I chose two stories to relate to the topic. Interpreter of Maladies “Sexy” by Jhumpa Lahiri and “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams
Overview of Research Paper
•Final Draft due by 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8
•This is a thesis/argument driven literary analysis research paper.
•Focus on one or two primary texts (novels, plays, stories, poems, etc.). You may not choose the any of the primary texts you wrote about in either of your first two formal papers.
•A minimum of two scholarly/peer reviewed sources from GCU library required. At least one of these must be literary criticism. Additional reliable sources may be used.
•Required length is 6 full pages (not 5 and a bit) to 7 full pages
•Paper must be formatted and sources cited according to the standards of MLA 8.
•Must include a Works Cited but this should not count in the page count. Papers without a Works Cited could be considered plagiarized and/or receive a 0.
•Both drafts must be turned in to the appropriate assignment on Blackboard and will go through plagiarism detection software.
•Plagiarism at any point – including on early drafts – will count as plagiarism on the final draft and be treated as such. See the syllabus for information about academic honesty. Resubmitting a plagiarized assignment does not remove the student’s responsibility for committing the offense.
More In-Depth Description/Directions/Guidance
Argument and Development
For this paper, you will develop your argument about one or two of the texts we have read this semester, focusing mostly on your analysis of the primary text(s), supporting your argument with many examples and quotes from these texts, and also supporting that argument with scholarly secondary sources.
Your argument is not just an overview of the literary work or works, or a statement about something that happened, or what the work was about. A strong argument is complex and thoughtful, and says something that is not obvious. To accomplish this, you might explore an important theme, some element of characterization, the social dynamics explored in a text (racial issues, gender issues, class issues, etc. – or more than one of these.) You can also draw on your knowledge about how certain literary elements (setting, symbolism, etc.) help the author develop her or his ideas about the issue(s) you are discussing.
Your argument should be clearly stated in a thesis. Everything you discuss in your paper should be related to the thesis.
If you choose to talk about two primary texts, make a clear comparison that goes beyond “there are similarities and differences between…” Focus in on a theme, issue, idea, etc., just as discussed above, and explicitly compare how the two texts deal with that issue.
Sample Student Thesis: The way animals are treated in The Bluest Eye not only reflects the way racism is portrayed in the novel, but it also show the characters’ misplaced anger derived from their fear of being undervalued in their society.
Sample Student Thesis: Through her description of the ragged climb that Simon Rosedale undertakes to gain entrance to the upper echelons and Carrie Fisher’s struggle to maintain her social status, Edith Wharton illustrates that social propriety can be bought and sold as long as one’s wares are deemed profitable. By juxtaposing the societal success of these two minor characters to the aching failure of the ostensibly perfect Lily Bart, Wharton informs the audience of the fickle nature of society’s elite, and the many contradictions of their moral code.
Sample Comparative Thesis: Both Willy Loman in Miller’s Death of a Salesman and Robert Lowell as the speaker of “Memories of West Street and Lepke” rely heavily on memory to illustrate why their efforts to attain the “American Dream” have created something more like a nightmare. Ironically, however, Willy’s inability to set his memories aside is one of the major causes of his downfall, while Lowell’s memories of his time in prison offer the promise of a wakeup call, suggesting that he and others who live complacently are little different from a “lobotomized” inmate awaiting execution on death row. (courtesy of Dr. McDonald)
Supporting your Argument with evidence from the text and secondary sources
When supporting your argument, you should use strong paraphrases and quotes from the primary text(s) and the secondary sources. These should always be introduced. The significance of them should also be clearly explained. Quotes should not just be plunked down in the middle of a paragraph without set up and explanation. Use the sandwich technique when quoting or paraphrasing (see Content for an overview of this technique, also in this folder). Also, you should not summarize the whole text or talk about parts of the text that are not related to your argument. You should explain your support in such a way that someone who hasn’t read the work could understand it, but do not retell the story.
Your two main secondary sources should be scholarly/peer-reviewed. This includes articles from scholarly journals and chapters in scholarly books (found in academic libraries, not public libraries or bookstores). One of these must be literary criticism – from literature journals or books. The other one can be literary criticism or could be in a related field. For example, you could use an article from a sociology or history journal about suburbanization if it helps you make an argument about Death of a Salesman.
To find peer-reviewed journal articles, the best place to look is the GCU databases, especially the MLA International Bibliography and JSTOR. More general databases like Proquest or Omnifile have some material as well, though searching them can be trickier because they are less focused. In all cases, limit your search to peer-reviewed.
You may use more than two sources. You may use sources that are not scholarly or peer reviewed as long as you do not count them toward your two scholarly sources, but these must be appropriate for academic work and reliable. For example, you can use an article from the New York Times if relevant, a government resource, or an on-line resource sponsored by a university, but not a general web site.
Unreliable or not-respected sources, like Sparknotes, Schmoop, Enotes, random web sites, or Wikipedia, should not be used or consulted at all.
Organization and Strong Writing
Your paper should have a clear introduction that sets up your argument. Your paper should build up to your thesis. The thesis should present your argument and give your reader a sense of how your paper will be organized. It is usually the last sentence (or two) of the introduction.
Body paragraphs should follow the introduction in a logical order that makes sense according to the thesis. Each paragraph should be well developed but should also be focused on only one topic. Paragraphs should have topic sentences (usually the first sentence in a paragraph) that state what the paragraph is about and connect the ideas in the paragraph to the thesis.
Transition phrases and sentences should show how ideas relate to each other, between paragraphs and within them.
If you are doing a comparison, it is often better to organize by points than to say everything about one text, and then everything about the other. This forces you to focus.
The paper should also show a strong grasp of grammar and mechanics. The writing should be clear and concise.
Literary analysis papers are generally written in the present tense.
You should also have a compelling title.
As noted, your paper should be formatted overall according the standards of MLA 8 (one-inch margins, double spaced, proper headings and page number formats, etc.) and also follow MLA 8 for in-text citations and the Works Cited page. Help on that here: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_formatting_and_style_guide.html .
There is a sample paper in the Research Paper folder on Blackboard.
Argument and Focus: (25 pts):
Paper fits the parameters of the assignment. It includes a thesis statement that gives focus to the entire analysis, reflecting the originality and thoughtfulness of the writer’s main idea about the text under consideration. This thesis should present a logically sound argument, reflect an accurate reading of basic plot points or other indisputable textual details, display the author’s awareness of the text’s complexity, and acknowledge evidence that might contradict it. The writer goes beyond common or obvious observations. All of the paper’s main points relate back clearly to the thesis.
Development: Depth of Thought / Analysis (25 pts):
The paper includes relevant, quality details from the primary text that provide readers with important and accurate information; it offers clear, full explanations of textual interpretations that support and/or develop the writer’s key ideas; it also effectively uses the requisite number of secondary scholarly sources that support and/or develop the writer’s key ideas. The paper meets the page requirement without evidence of repetition and/or textual summary.
Organization and Clarity (25 pts.):
The essay includes a compelling and effective introductory paragraph. It also follows a logical paragraph arrangement and includes effective paragraph transitions. The essay includes a clear and compelling concluding paragraph that reinforces the thesis and goes a little beyond it to leave the reader with something new to think about. In addition to having a logical overall organization, the paper demonstrates clarity and coherence at the paragraph and sentence levels as well.
Specifications, Mechanics, and Style (15 pts):
The paper is free of mechanical errors (grammar/word usage/punctuation, etc.). The writer effectively integrates quotations into the essay. The paper is written in an engaging style.
MLA Style (10 pts):
The paper follows MLA format for margins, heading, title, and style considerations. It clearly and accurately cites pages for all quotes and includes a Works Cited page in the proper MLA format for all sources used.
ESSAY TOTAL (100 points):
Outstanding Above Average Average Below Average Inadequate
25 point scale: (25-23 pts) (22-20 pts.) (19-18) (17-15) (14-0)
15 point scale: (14-15 pts) (12-13 pts.) (11) (9-10) (8-0)
10 point scale: (9-10 pts) (8) (7.5) (6) (5-0)
Partial Rough Draft is due by class time Nov. 25. It should be turned in via Blackboard and should be available for review in class. Peer review is required. Please see Partial Rough Draft Assignment for Description/Directions for Partial Rough Draft. Failure to complete the Partial Rough Draft and peer review will result in a deduction of 5 points on the Final Draft and failure to fully follow directions will result in a deduction of 1-5 points on the Final Draft.
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