to produce an appropriate thesis. NB: If you choose to write about The Castle of Otranto again, you must pair it with another text from the course.
1. In Orlando, Virginia Woolf writes, “A biography is considered complete if it merely accounts for six or seven selves, whereas a person may well have as many as a thousand.” Analyze how any text(s) in the course treat the notion of multiple “selves.”
2. In any text(s) in the course, analyze the efforts people undertake to assert control over their lives. What strategies do they use? What are the consequences of these efforts? Does control over their own lives require them to control others? Are there ways in which the characters undermine their own goals?
4. “I am all for putting new wine in old bottles, especially if the pressure of the new wine makes the old bottles explode,” writes Angela Carter in “Notes from the Front Line.” Pick 1-2 authors in the course and analyze what he or she “explodes” (rebels against, challenges, redefines…) and how the author uses “old bottles” (such as literary conventions) to do so.
5. You might think of many characters in our texts striving to “translate” themselves. In what ways do they do this? To what extent do they succeed? What do they achieve – or lose – by doing so?
NB: I will count the notes and rough draft collectively as a quiz grade. (i.e. if you do them both in full and on time, you will get a quiz grade of 100%; if you do one in full and on time but do not fully complete the other on time, you will get a quiz grade of 50%; if neither assignment is fully completed on time, you will get a quiz grade of 0.)
Tuesday October 23: Notes due. I will collect these. They will be returned to you with comments on Monday July 16.
At the top of the notes, state your working thesis, or at least key question(s) you aim to answer. From the primary text(s), type out at least 5 passages that you think will be central to your argument. Also type out at least 2 passages from your secondary research that you think will strengthen your argument. Follow up each passage, including the ones from the secondary sources, with at least 5 numbered ideas (these could be tentative interpretations of specific language, questions the passage raises, contradictions it suggests, theoretical links, brilliant insights—anything that might be useful to you as you move in the direction of formulating an argument). These numbered “ideas” should be articulated in complete sentences, and might even stretch into paragraphs.
Thursday November 1: Essay workshop. You must bring your rough draft, typed, printed, double spaced, minimum 6 FULL pages. I will not collect these; the purpose of this assignment is to peer edit. I will answer questions and help with essays during peer editing, but for in-depth discussion, please drop by during office hours or schedule an appointment.
Tuesday November 6: Essay due at the beginning of the class period (minimum 8 FULL pages).