Dr. Antiwan Walker
Literary Analysis Research Paper
The purpose of this assignment is to write a Literary Analysis essay that clearly illustrates an investigation into and interpretation of one or more literary works discussed in class. For example, you may wish to show the importance of symbols in Zora Neale Hurston’s “Sweat”; you may wish to detail the significance of domestic abuse in Alice Walker’s The Color Purple; or you may want to address the role of patriarchy in a number of the works we have examined. Remember, these are only options. Also keep in mind that you will need a purpose. Why should your reader care that you are writing about symbols in Walker’s novel? What would he or she take away from your essay by the time he or she finishes with it?
What is your critical goal? To refute other writers’ interpretations, revise/rethink their analyses and reveal some aspect that they may have overlooked, or simply to discuss a particular literary element you see pertinent to the overall understanding of a text? In short, make sure you choose an ANGLE. (I will go over these angles in class.) In addition, consider your audience. Who are you addressing? Your instructor? Your peers? Oprah Winfrey? Toni Morrison?
Here are the expectations: Firstly, I am looking for a five to seven (5-7) page paper. (I will deduct a letter grade for each page you are short of the requirement.) Secondly, the essay should include an introduction (that begins generally and then narrows to a strong, clear thesis statement with a purpose); fully-developed paragraphs that delineate (spell out) your points (remember, paragraphs usually go like this: topic sentence, summary or explanation of the situation, example(s), and analysis); and a solid conclusion that restates/rephrases your thesis statement, summarizes your major points, and ends with an objective reflection. Thirdly, you must have at least four (4) outside sources (other than your primary source) and only two sources can be an internet source; none can be from Wikipedia!
I expect your paper headings to look like this: (In the upper left-hand side on the first page) your name, the name of the class, the instructor’s name, and the date. Beginning on page two, in the upper right-hand side, your subsequent pages should include your last name and the page number: “Jackson 2” or “Colleton 3.” PLEASE, NO TITLE PAGES!! Also, do not use any first-person accounts like “I, me, my, we, us, our,” etc., unless you are quoting. Do not use “you” or “your” unless you are quoting, and avoid pronoun-antecedent errors like “If anyone comes to the door, then they will just have to knock.” In addition, do not contract: write “cannot” instead of “can’t” wherever possible. Finally, there should be no unnecessary spaces, especially between your paragraphs, and I am looking for a flawless Works Cited page. I will deduct two (2) points for every infraction I see listed above. Good Luck!
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