Writing about Literature and Introduction to the Literary Research Paper
Student Learning Outcomes:
Module-level Learning Outcomes:
For Introduction to the Literary Research Paper
** To start, please view the video below. In the video, I discuss what you will write about for the literary research paper (Essay 4) and all of the discussion forum assignments lead to this major essay assignment. **
You will write a literary analysis for your research paper. Read pages L-3 through L-30 in A Writer’s Reference to help you understand literary analysis. Basically, you will analyze two works of literature, focusing on their one common theme (this means ONE theme found in both stories). The stories might have multiple common themes, but you are to choose just one theme.
Please read the directions for the literary research paper in the Essay 4 folder, located inside of the Essay Folder. Just read through the directions to see what you have to do. No need to worry about writing the actual research paper right now, though. Think of the research paper as a project that you will complete in steps. The final step is completing the actual research paper–several steps will be completed before this final step.
Look at the Tips for Identifying Theme chart on pages 432-433 in Norton as you work to develop the common theme between the two works of short fiction you chose.
The first step (which will be completed in discussion forum 1) is choose an author from the list of authors I provided. Choose one author, and then choose two short stories written by the author. See the list below; the list also appears in the Essay 4 folder, too–same list, just in two locations for easy access. I do not care which short stories you choose, but you must 1) choose TWO short stories (do not choose a poem or a play) 2) choose one of the authors on the list I provide.
Note Very Well: If one (or both) of the short stories you choose does not appear in the course textbook, you will be required to find the story/stories on your own.
Please open this document to see exactly how your paper should look.
A Works Cited must be included with this assignment as the final page of the paper. Please draw your attention to how the source citations for the two short stories written by the same author should look.
The Works Cited should have only two source citations.
For second and subsequent works by a single author, replace the author’s name with three hyphens. Like my example, the first source citation requires the author’s last, first name. All subsequent source citations by this author require —. in place of the author’s name. See 6. Two or more works by the same author on page 441 in A Writer’s Reference for another example.
Alphabetize by the story title, excluding words such as A, The, or An as the beginning of a title. Use the first letter of each story (but NOT a, an, or the) to alphabetize.
** Kelly J. Mays did not write either short story. She is the editor of the Norton textbook, so do not put her name first as the write of any short story.
See Works Cited Entry for a Selection From an Anthology on page 452 in A Writer’s Reference.
Title of Your Literary Research Paper Goes Here
Here, you will develop a thesis statement for your literary research paper. The thesis statement should be one or two sentences that contain the common theme between the two short stories and the literary elements (3 or 4 of them) that you feel help show/explain the theme. Do not use I in the thesis.
Next, you will provide a brief explanation of how you think each literary element you included in the thesis will help you discuss/explain the theme.
Setting: state how you will use the setting in both stories to help discuss/explain the theme
Character: state how you will use the character(s) in both stories to help discuss/explain the theme
Symbol: state how you will use the symbols in both stories to help discuss/explain the theme
Exposition: state how you will use the opening of each story to help discuss/explain the theme
O’Brien, Tim. “The Lives of the Dead.” The Norton Introduction to Literature, edited by
Kelly J. Mays, 12th ed., W.W. Norton, 2016, pp. 73-83.
—. “The Things They Carried.” The Norton Introduction to Literature, edited by
Kelly J. Mays, Shorter 13th ed., W.W. Norton, 2019, pp. 609-22.
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