Students will write one literary analysis paper for English 201. The paper will explore any text from the anthology. You will pose a research question about the text and construct a thesis statement to answer it. The paper will a minimum of 5 pages in length and must be researched adequately, using no fewer than 2 credible academic sources (no Internet sites whatsoever, and please keep in mind that encyclopedias, dictionaries, non-refereed periodicals, and newspapers are not credible academic sources). Students must use MLA format. You will write a researched analysis of a literary work. You may choose any work on the syllabus. Remember that a good analysis will present your ideas illuminated by research. You should choose a piece of literature they can say something new about. Do not simply restate discussion we may have had in class. Come up with new ideas on your own. However, you may use classroom discussion as a jumping off point for you to begin your own exploration of the literature. Remember, too, that this is to be an analysis of the literature, not an author biography, history lesson, or plot summary. You must have a minimum of 2 cited secondary sources in addition to your primary source(s), one of which must be a book. (Please note that primary sources are any literature you are analyzing, while secondary sources are scholarly articles or books about that literature.)You will find sources for your research not only in the library but also in the various electronic databases. You may not use any websites! A literary analysis does not simply identify the elements in a work, but instead makes an argumentative claim about the literature and uses textual evidence combined research to back it up. (For instance, your thesis cannot be “Jonathan Swift wrote satire about Irish people eating their babies.” That is not argumentative; it is a fact. You can, however, use a thesis statement like “Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal laid the foundation for future satirist Stephen Colbert through the use of dialogic hybrid constructions.”) In your introduction, mention the author and title of your work preview your paper’s contents and primary sources, and state a clear, assertive, argumentative thesis. In the body, prove your thesis through a specific analysis of the literature, using examples from the literary work(s) and the comments of your source scholars to support or illuminate your interpretation. You do not have to find scholars who agree with you, but you do need to show that your opinion is an informed opinion, that you know what others have written about your subject.In the conclusion, sum up, tie everything together, and come to closure. Avoid at all costs simply re-telling the story, as a summary paper will receive a failing grade. Note there is a simple four-step process to synthesizing sources. If you follow this formula, you cannot use research incorrectly. 1. Introduce your idea/quote. a. “You are about to read about something awesome!” 2. Use your idea/quote. a. Use the quote or state the idea. 3. Explain the idea/quote to the reader. a. “The quote you just read was awesome because it said something cool!” 4. Tie your idea/quote to your thesis. (Note: this answers “so what?”) a. “This awesome idea was awesome because, like I said in my thesis, it’s awesome!”
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