Prose Fiction Essay Assignment
In a well-written, well-organized, and thoughtful paper of at least 1000 words, write either an expository or an argumentative essay in which you either explain (expository) or argue a point that you want to make about the work (or works) you have chosen as the focus of your paper.
See my essay The Thing in the Dark Corner: The Haunting Specter of Homosexuality in Willa Cathers ‘Pauls Case’ for an example of a non-research paper that argues or explains a point about a literary work.
Your essay must have a thesissomething you are trying to explain or argue.
The thesis should be evident from the title of your essay (See my document that lists the titles of my own essays and books to see how a title indicates the thesis.)
While you may have sentences in the body of your essay that indicate your thesis, you should not announce a thesis in your papers with such phrases as In this paper I will argue or My thesis is (et cetera). In classical rhetoric, it was appropriate to make this type of announcement, but it is not the contemporary style of modern rhetoric.
(Though some teachers may tell their students to make such announcements, but that is because the teachers want to be able to see the students identify their thesis statements. I prefer for students to write papers that are closer to the style of professional publications in the real world outside the classroom.)
Your essay must support your thesis through an analysis of the literary work.
Your essay must come to a conclusioni.e., something that you have concluded (determined, decided, et cetera) about the literary work and/or its relevancy to society at the time it was written or our society now.
Note: A conclusion is NOT a summary that simply repeats the thesis and the support you have already covered in your paper. A summary can be used as a transition into an actual conclusion, but it is not a conclusion on its own. Additionally, do not announce your conclusion by beginning the paragraph with In conclusion (or, even worse, In summary), et cetera. Just write a conclusionas is the approach of most professional publications in the real world outside the classroom.
Use the Word template I have placed on Blackboard, or make certain you know how to correctly format the paper yourself in compliance with the style guidelines of the Modern Language Association (MLA).
An explanation about the three types of research sources:
Primary Sources: For literature papers, a primary source is the literary work you are writing about. (In science, business, and other fields, a primary source can also be research you do yourselfsuch as experiments you conduct, survey questionnaires that you create and distribute, et cetera.)
For instance, in my doctoral dissertation I write about the literature of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Blake, and other poets and novelists, so the poems and novels I read as I worked on my dissertation are primary sources that I used as research.
Secondary Sources: For literature papers, a secondary source is something that other people have written about the literary work that you are writing about. (In science, business, and other fields, a secondary source is research other people have done that you want to usesuch as experiments other people have conducted, survey questionnaires that other people have created and distribute, et cetera.)
For instance, academic papers that other people wrote about the literary works of Jack Kerouac and William Blake that I read as I worked on my dissertation are secondary sources.
Tertiary Sources: Any research material that is not directly related to your primary sources but that can be used to help you analyze your primary sources. For instance, psychology articles on suicide or historical studies of the Holocaust that could help a person analyze Sylvia Plaths Daddy because of the subject matter of that poem and Sylvia Plaths own emotional disorders that led to her suicide.
Obviously, you must have at least one primary sources for this papera literary work that you are writing about.
I would prefer that you not use any secondary sources because I want to see your own views of the literary work rather than how well you can use or respond to the intellectual views other people have about the literary works.
You may use tertiary sources if you need to consult outside material to help you with your own analysis of the primary source. For instance, someone who is writing about The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman might want to research the medical therapies of Silas Weir Mitchell, a physician who is mentioned in the story.
If you use any secondary or tertiary research sources, you must follow the MLA guidelines for parenthetical citations and a Works Cited page. You may find the MLA guidelines at the Purdue University Online Writing Lab:
Here are the works that can be used for this assignment:
Edgar Allan Poes The Murders in the Rue Morgue
Arthur Conan Doyles A Scandal in Bohemia
Charlotte Perkins Gilmans The Yellow Wall-Paper
Kate Chopins At the Cadian Ball and The Storm
Ernest Hemingways The Big Two-Hearted River
William Faulkners Barn Burning
Ralph Ellisons Battle Royal
Zora Neale Hurstons Sweat
Upload the prose fiction essay to Blackboard by 8:59 AM on Tuesday, July 27
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