The research paper should be at least 1000 words and may be longer. It counts 50% of your grade in the course.
You must follow the assignment exactly. Please note that this is not a thesis controlled essay; it is an exploration of sources. You will use a total of four sources, including the primary source. The works cited list must be in MLA format. Use www.easybib.com to help you with formatting, or send me a message. If you use databases, you will often find the entire citation at the end of the commentary. You will just need to copy and paste it in your works cited list and make whatever formatting changes are necessary.
You must follow these instructions exactly.
Choose one of the following stories, short novels, or plays for your research paper. You may wish to read the introduction to the author and then to read the first few paragraphs of the story, novel, or play to help you make your choice. If you want to know a little more about your selection, let me know. I suggest that you read your primary source (the story, short novel, or play) before looking for commentaries (secondary sources), since you’ll want to experience it as literature with all its interesting details and surprises first. Once you have made your choice, read carefully and take notes, jotting down any questions that occur to you as you read. These questions will be part of your research paper. Henry James, “Daisy Miller: A Study” (C: 421) , “The Real Thing” (C: 460), or “The Beast in the Jungle” (C: 477)
Katherine Anne Porter, “Pale Horse, Pale Rider” (D: 494)
William Faulkner, “Barn Burning” (D:800)
Ernest Hemingway, “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” (D: 826)
Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire (E: 93)
Find three commentaries (articles, interviews, overviews, critical essays, etc.) about the story or play and take notes or highlight the parts that help in your understanding. You should use at least two substantial quotations from each commentary in your paper. I encourage you to use more than three commentaries (secondary sources). Keep in mind that your research should focus on the literature itself, not on the author, though you may find articles in which the author (writer of the primary source) discusses the story, novel, or play, or you may find that the author’s own life is relevant to the story in a very specific way. Many biographies include discussions of specific pieces of literature by the author. The primary source (the story, novel, or play) does not count as one of the three commentaries (secondary sources). This means that you will have at least four sources in your works cited list. Again, I encourage you to use additional sources, especially if you don’t find answers to your questions by using only three.
Don’t use: No internet (or print) sources that are “notes” or “summaries” of the primary source (CliffsNotes, Endnotes, Classicnotes, Booknotes, Sparknotes, Novelguide.com, etc) (Anything with lots of advertisements should be avoided.)No student papers or free essays from websites like 1234helpme.com, freeessays.tv, gradesaver.com, sunflower.singnet.com, cbronte.com, bookrags, planetpapers.com, antiessays.com, directessays.com, academon.com, echeat.com, study.com–I’m truly amazed at how many websites like this exist! (These papers are often already plagiarized, or they are written by high school students with no real evidence for their views.)No encyclopedias, especially Wikipedia, which is a good general reference but not always reliable, especially not as literary criticismNo dictionaries–definitions of words aren’t commentaries (though it’s good to look up words, of course)No unsigned internet articles No interviews with friends about the story or play (though it’s good to discuss the primary source with other people) Use: Books (biographies of the author, compilations of critical essays, critical studies of the story, novel or play)HCCS databases, especially Literature Resource Center. See instructions for accessing databases from home below. Movies or documentaries that relate to the the primary source (You must discuss these in the paper, not just mention them, to count them as sources.)Reliable websites (with authors listed)Websites with .org, .gov., .edu (unless the source is a student paper)
ACCESSING DATABASES FROM HOME All HCCS students are entitled to use the college databases while enrolled in Houston Community College. Here is a link that explains how to access the databases from home: http://hccs.libanswers.com/faq/108002
Writing the Paper
In your paper, begin with a brief introduction in which you tell why you chose this story or play, what questions you had after reading, how your found your sources, which sources were most useful. This introduction is required. You should use “I” in the introduction since you are discussing your personal response.
Include a very brief discussion of the primary source itself, including quotations that you think are important. This part of the paper shouldn’t be more than a paragraph or two. (I emphasize “brief” because in the past, some students have discussed the story, novel, or play for half the paper and responded very briefly to the commentaries.) This part of the paper should be similar to a short reading response.
Then discuss each commentary (source) in a full paragraph for each source, letting the reader know what the critics have said about your story, novel, or play. Include at least two substantial quotations from the source and your responses to what the critics say. You will need to give the name and author of each commentary, but don’t use these as headings. I prefer that you organize your essay by discussing the sources one by one in separate paragraphs. You may, of course, make connections among the sources to make the essay flow nicely. I’m interested in what you find out about the literature through research. Please follow punctuation rules for quotations. Quotation marks don’t substitute for other marks of punctuation (commas, colons, semicolons, periods). Here is a website that should be useful: Punctuating Quotations in Essays
Do not put the author’s name in parentheses after a quotation. You should introduce your source at the beginning of the paragraph by including the author’s name and the title of the source in your topic sentence for the paragraph. You may, of course, mention the author’s name again in a sentence if you wish, but don’t put the author’s name in parentheses. Use sentences like, “Baker goes on to say that. . . .” or “he also says that. . . .”
At the end of the paper, summarize what you have learned by doing the research, perhaps letting your reader know which commentaries answered the questions you had, which gave you additional insight, which were difficult to understand, etc. Again, you should use “I.”
Include a Works Cited list at the end of the paper, listing all sources alphabetically, using MLA documentation format. Be sure to list your primary source (the story, play, or novel you are writing about). You must follow MLA format exactly. If you need help, let me know. You may wish to pick up a handout at the library or consult the following website: MLA Format. The Purdue On-line Writing Lab (OWL) is also very useful.
Below you will find instructions for documenting your paper. You must follow instructions carefully.
Research Documentation Guidelines: English 2328
Include the name of the author and title in a sentence in the text of the paper, not in parentheses. The page number should appear in parentheses just after the quotation. The page number always comes after the quotation marks and is not preceded by a p.; the period comes after the parentheses. See example below. Websites and databases usually don’t have page numbers, so you need to include only the author and title. Remember that any borrowed material (a quotation, a paraphrase, a summary, an idea) must have an in-text citation. Example 1 (In-text citation): In Carlos Baker’s excellent biography of Ernest Hemingway (called Hemingway: The Writer as Artist), he says that “‘The Snows of Kilimanjaro’ is an experiment in the psychology of a dying man” (191). Notice that I have not repeated “Baker” in parentheses before the page number. It is very important not to repeat the author’s name unnecessarily. Doing so is distracting to the reader and implies that he or she can’t remember the name of the author, even though you have included it at the beginning of the sentence. (Imagining yourself as the reader is a good idea.)
Works Cited Entry: Baker, Carlos. Hemingway, the Writer as Artist. 4th ed. Princeton, NJ. Princeton UP. 1972. Print. Example 2 (In-text citation): In Theatre U.S.A: 1665-1957, the author, Barnard Hewitt, says the following about Tennessee Williams and the production of A Streetcar Named Desire: “Tennessee Williams had succeeded in investing contemporary materials with poetry by intensifying the expression of the suffering of realistically conceived characters” (441).
Notice that there is punctuation after the introduction to the quotation. In this case, I used a colon; however, depending on the lead-in, you might use some other mark of punctuation. It’s important to follow normal punctuation rules when using quotations. Notice also that the ending quotation marks come before the parentheses and that the period comes after. Notice also that I have not repeated the author’s name.
Works Cited Entry: Hewitt, Barnard. Theatre U.S.A.: 1665-1957. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1959. Print.
For your primary source (the story, novel, or play you are researching), use page numbers only as long as it’s clear that you are quoting from the primary source (and as long as you have included the author and title in the introduction). The full citation will appear in the Works Cited list. Example: The narrator of “The Real Thing” by Henry James explains his philosophy of illustration in the following passage: I liked them [Major and Mrs. Monarch]–I felt, quite as their friends must have done–they were so simple; and I had no objection to them if they would suit. But somehow with all their perfections I didn’t easily believe in them. After all they were amateurs, and the ruling passion of my life was–the detestation of the amateur. Combined with this was another perversity–an innate preference for the represented subject over the real one: the defect of the real one was so apt to be a lack of representation. I liked things that appeared; then one was sure. Whether they WERE or not was a subordinate and almost always a profitless question. (434)
The quotation above is “blocked,” which means it is indented 10 spaces from the left margin. Quotations of four lines or more should be blocked. Notice that there are no quotation marks around the quotation. Blocking it reveals to the reader that you are quoting. Also, in a blocked quotation, the period comes before the parentheses.
Examples of Works Cited Entries for primary sources:
Williams, Tennessee. A Streetcar Named Desire. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Vol. E. Eds. Nina Baym et al. 8th ed. New York: Norton, 2012. 90-155. Print. James, Henry. “The Real Thing.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Vol. C. Eds. Nina Baym et al. 8th ed. New York: Norton, 2012. 460-76. Print. Notice that you should include the inclusive page numbers for the story or play.
Use the following format if you’re quoting from a multi-volume source like Twentieth Century Literary Criticism, Contemporary Literary Criticism, Twentieth Century Views, etc. (Always cite the actual author of a piece, not an editor.)
Example: In-text citation: Lionel Trilling, in “F. Scott Fitzgerald” (from The Liberal Imagination), says this about Fitzgerald’s writing style: “Even in Fitzgerald’s early, cruder books, or even in his commercial stories, and even when his style is careless, there is a tone and pitch to his sentences that suggest his warmth and tenderness, and, what is rare nowadays and not likely to be admired, his gentleness without softness.” (12)
Works Cited Entry: Trilling, Lionel. “F. Scott Fitzgerald.” The Liberal Imagination. New York: Viking, 1951. Rpt. in F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Collection of Critical Essays. Arthur Mizener, ed. Twentieth Century Views. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1963. 11-19. Print.
If you’re using the Internet, follow MLA guidelines by including the author (if known) and title of the piece, the date the site was created (if indicated), the http address (optional), and the date accessed. If the author isn’t known, use the title of the piece (even if it’s a simple title like “A Poe Chronology”). Example: Melissa Byles, in a New Yorker essay called “Richard Ford on Raymond Carver,” comments on Ford’s view of life: Life, in Ford’s view, is something that is or flows in easily recognizable ways. About art, he makes, I believe, the following well-worn but not necessarily well-taken points: art can have an insignificant subject matter (think of old shoes in Van Gogh paintings); art makes life more worthy, and may even a surprisingly unmodern point teach us morals, a conduct; yet art is not like life, in that art is a calculated construction, while life involves less calculation than chance. Works cited entry: Byles, Melissa. “Richard Ford on Raymond Carver.” The New Yorker. 5 Oct. 1998. Rpt. in Off Course: A Literary Journey. Web. 27 June 2016.
If you use a database like Literature Resource Center, follow this format:
Example (in-text documentation):
Linda Wagner-Martin in ” ‘A Pair of Silk Stockings’: Overview,” comments on the story’s style: “Chopin’s departure from a plot-oriented narrative, to the emphasis on the inner motivation of her character, was as important as her abandonment of the details of local color writing.”
Works Cited entry: Wagner-Martin, Linda. ” ‘A Pair of Silk Stockings’: Overview.” Reference Guide to Short Fiction. Ed. Noelle Watson. 1st ed. St. James Press, 1994. Literature Resource Center. Web. 17 October 2009. Do not include the web address for databases.
To avoid repeating all of the information about a book with several essays about your story, you may include one full reference to the entire book (with the editor) and then cross-reference the individual essays. Here is an example. Mizener, Arthur, ed. F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Collection of Critical Essays. Twentieth Century Views. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1966. Print. Cowley, Malcolm. “Third Act and Epilogue.” Mizener 64-69. Print. Wanning, Andrews. “Fitzgerald and His Brethren.” Mizener 57-63. Print. *To access Galenet, go to the HCCS Library Home Page, choose Databases by Subject, Literature, and then “Literature Resource Center.” After typing in the author’s name, choose “Criticism” to find articles about your story. Check with me if you need more information. Note: You will find information for the citation at the end of the commentary in Literature Resource Center, so you don’t have to create it yourself.
For help with creating the works cited list, check this website: EasyBib English 2328: Sample Works Cited List
I am providing this mainly so that you will know what your Works Cited list should look like. The list should be alphabetized by the author’s last name, double-spaced, and all lines after the first of each entry should be indented five spaces (not the first line). Works Cited Baker, Carlos. Hemingway, the Writer as Artist. 4th ed. Princeton, NJ. Princeton UP. 1972. Print. Byles, Melissa. “Richard Ford on Raymond Carver.” The New Yorker. 5 Oct. 1998. Rpt. in Off Course: A Literary Journey. Web. 27 June 2016. Cowley, Malcolm. “Third Act and Epilogue.” Mizener 64-69. Print. Hewitt, Barnard. Theatre U.S.A.: 1665-1957. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1959. Print. James, Henry. “The Real Thing.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Vol. E. Eds. Nina Baym et al. 7th ed. New York: Norton, 2007. 429-447. Print. Mizener, Arthur, ed. F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Collection of Critical Essays. Twentieth Century Views. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1966. Print. Wagner-Martin, Linda. ” ‘A Pair of Silk Stockings’: Overview.” Reference Guide to Short Fiction. Ed. Noelle Watson. 1st ed. St. James Press, 1994. Literature Resource Center. Web. 22 Aug. 2010. Wanning, Andrews. “Fitzgerald and His Brethren.” Mizener 57-63. Print. Williams, Tennessee. A Streetcar Named Desire. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Vol. E. Eds. Nina Baym et al. 7th ed. New York: Norton, 2007. 2186-2248. Print.
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