Com 2 Literary Research Paper Assignment

Thesis statement and annotated bibliography due __________.

Complete draft due ______________.
Final paper due _______________.
Worth 23% of your final grade.

The paper shall be 6 pages within a half page (5 ½- 6 ½ pages) not counting the works cited page.

Any plagiarism will result in a failing grade on the paper and for the class. If a source informs your reading of the text, cite it. This

includes sources beyond books and articles, like people you discussed it with, or notes from a class. If you have any questions about the

responsible use of sources, please see me and clear those up before submitting the paper.

You must have five scholarly, secondary sources and two primary sources. You are most likely to find scholarly sources quickly through the

library databases. If I determine any of your sources is not scholarly, it may not count toward your required five. For the primary sources

use the same version as we did for class. In most cases that will be our anthology.

The paper will fully comply with all MLA document and documentation guidelines. See A Writer’s Reference.

This paper will be an extended literary analysis of Much Ado about Nothing and one other work(The Exchange)read for class. You will need to

find some relationship between them. This relationship may be based on an element of literature (both authors use biblical allusion, for

example), a reading from a particular perspective (a feminist reading of two works, for example) or based on a shared historical, social, or

political context (two pieces that both come out of a time of war, for example).
The thesis should be narrow, specific, and argumentative. Back it up with appropriately forceful language. Eliminate vague, wordy, and/or

passive language from your paper.
Remember that a negative thesis is much harder to prove than a positive one. It is harder to prove, and perhaps pointless to argue, that “Kubla

Khan” is NOT based on Paradise Lost than that it is.
The paper will be organized around a thesis that makes an original, insightful interpretation of the literary works. See the class handout on

thesis statements.
Secondary sources are to be used only to support your thesis. You are better off not reading literary criticism until you have formed your own

ideas on the works. Begin the research by (re)reading the works that interest you, taking notes, and formulating a hypothesis before you start

looking for sources.
Students tend to erroneously focus on the length of the paper rather than the content. You are better off narrowing your focus and analyzing

closely and deeply than taking a broad view and skimming the surface. Yes, that approach requires more of you than simply collecting and

reprinting published information, but the rewards are greater. I am looking for essays that closely examine the elements of the literature,

down to the level of individual words and sounds. This is not a research report, critique, or opinion piece; this is an academic argument

All papers get better with guided revision. You can earn up to five extra points on the paper by documenting a consultation in The Writing


Helpful Resources:
OWL Purdue: Writing about Literature
Norton LitWeb “Writing About Literature: The Research Essay
UNC Chapel Hill Writing Center has separate handouts for writing about fiction, poetry, and drama