Required text: Approaching Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing, 3rd ed. (ISBN: 0312640994)

Essay 2: Literary Research PaperAre You a Procrastinator? Here’s the TestFor the most part, readers react to literature quickly based on what entertains them or what bores them. They neglect to delve deeply and look at the work from many perspectives. The critical strategies (explained in a previous lesson on literary theory) help readers to expand their ideas and approach literary works from various angles. This also helps to keep writers focused on critical thought and away from simple plot summary.The Assignment:Choose an author from the list given below (you will have a sign-up sheet–one student per author) and write an analysis of one or two pieces of their work from the perspective of one of the critical strategies of literary theory. You must choose a work from our textbook (not a book you read in high school two years ago). The research paper must follow MLA format and include in-text citations and a works cited page. It needs to be typed, double-spaced, and 6-8 pages in length (the minimum of 6 pages is not counting the works cited page). You should have several outside sources (3-4), two of which need to be from EBSCO-host. You may not write on an author you have already written an essay on this semester (or recycle a paper from another class). Choose someone new. This assignment will be worth 200 pts. and due at the end of the semester.Points to Remember:You are not writing the author’s biography. You are focusing on their work. However, if you want to demonstrate how aspects of their lives effect their work, you may. Just be sure your focus is analysis, not biography.Use brief examples (quotes) from the text to support your ideas.I want to read your words more than other people’s words from secondary sources. This means that you may quote briefly from outside sources, but use summary/paraphrase when appropriate as well.Literary analysis is called criticism, and to find it on EBSCO Discovery, you need to access the AVC Library:Id and password: avcebsco and library2016Click “Find Articles and More”Click “EBSCO Discovery” tabClick “Search EBSCO Discovery”Click “Literary Reference Center”A library hint: if you do a general search of the library database (not EBSCO-Discovery), look the author up under “subject,” not “author,” when looking for criticism. Under “author” you will only get what he/she wrote. Under “subject” you will get what others have written about the author.Author List:Ralph Ellison


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Grading Rubric
Your successful college-level essay goes through many stages before it reaches your instructor. You
must first carefully read and understand the assignment prompt, asking the instructor for any needed
clarification. You must then generate ideas (for example through brainstorming), evaluate these, and
decide on a focus that will be the basis of your thesis. When choosing a thesis, you should consider the
audience for your essay—which includes you, your instructor, and the larger academic culture of a
college environment—and realize that clichés or commonplace knowledge have little or no argumentative
value. You should choose and develop your thesis with care and through critical thinking; in other words,
by analyzing ideas (or breaking apart and freshly explaining them), making connections,
recontextualizing, and offering new perspectives on given topics. You must also structure, proofread, and
format your essay in a way that acknowledges critically-thinking academic readers. Your instructor will
evaluate your essay based on the following categories:
From its title on, the essay reveals a willingness to engage readers in an academic environment, one
by open intellectual play, pursuit, and inquiry. Successful college writers adopt a tone in which they do
not lecture or sermonize to readers. They do not offer unexamined opinions, personal reviews, or
emotional reactions.
Instead, critical thinking animates their writing.
The essay has a clear point to it, a claim about the topic that challenges readers to think and to
understand more than they already know about the topic.
The essay responds not only in focus, but also in length and scope, to the assignment. Paragraphs
continue long enough to make ideas clear, interesting, and convincing. The writer not only provides clear
support for the essay’s main point, but also breaks that support into different parts and approaches, in
order to constantly engage and persuade readers. A successful college writer uses specific terms, fresh
details, and concrete examples. Diction—or word choice—is also developed.
An essay that is well-organized demonstrates the writer’s attention to structure: it flows easily and
logically from one sentence to the next, from paragraph to paragraph, and from start to finish. The writer
uses transitions and sets up quotations with signal phrases, always relating parts to the thesis by direct
statement or clear implication. While an essay may go through formal planning or outlining stages, its
organization should not be so simplistic or didactic that it ends up insulting readers.
The essay reveals the successful college writer’s ability to control phrasing, spelling, punctuation, and
sentence boundaries, as well as to edit and to proofread carefully, with outside readers in mind.
The rubric’s guidelines are most applicable to a typed essay that incorporates research. MLA format is
required for the quoting and citation of sources, as well as for document design.
In English 101, an A essay meets and even exceeds the reader’s expectations. The essay may first
command attention with its adept and original title, but it sustains this interest with its clarity, surprise, and
persuasive force.
Specifically, the A essay:
reveals a clear sense of voice and/or a mature understanding of its audience
engages the reader with its insightful, well-crafted thesis
develops that thesis in dynamic ways that both support and extend its relevance
unfolds subtly and successfully, its diverse elements organized to achieve a boldly persuasive effect
tends to exhibit expert rhetorical and grammatical control, providing a compelling, near-seamless
incorporates all cited sources expertly, as it explores and illuminates its well-chosen evidence
B work is noticeably above average, not only satisfying the assignment and connecting with its audience,
but doing so with an extra measure of expression or control. Perhaps more detailed in its claims or
extensive in its support, the B essay embodies a constant ambition for excellence.
Specifically, the B essay:
matches argument to audience from the first paragraph on
presents a relevant, effective, and purposeful thesis
develops that thesis through sustained and unified paragraphs that vary their examples and details
organizes content with a degree of dexterity and a sense of useful transitions
controls and also varies phrasing and sentence elements
incorporates all cited sources skillfully and effectively
C work clearly represents standard college-level writing as measured by audience awareness, thesis,
development, structure, grammatical control, and academic conventions. The C essay is substantial and
complete, able to satisfy the assignment and convincingly reach its audience.
Specifically, the C essay:
shows appropriate and respectful attention to audience
presents a relevant thesis which is reasonable and worth exploring or considering
develops its thesis in sustained and unified paragraphs
organizes paragraphs efficiently, including transitions
controls phrasing, punctuation, and sentence boundaries
incorporates all or most cited sources correctly, avoiding dropped quotations
D work is substandard for any of several reasons, including being off-topic, poorly reasoned, or
inadequately developed, often despite a student’s best effort. It might not connect with the reader
because sentence and format errors create too much static, or because its argument does not cohere.
Specifically, the D essay:
• lacks sufficient audience awareness
often has an inadequate, trivial, or off-topic thesis, derailing the content
many times cannot maintain developed, unified, contiguous paragraphs, even if its thesis has
may present ideas out of order or have no clear structure
often lacks grammatical control, distracting the reader
cites and/or quotes from sources incorrectly or unclearly
Significantly below college-level writing, an F essay fails for any of several compelling reasons: flawed
logic, paltry development, limited or missing audience awareness, or a lack of facility with standard written
In addition, plagiarized work always takes an F.
Specifically, the F essay:
aims for the wrong audience or no audience at all
presents many theses, no thesis, or a glaringly irrelevant one
has extremely weak development with little or no evidence or academic discussion
contains chaotic or indiscernibly constructed paragraphs, with no overall sense of direction
reveals constant, various, and/or severe grammatical errors
• uses sources haphazardly or not at all
MLA Documentation
MLA Handbook, 8th Edition
Why Do We Need MLA Formatting?
? MLA format dictates how the essay is formatted and sources cited.
? Any information that is not your own, including but not limited to
quotes (words), ideas, facts, statistics, graphs, charts, and examples,
need to have credit given to whomever deserves it. We do this by
using in-text citation and a works cited list.
? To avoid plagiarism, anything that is not your own needs to be cited
and punctuated correctly.
Basic Formatting of the Essay
In-Text Citation
? When using sources, you need to
cite each one in your essay (with
in-text citation) and on the works
cited page.
? In-text citation includes the
author’s name and a page
number, when available. Use title
if author is unknown.
? Avoid dropped quotes by
including signal phrases, and
always use quotation marks for
language that is not your own.
? Example 1: Reading is “just half of
literacy” (Baron 194).
? Example 2: According to Naomi
Baron, reading is “just half of
literacy” (194).
? Example 3: The MLA Handbook
states that “identifying the source
in your text is essential” (57).
? Example 4: Common knowledge is
the one exception to citation
(MLA Handbook).
Works Cited Page
? The second place you will cite
your sources is on the Works
Cited page.
? The citations on the Works
Cited page are only the works
you used in your paper.
? The Works Cited page is a page
by itself, at the end of the
? The citation format follows
what is now called
“containers,” which means you
include the information
available in the order
prescribed. Not every source
needs every aspect of the
? The list is alphabetized and
double spaced, and it uses
hanging indents.
Basic Book
Hawkins, Paula.
• Author
The Girl on the Train.
• Title of Source
Riverhead Books,
• Publisher
• Publication Date
Rosen, Meghan
“Misfires in the Gun Control Debate.”
•Title of Article
Science News
•Title of Container
Vol. 189,
Issue 10
May 14, 2016,
pp. 16-21.
•Title of 2nd Container
for an
found on
How Examples Would Look on a Works Cited Page
Works Cited
Hawkins, Paula. The Girl on the Train. Riverhead Books, 2015.
Rosen, Meghan. “Misfires in the Gun Control Debate.” Science News,
vol. 189, issue 10, May 14, 2016, pp. 16-21. EBSCO,
Punctuation Reminder
Last Reminders
? Generally speaking:
– Titles of books, magazines, newspapers, and
movies are in italics.
– Titles of articles, chapters, works in an
anthology, and short stories/poems are in
quotation marks.
– Exceptions: Scripture, laws, acts, and political
documents are capitalized like titles but not in
italics or enclosed in quotation marks.
This is just a quick
overview of MLA format.
Always check in the MLA
Handbook, 8th edition, for
more information.

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