Length: 8-10 pages, 2200-3000 words
Proposal: Your proposal (50-100 words) indicating works to be discussed and a possible thesis should emailed to me on the proposal date. It will receive comments rather than a grade, but if you do not send a proposal, your final paper will lose 5 points (about ½) grade.
1. For this paper, you will want to use either secondary sources (i.e., literary criticism in the form of books and journal articles) or additional primary sources--stories, poems, plays--beyond the ones we've read in class.
2. If you want to, you can develop and expand on a previous short paper for the final paper.
3. Remember, Wikipedia and "student help" sites are NOT legitimate sources for this paper. The phrase "secondary sources" means "journals and library books," along with some legitimate literature web sites. Ask me if you're not sure whether a site counts as a legitimate source.
4. Web pages are someone's intellectual property and ALL WEB PAGES MUST BE CITED just as journal articles must be. Copying without attribution is plagiarism, and you will receive an F for the paper even if your paper is only partly copied from a source without attribution. See the syllabus for more information on the consequences of plagiarism.
5. Style counts as well as substance, so edit and proofread your paper carefully. If you have questions, meet with me before turning in your paper.
6. Check the various guidelines carefully:
Option I. Texts in Context Paper
Examine the periodicals in which one of these novels appeared (Holland Library has many of these in their original bindings) and read selections from the other works included in the same volume. You’ll probably want to choose 3-4 pieces from the volume and analyze them in detail.
You may instead want to work with the primary source materials to which you were introduced when we visited the MASC. You might also choose to look at a work's reception in the popular news outlets of the day or to compare it with a popular story on a similar topic.
Here are some questions that you may want to consider, although you don't have to address them all in your paper.
1. Why was this author popular in his or her time? What clues to this popularity do you see in the contexts in which he or she was published? How do the works of this author compare with those of his or her now-forgotten contemporaries?
2. What was the context within which this work was originally read? What works surrounded it—travel articles, short stories, author profiles, opinion and commentary, or some other form of writing?
3. What kinds of fiction appear in the same volume with the work? Do they address similar themes? Do you notice a preponderance of one kind of story or setting (e.g., dialect stories, stories about the West, stories about courtship, and so on)?
4. In what kind of publication does the work appear?
Option II: Traditional Critical Analysis Paper.
These are broad topics and are only suggestions; you will need to shape and to limit them. I encourage you to stop in to see me well before the paper is due. If you want to write on a topic that does not fit under one of these topics, please let me know.
Option III. Annotated Web Version of Text
Option III asks you to prepare an annotated hypertext (web site) or wiki version of works studied this semester. Your web site or wiki will define words, analyze images and themes, create a coherent interpretation, and provide a brief bibliography of works consulted. Important: It must be available for viewing on the web when you're done.
If you choose this option, your prospectus will outline your plans for the project. You may work in a group if you choose this option; all participants will share in the final grade.
In interpretation level and analytical quality, this should match the kind and length of work you would do for the 8-10 page paper; the difference is that your analysis will be broken into shorter segments and connected to the text by links.
Your group will also need to write a 3-4 page essay explaining why you made the choices you did in terms of analysis. Your paper should provide metacommentary on the reasons why you chose what you did, sites you chose (or declined) to link to, conversations you had about interpretation, ideas, insights, responses to the text, and so forth.
Free wiki sites (for setting up a wiki) include www.pbwiki.com. I don't recommend wikihost.org because it has several layers of usernames and passwords, and it can be very difficult to log in to the site.
Length: About 5-10 minutes for the presentation. (No additional written work must be turned in for a grade.)
Your purpose is to inform the class about some facet of literature that was “popular then/classic now.” If you've done the "texts in context" paper, for example, you may want to discuss what you've discovered about the periodical or author you focused on for the paper. If you've completed a web project, you may want to show that project on the screen and discuss it with the class. If you've worked with someone else on the project, you can present your research together.
Although this presentation will be based on your final project, you shouldn't simply read your paper to the class, although you can present portions of your paper in your presentation. Instead, you should feel free to bring in film or music clips, use PowerPoint or pictures, ask students questions, and otherwise make your presentation lively and informative for the class. You can also present your research in innovative ways..