In preparing and submitting the Researched Response Paper (see Literature, Part 4: Writing, Chapter 43: “Writing About a Story,” The Response Paper, p 1811-1813), the directions by the editors of the textbook will be your general guide.
You will express your personal responses to a specific work of literature, just as the editors explain. However, your Response Paper will also require some background reading in our textbook, and some outside research. You will be applying two types of literary criticism or literary perspectives (Reader’s Response and Formalist Criticism, Literature, Part 4: Writing, Chapter 49: Critical Approaches to Literature, pp 1889-1892 and 1910-1914), to one author and one of that author’s short stories in our textbook.
Please use the MLA—Modern Language Association—format for this assignment (see Literature, Part 4: Writing, Chapter 46: “Writing a Research Paper, pp. 1858-1879). Be sure to use appropriate internal, parenthetical citations (source references) within the paper itself, as well as creating a well-formatted Works Cited Page.
Excluding the required Appendix and Works Cited Page (no title page is necessary), your paper should be three to five full pages. Being in MLA format means that the paper must be double spaced, with one inch margins. Use Times New Roman font, 12 point type.
Your paper should include:
An original title and a strong introductory paragraph with a one sentence “hook,” designed to catch the reader’s interest and a one sentence clear thesis statement. The introduction will include the title of the story and the author’s name—then why you chose this story by this writer.
The body of the paper should consist of several well focused, well developed and well proofread paragraphs. You will tell the reader some of the most interesting information you’ve learned about the writer’s life and writing. In the last paragraph before the conclusion of your Researched Response Paper, consider which kind of literary criticism or literary perspective covered in our Literature textbook (Part 4, Chapter 49, pp 1889-1918) you think could be applied to the short story you’ve chosen—and why. Since everyone is already applying both Reader’s Response and Formalist Criticism just by doing all the steps leading up to the Researched Response Paper, and the Paper itself, do not discuss either of these at this point).
Remember to consider which aspect of the short story you chose affected you the most; be candid in what you write; try to understand and explain your initial responses to the story, and how these responses have changed as you further considered and reflected; and refer to the text of the story (see Chapter 43, p 1811).
There should be a strong concluding paragraph with a brief summary of the paper and some reflective comments. The final sentence should be a “clincher,” to keep the reader’s interest to the very end.
An Appendix (a place to showcase additional material), which you will place after the paper itself and before the Works Cited Page. What should you include in the Appendix? You might want to include a photograph of the author that you found online (with acknowledgement of the source) and/or you might decide to include an original poem or song lyrics that you have created in response to the short story you have focused on in the Researched Response Paper. You may come up some other ideas.
A Citation page
Activities that will Contribute to Your Paper
Week 5: Week Five, one of our Discussion exercises will ask that each student to look up the name of three prominent American fiction writers from three very different backgrounds: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Flannery O’Connor and Alice Walker. This assignment will help you start planning your Researched Response Project.
Week 6: Week Six, one of the Discussion Exercises will ask you to share which author and short story you have chosen to focus on for the Researched Response Paper (two to three well developed sentences). You will be asked to defend your choice of author and story. Finally you will be asked to write one succinct paragraph (50-75 words) about one element of the story—characterization, the tone and style, or the setting.
Week 7: Week Seven, one of the Discussion exercises will direct you to share with the rest of the class what you discovered online about Post-Colonial Literary Criticism and what you are hoping to include in the Appendix of the Researched Response Paper—and why.
Week 8: Week Eight, you will be asked to do a peer review of three aspects of each others’ Researched Response Papers. First, you will be asked to share the title, “hook” and thesis statement. You will also be asked to post the rough outline, and the last two paragraphs of the Paper (one paragraph focusing on one type of literary criticism that you think could be applied to the short story they’ve chosen and the concluding paragraph, with the summary, reflective comments and clincher.
How to Write the Researched Response Paper
Begin by reading all of the support material in Ch 11 or Ch 12 (the Critical Casebook chapters) that is linked to the author you are researching and the particular short story by that author that you are featuring in your Research Paper. Take some notes while you read.
Now it is time to take your notes, and gather your thoughts, about the author and short story you have chosen to focus on for your Research Project.
Re-read the general directions for the Research Response Paper (Literature, Part 4: Writing, Chapter 43, “Writing About a Story,” p 1811) remembering that your paper will be informed not only by your own responses, but also by some sources outside of the story itself.
Then Freewrite, based on your notes and whatever additional responses and ideas you have about the story you have chosen to focus on (see Chapter 43, p 1795).
Now, create a rough outline—a list of points arranged in a logical order (see Chapter 43, p 1795).
Finally, you are ready to draft your Paper, really an extended, researched response essay (see Chapter 43, pp 1796-97). Remember to scrupulously use in-text MLA format parenthetical (which just means in parentheses) citations, as well as a meticulously crafted Works Cited page.
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