Following the schedule outlined on the syllabus, you are required to write a research paper of 12-15 typed, double-spaced pages. The process will require you to produce a prospectus, an annotated bibliography, a draft, and a final documented paper that refers to no fewer than three secondary sources and correctly follows MLA style documentation.
The subject for the paper is, of course, Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights. You may shape your topic, in consultation with me, to fit your own interests as a critic. You are not required to approach the novel from the perspective of any school or critical group we have studied. However, you are expected to show an awareness of the approach or combination of approaches you are taking and to signal this knowledge to your reader in your introductory paragraphs. You should also demonstrate in your paper your awareness of how the specific approaches (critical theory) used by critics to whose work you refer have shaped their interpretations of the novel.
You will support your interpretation primarily with evidence from the novel, using critical interpretations by others to put your interpretation into a context (how is your interpretation like/unlike others you have read? from what critics have you learned? with what critics do you most disagree?--these are questions that might help you frame that context). The essays we have studied in class may serve as models.
By now you have learned that a reader's approach to a literary work is determined by the value that reader places on literature; that is, where the readers takes the meaning of a text to lie primarily: within the text itself; in its relation to other texts; within the writer's or the reader's own experience. But there is no reason why a reader should not value a combination of these "meanings." You may concentrate on formal elements: character, setting, narration, imagery, etc.. You may conentrate on structural elements: ways in which Wuthering Heights resembles other literature or kinds of texts. You may concentrate on how the novel reveals historical, sociological, or psychologcal influence. Or you may combine any of these.
The key to success will lie in defining the scope of your paper narrowly enough to develop a significant thesis, then providing adequate analytical evidence and demonstrating an awareness of how your interpretation compares to others. I do not mean all other interpretations, of course, for that too is a matter of choosing well.
Steps in the Assignment
1. Prospectus: a one-page (typed, double-space) description of the paper you think you will write. It should include the topic you wish to explore, a working thesis or at least a question or questions you wish to answer, an explanation of the type of evidence you will provide from the novel (i.e. passages that reveal a certain tendency in Heathcliff's speech), and a list of potential secondary sources you will use (or at least one source that has sparked interest). Due April 12
2. Annotated Bibliography: a
of secondary sources (no fewer than 5) you consult (give a
MLA Works Cited entry), each followed by a brief descriptive
Due April 17.Mathison, John K. "Nelly Dean and the Power of Wuthering Heights." Nineteenth-Century Fiction 11. 106-29. Rpt. in
Wuthering Heights: An Anthology of Criticism. Ed. Alastair Everitt. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1967. 84-110.
Mathison argues that the power of the novel derives from the fact that the narrator, Nelly Dean, is too "normal" and "healthy" to comprehend the exorbitant passions and actions of characters such as Heathcliff and Catherine. The powerful effect on readers occur as they realize the inadequacy of the "normal" to interpret the deeper and truer feelings of the main characters and are forced to become active advocates for Heathcliff and Catherine in ways that could not occur with an omniscient narrator or a less admirable first-person narrator. It is in this power that Brontë has created a genuine work of art.
3. Draft: A full but not necessarily polished draft brought for in-class peer critiques. Due April 19 Includes attendance at class on April 19 and participation responding to drafts of other students.
4. Final Draft: Due April 26 by 5:00 p.m.
Essays in our text: Wuthering Heights A Bedford Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism.
Critical Essays on Emily Bronte, edited by Thomas John
G.K. Hall & Co., 1997.
On reserve in Ingram Library. PR 4173 .C75 1997.
Other sources available in Library Catalog or found through search
MLA Bibliogrphical Index, available online through Ingram
Or click here:
link and enter MLA Bibliography.
You may have a handbook which details all you will need in the way of directions for documenting sources. Other resources include the The MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, 2nd edition, 1998, in the Reference section of the library, PN147 .G444. Excellent online assistance is also available: MLA Guide .