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Posted: December 7th, 2022

Throughout the semester, we have analyzed texts by devising original arguments about their content and subsequently crafting literary analysis papers designed to defend those claims. For your final paper, you will likewise form an argumentative essay regarding a literary text, but you will also need to incorporate outside criticism to help support your assertions. THE ASSIGNMENT: For your final paper, you will be crafting an argument regarding theme as it appears in one of the following works: “The Raven” (a narrative poem) by Edgar Allan Poe or “Recitatif” (a short story) by Toni Morrison. If you would like to discuss a different piece of literature, you certainly may, however you will want to make sure the piece has been written about extensively enough that you will have ample sources from which to draw upon. Your task will be to (1) select one of these works and read it thoroughly, (2) identify and explore a single theme expressed in the work of your choosing, and (3) craft a heavily argumentative, well-researched paper defending your claims. For this assignment, you will need to incorporate outside academic criticism (secondary sources) to help support your arguments. For example, if you had been tasked with writing about the theme of “the isolation of humankind through the demands of the American workforce” in “Bartleby, the Scrivener”, you would need to structure your thesis so that you are arguing something about how that theme is portrayed in the narrative, and then use outside criticism to defend your argument. All three of the selections for your topic have been written about extensively by professional critics; it is vital to the success of your paper that you find articles that discuss your work and offer analysis helpful to proving your original point. The specific argument you make about your theme in your work is completely up to you! Perhaps you wish to argue that while a certain critic you’ve read argues one thing, you entirely disagree and wish to argue the contrary. Perhaps you want to make your paper about the manner by which a theme becomes clear in a certain work by tracing it throughout the narrative. Perhaps you’re in the mood to argue how a certain theme is contradicted by another within a work – any debatable, well-considered argument will set up your paper quite nicely! LENGTH REQUIREMENT: 5-7 pages, double-spaced. Times New Roman 12. See MLA guidelines for formatting. SOURCE REQUIREMENT: You must incorporate at least 1 academic outside source per body paragraph in an effort to support your claims. You can of course use more if you wish! You will also need to discuss your primary source (the work of fiction you select), complete with specific quotations and analysis of their importance. Citations must be listed via in-text citations and on an accompanying Works Cited page completed in MLA format. Citations from non-academic sources (i.e. reviews, blogs, etc) will not qualify; you must can utilize outside resources, such as JSTOR and EBSCO, in order to locate articles discussing your subject. Sources found on the regular old internet can work for this assignment, but make sure they are legitimate and actually add to your paper! Do remember that just because an article isn’t fully about your work specifically, it doesn’t mean that there won’t be a discussion of your work somewhere within the text. GRADING RUBRIC FOR RESEARCH PAPER Papers receiving a grade in the ‘A’ range will include: Strong paragraph structure, complete with an introduction, unified paragraphs that argue a claim and remain on one central topic throughout, and a conclusion that sheds new light on the argument made before it. A clearly identifiable thesis statement which states the direct intention of the essay to follow. Thesis statements almost always appear as the final statement of your introductory paragraph. A strong analysis of your literary text, its perceived theme, and how that theme is made clear or complicated by the text. Remember, the more specific your personal analysis, the stronger it will be. Great literary analysis can break down a scene, moment, or even sentence and give us insight on what’s going on. The incorporation of legitimate outside criticism in such a manner that it improves your argument and offers full support for its corresponding paragraph. A thoughtful examination of how the basic elements of literature, as composed by the work’s creator, helped make your character analysis possible. A strong sense of interpretation, but without editorializing (analysis is stronger than opinions of quality). Strong diction, grammar, and spelling. Essays should be structured in proper MLA format, with double-spacing, paragraph indentations, page numbers, necessary in-text citations, etc. Fun Fact: When is a word This page serves as an outline for an optional outline. Your outline should designate your selected work, your selected theme, your original argument, and at least one critical source you plan to use to support your assertions. You do not need to write perfectly polished sentences here; simply supply the information needed in each section so that you have an idea of where your paper is going. WORK SELECTED: The options are “The Raven” or “Recitatif” WORKING TITLE INTRODUCTION TOPIC SENTENCE – Begin your paper with a sentence or series of sentences that relate to your specific topic within your selected work. BACKGROUND – Provide the necessary details the reader will need to understand your argument and what work you’ll be discussing. THESIS STATEMENT – Your thesis should be debatable and original; what do you plan to argue about your theme in your work of fiction? You can go any number of ways with this! BODY PARAGRAPH TOPIC SENTENCE – Identify what you plan to discuss in one of your body paragraphs. Remember that each body paragraph should contain a specific argument of its own that relates to the overall argument made in your thesis. For example, if you are arguing that Bartleby, the Scrivener is about how work is the dagger that kills the human mind, one of your body paragraphs might focus on a specific instance where this is shown. Remember – a topic sentence and the paragraph that follows should not contain straight summary! TEXTUAL SUPPORT – What scene/moment/quote from the text will help you argue your position for this paragraph? Remember that if you have many arguments to make about a single scene, it can be wise for you to structurally break the thoughts down into multiple self-contained paragraphs. SECONDARY SOURCE – Identify the professional academic/literary writer and article that you will use to support your argument for this paragraph. How does this source help support you? Remember that including a secondary source is only half the job; you must explain/analyze how their opinion/writing helps your own. CONCLUSION

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