This semester, we’ve looked at fictional literary texts that examine how experiences influence the way individuals develop their sense of self and perceive their place in society. Such experiences have been tied to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and traumatic events.
For this unit, you will write a research paper in which you analyze a theme or issue that occurs in at least one literary text we’ve read during this course, and then argue how the theme or issue is a representation of today’s society.
If art imitates life, pick a specific example from a piece (or several pieces) we studied throughout this semester that demonstrates this point. You will need to define ways in which this art, or works of art, accomplishes real life imitation. Also, you will also need to describe what distinguishes the fictional piece from the real life. In doing so, you may explore numerous concepts or issues related to this theme.
Use at least one of these pieces of literature we studied as the text through which you investigate and discuss this theme/issue. You may choose to compare and/or contrast two works in regards to their treatment of the same or related themes. (Do not use more than 3 primary texts). Ultimately, your goal is to create a set of insights about this theme/issue.
You are using the literary texts to help illustrate or build these insights. Therefore your analysis is not merely confined to a discussion of the literary text(s), but should instead seek to develop an argument regarding the broader theme/issue itself.
Below are some possible themes to explore:
- How does society’s views on gender influence individual identity? What are the psychological effects of this influence?
- In what ways do people’s perceptions of/experience of sexual orientation influence their sense of identity or approach to relationships?
- How does one’s understanding of/experience of love influence the way one views oneself? How does love impact one’s self-image?
- How do family relationships shape one’s sense of self or one’s approach to other relationships?
- How do the relationships among siblings influence a person’s adult personality, approaches to love, and/or perceptions of family?
- What are the psychological effects of the parent/child relationship on one’s adult identity or one’s adult approach to family?
- How does society’s views of race, ethnicity, economic class, religion, or sexuality influence individual identity and social stratification?
- How do the roles of the “outsider” or “minority” groups impact the way the “insider” or “majority groups see themselves?
- How do labels/stereotypes about “outsider” or “minority” groups impact the way people within those groups see themselves?
- How can one move beyond the psychological limits imposed by social stereotyping?
- What are the psychological effects of war and how do the impact a person beyond their time in war? What impact do these effects have on those around the effected and on the broader society?
- What are the psychological effects of confronting death and/or the recognition of mortality?
Clearly, this assignment is intended to encourage each student to find an original path of research in which one can suit her/his interests and through which one can demonstrate unique analysis & insights. As part of this, you will use at least one primary literary text that we have read in this class. You also must use at least 4 secondary sources that meet the standards of “legitimate academic texts.” This will require you to do library research (and/or use the academic databases) as this requirement will negate much of what you might find on the general internet. It is expected that you will incorporate quotes and ideas from these sources fluidly within the context of your own analysis.
- You must develop your paper based on your own ideas and observations (informed by the readings and class discussions) and use one of the assigned essays from Arguing About Literature to support the argument of your analysis.
- This paper must adhere to MLA style or APA style guidelines. Confirm with your instructor which format he or she would prefer you use on this assignment. Information about these style guides and your academic pathway is listed on the syllabus. Additionally, there are modules within this unit on both MLA and APA style specifically for this assignment. You will need to properly cite both your sources in order to avoid plagiarism.
- This paper must be at least 5 paragraphs in length AND must be at least 1250 words long. This generally equals 5 complete pages. Do not exceed 8 pages. If you do not meet the minimum length requirement, you will not earn a passing grade on the paper.
- Make sure to upload each assignment as a Word document (.doc or .docx) in the Assignments tool within the Assessments tab above.
Any plagiarism on this paper or any of the steps in the writing process will lead to immediate failure of this course, so please do not make that mistake.
The Writing Process:
- STEP 1: Submit an Outline Worksheet for Paper 3. This worksheet (a Microsoft Word document that you can download) can be found by clicking on the link here or within each learning unit’s Paper #3 Assignment folder . This worksheet asks you to develop your thesis statement as well as the topic sentences for your body paragraphs. Please submit this completed worksheet in the Assignments section of the course. I will reply to you with feedback on your thesis & topic sentences and specific suggestions as to how these might be revised to more successfully craft a quality paper.
- STEP 2: In-Class Peer Review Session. On the designated day on the tentative course calendar, bring three printed copies of that unit’s essay in rough draft form for in-class peer review session. In order to earn attendance credit for the day, you must come to class with copies of your rough draft.
- STEP 3: Submit Rough Draft to Tutor (optional). You may submit your essay to BrainFuse (for online tutor feedback) or visit the Academic Success Center’s Writing Lab (on campus tutoring center) with your essay for additional writing help. An extra credit essay activity is based on your experience with the tutors.
- STEP 4: Submit FINAL Draft. Upload a final, well-polished draft of your essay to the Assignments section of the course.
On your Outline Worksheet you will receive feedback and a grade that indicates credit for submitting the assignment. However, the grade is ultimately of less importance. Instead, the FEEDBACK provided by your instructor is of ultimate importance. Utilize this feedback to proceed in the writing process in order to develop a quality first and final draft that will earn a successful grade.
How is this paper graded?
I will grade your paper based on the following elements:
- Proper essay structure, including a detailed, quality thesis statement.
- Proper grammar, spelling, syntax, and sentence mechanics.
- Proper academic tone.
- A clear, thoughtful, sophisticated, intelligent, and well-supported analysis.
- Adherence to the Key Requirements listed above