Write a thesis-driven response to one of the assigned works of literature that productively incorporates additional ideas from library sources, including at least two academic books or articles and one additional database source. Your paper should make an original, compelling, and arguable claim about the literary work; support it with textual evidence; complement it with credible secondary sources; and adequately respond to potential counterarguments.
Your thesis should challenge or complicate a simple reading of the text. Remember that a thesis is your best reply to an important question that doesn’t have a “right” answer. You may respond to one of the discussion questions I have provided or one of your own, but make sure that the question you select can sustain a complete, well-developed response. You’ll likely have succeeded in your thesis statement if your readers pause after reading it and think, “What an interesting idea. I wonder if that’s really true.”
Once you have offered an intriguing thesis, support it with ample evidence from the work itself. Offer paraphrases and direct quotes as evidence, but don’t assume that they alone will convince your readers. Instead, provide analysis of and commentary on your textual evidence to demonstrate what a particular paraphrase or quote means in your view, why it is significant, and how it supports your thesis. Consider potential counterarguments to your thesis and address them in the body of your paper.
Additionally, you must include from at least three outside sources ideas or information that provides additional perspective on or insight into your selected work of literature. That may consist of direct claims regarding the work of literature or information that reveals or clarifies something about the work of literature, such as unfamiliar references, literary or historical context, or authorship. Whatever you find, make sure that you use that information to complement and support your own independent ideas. You should NOT use a source that essentially makes the same argument you are making.
For additional help in writing about literature, visit the Purdue OWL website > Subject-Specific Writing > Writing in Literature > Writing about Fiction and Writing about Literature.
MLA format (see MLA General Format at the Purdue OWL website)
o 12 pt. Times New Roman font or something equivalent and double-spaced throughout
o 1” margins with proper 1/2” header and proper heading on first page
o Proper Works Cited page and in-text citations
One primary source (the work of literature)
Two academic articles or books (peer reviewed or published by an academic press)
An additional secondary source found through the library databases
Additional sources are permitted except for websites that explain or interpret the work of literature
You may write on any work assigned this semester except for the one used for your Response Paper
See Course Schedule for due dates
Submit all work related to this unit; failure to do so will result in a point reduction on your unit grade
Note on Plagiarism
With the abundance of information available online, it can be very tempting to look for ideas on the Internet. Remember that plagiarism includes not just taking someone else’s words but also taking their ideas without credit. I want your individual response to the text, so do not go online to find ideas on what to write about. A plagiarized paper will receive no credit and may warrant a failure in the course and further academic discipline.
Is your thesis original, compelling, and arguable?
Does your thesis challenge or complicate a simple reading of the text to which you are responding?
Does your response move beyond our class discussion of the text?
Does your paper offer adequate textual support for your thesis through apt quotes or paraphrases?
Does your paper provide appropriate analysis of your textual evidence to demonstrate how it supports your thesis?
Does your paper effectively incorporate information from at least two academic articles or books and one additional secondary source from the library databases?
Does your paper adequately consider and respond to potential counterarguments?
Does your introduction engage your reader by raising an interesting problem or compelling question?
Does each paragraph have a single, clear idea?
Does your paper employ effective transitions and clear topic sentences?
Does your conclusion indicate how your response contributes to our overall understanding of the text?
Voice, Sentence Fluency, and Word Choice (20)
Is the voice engaging and appropriate for the assignment?
Are the sentences comprehensible, varied, concise, and easy to read?
Is the diction clear, precise, and appropriate for your audience?
Mechanics and Conventions (20)
Does the paper follow punctuation, grammar, spelling, and usage guidelines of American English?
Does the paper strictly adhere to MLA format, including guidelines for in-text citations and a Works Cited page?