ASSIGNMENT: Create a research paper of about 1250 words (three full to four typed pages, double-spaced) which discusses how different literary devices are used to develop a major theme in a selected literary work or an appropriately congruent group of works that we have read in class.
THEMES: Choose one theme to be the focus (thesis/main idea) of your paper
LITERARY DEVICES: After reading, studying, and researching your chosen story, you will decide which literary devices work best to support your thesis. The body paragraphs of your research paper will discuss the different ways that the theme (identified in your thesis) is developed in the story.
elements of structure (ex. exposition, complication)
plot (the progression of events/action in the story)
plot devices (ex. foreshadowing, flashbacks, patterns, use of repetition)
setting (ex. time period, historical setting, physical setting—environment, location, objects in the scene)
characterization (ex. a character’s actions, a character’s description, a character’s words)
symbolism (many things in a story can represent something else, including the setting, characters, objects, and so forth)
point of view (ex. first person, third person limited omniscient)
tone (ex. irony)
style (ex. Hemingway’s “iceberg style”)
SOURCES: To demonstrate competency, you must use a one primary sources and two secondary sources.
Primary Source: A firsthand or eyewitness account of information by an individual close to the topic. Examples of primary sources include autobiographies, personal correspondence (e.g., diary entries, letters), government documents, works of art and literature, statistics and data, and newspaper articles written by reporters close to the source. For essays about literature, the literary works (stories, poems, or plays) being analyzed are the primary sources.
Secondary Source: A source that is more removed from an event, usually written after the event has happened. Examples of secondary sources include biographies, interpretation of statistics and data, and anything written after an historical event or analyzing something that already happened (e.g., examining a work of art from 100 years ago). Literary criticism and analysis essays are one type of secondary source that you may use in essays about literature.
You may choose secondary sources for the paper from the sources I have provided in your readings, from your own research, or a source suggested by a classmate. You are free to find your own additional secondary sources. I will be happy to help you with this.
PAPER FORMAT: The paper must use MLA, 8th edition (2016) format, which means you will use MLA style in-text parenthetical citations to document ideas that come from your sources. In addition, the last page of the research paper will be a Works Cited page which lists all of your sources, including the short story, poem, or play being analyzed, in correct MLA format, in alphabetical order. For more information about MLA documentation and works cited pages, you may refer to the MLA Formatting and Style Guide at the Purdue OWL: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/1/
GRADING STANDARDS: Your paper will be evaluated in the following areas:
Quality of the argument itself (1st Level of Organization)
Organization and Coherence
Quality of the support (2nd Level of Organization
Unity, development, use of evidence, literary analysis
Quality of other elements (3rd Level of Organization)
Introduction, conclusion, and title
Language Conventions (grammar, spelling, punctuation, mechanics)
Research and Proper MLA Documentation and Works Cited page
Remember to use present tense verbs to describe both the events in the story and what critics say about it (ex. William Jones observes that . . .).
Always properly introduce quotations from the story or from your secondary sources AND include accurate and complete citations.
When quoting from literature, be sure to provide appropriate context from the source to help your reader identify relevant details from the story, play, or poem.
Always quote accurately, word-for-word from a source.
Never let a quotation stand by itself. Always react to it or explain it. Discuss it in terms of your thesis.
9. Now is a good time to take another look at the Model Research Paper and study how it is put together. Use the guide below to help you create the introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion, but you do not have to turn in the following to me:
Use MLA 8th ed. (2016) Format to Create In-Text Citations and Your Works Cited Page: Basically, the point of citation is to give credit where it is due and to allow readers to find the sources for themselves, so accuracy is important. You need to understand the two important parts of MLA documentation:
Revise and Edit: Print out your paper and proofread it for development, style, and grammar errors and create the final draft.
CHECK THE FOLLOWING BEFORE TURNING IN YOUR ESSAY
DO NOT use second-person pronouns—you (“you see in the following passage that . . .”) OR first-person pronouns—I or we (“in the following passage, we see . . .”).
To remain objective in your analysis, use third-person pronouns (such as “the following passage suggests . . .”).
Check to make sure you use present tense verbs to discuss the events that occur in the story and any analysis from the critics. This is called historical present tense.
Do not write a plot summary as a paper. Just pull out essential events from the story to make your point (THESIS). If you find yourself saying “then ____ happens; then ____ happens,” you’d better stop and look carefully at what you’re doing. If your essay only tells what happens in the story in a chronological order, you have written a plot summary, and your paper won’t get better than a “D” grade. You have to explain and support your thesis about a theme in the story.
Always begin the body paragraphs with a topic sentence (a claim); never begin a paragraph in the body of your paper with a quotation or summary sentence.
Check for adequate support of each topic sentence.
Be sure any quotation you use is introduced with a lead-in or signal phrase that is in your own words. Example: Walker describes Mama as “a large big-boned woman with rough, man-working hands” (104). Always explain any quotation you include from the story—basically help the reader understand what point the quotation helps prove.
Be sure that any quotations you include in the paper are accurate—copied word-for-word from the original source—and are acknowledged with in-text citations.
Be sure that all paraphrases from your sources are put thoroughly into your own words and acknowledged with in-text citations.
Look for any major errors such as sentence fragments, fused sentences, comma splices, subject-verb agreement errors, and pronoun-antecedent agreement errors. Remember that more than one major error in the paper will lower the grade by a letter, so for example, a paper with two major errors that contains good content would not score higher than a B. A paper with three major errors that contains good content would not score higher than a C, and so forth.
Avoid an overly colloquial or informal tone (“now, this passage…” or “well, let’s take a look at . . .”).
Avoid contractions (don’t, I’m).
Avoid imprecise pronouns (“That suggests . . .” rather than “This description of Fortunato’s clothing suggests . . .”).
Use the spell-checker in Microsoft Word, but do not depend on it. The spell- checker does not catch confusion of similar-sounding words (ex. affect / effect; their / there), and it sometimes suggests the wrong word as a correction. The grammar checker provides good guidance, but does not always suggest corrections that need to be made. For more information on Developing Themes using Literary Devices visit this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theme_(narrative)
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