5.2: Researching a Novel
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Select a novel written by an American author and begin to prepare a research book report.
Portfolio 5.2: Book Report
Along with writing a journal in this lesson, you will also complete a research book report that will be turned in with your journals in portfolio 3. You will select a novel written by an American author (The Great Gatsby). There is a suggested reading list in Appendix G, but you are not required to select a book from that list. However, the author must be considered an American author. Once you have chosen and read the book, you will begin to write your book report. Keep the following guidelines in mind as you choose your book and start reading. You will want to write the first draft of your report before lesson 10 where you will be reminded of the requirements for the book report to submit in portfolio 3.
The report itself will have four separate parts, and each part will be labeled. The four parts are as follows:
- Part 1: A summary of the novel, including the main characters, setting, plot, and major conflicts (1 page)
- Part 2: A brief biography of the author (1 page)
- Part 3: An explanation of how the author and his or her novel have impacted American culture (1 page)
- Part 4: A discussion of the question: Can this novel be considered a timeless American classic? Why or why not? (1 page)
Let’s look at each of the four parts individually.
Part 1: A summary of the novel, including the main characters, setting, plot, and major conflicts.
A novel summary must include an explanation of who the main characters are in the novel, what the setting is (remember that setting includes time and place), what the major conflicts are in the book, and a description of the plot. Of course, you don’t have to explain every specific detail of the book, but you do need to discuss the main events. This part needs to be one page minimum.
Part 2: A brief biography of the author.
The biography should be brief. While you don’t need to go into as much detail as you would if you were writing a research essay on the author, you do need to cover some basic information, such as life events (birth, death, marriages, schooling), interesting facts, the author’s writing career, and any information that provides insights about the author as a person. You will need to properly cite all the information you use from sources of information on the author found on the Internet, in books, magazines, or other resources and include a works cited page. For more information on MLA citation, see Appendix F.
Remember that plagiarism is using seven or more words from a source without citing where the information came from. This part of the assignment should be a one page minimum.
Part 3: An explanation of how the author and his or her novel have impacted American culture.
This part will require you to do a couple of things. First, you have to determine for yourself what American culture consists of. Then, you have to decide how the author has impacted it, if at all. You might want to consider thinking about what was happening in America during your author’s writing career. For example, if a novel came out in the nineteenth century, then the novel might have had more of a cultural impact than if it had come out in the twenty-first century. Again, remember the page minimum.
Part 4: A discussion of the question: Can this novel be considered a timeless American classic? Why or why not?
First, in order to answer this question, you will first need to define what a timeless American classic is. Then, based on your definition, you will need to determine if your novel fits your personal criteria.
Putting Your Book Report Together
This is what you will be assessed on for this part of your book report.
- This essay should be typed using Times New Roman font, size 12, double spaced, and regular 8.5 x 11 size.
- Your book report needs to be one .PDF file.
- You need to have a title page that includes the title of the book, the author’s name, and your name.
- The four parts of your essay must be labeled.
- Your rubric needs to be included at the end of your book report. You will find the rubric in the portfolio 3 instruction page.