It may be helpful first to submit a journal entry with a short discussion of your potential topic, or a “brainstorming” list of ideas and details that could be used in a paper on a topic you are exploring. Or use the worksheet given below to get feedback on your topic before writing the paper. Reread the literary work, or relevant portions of it if it is long, and make notes on all details relating to your topic that you might add to your paper.
You will e expected to provide more supporting details for each point of analysis than are required in informal journal entries. Develop a Thesis You may have developed a good central point of analysis in your pre-writing activities that will provide a thesis, or you may have to develop a new one appropriate for your revised focus. If you start with a journal entry that was based primarily on facts about plot or on personal reactions, it will be essential to develop an interpretive thesis-?a precise statement about the topic.
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If you change your mind later about the opinion or point of interpretation stated in your thesis (since we often discover new insights as we write), reword it and revise the rest Of the essay accordingly. Sample Thesis Statements about the short story “A Worn Path” by Eduardo Welt: On character: In “A Worn Path,” Phoenix Jackson is a frail old woman with physical and mental weaknesses, but she appears as a strong heroic character by the end of the story. She uses common sense, wit, and courage to overcome the obstacles she encounters.
On plot: In “A Worn Path,” Phoenix Jackson’s walk through the fields and woods becomes a heroic quest s she overcomes a series of obstacles bravely, determined to reach her goal and obtain medicine for her sick grandson. On theme: Like many folktales, “A Worn Path” shows that a poor, physically weak country woman can become a hero if she uses courage and wit to achieve her goals. On symbolism: Phoenix Jackson encounters a series of physical, psychological and social obstacles that represent the hero’s struggles against death, fear, and prejudice in her quest to achieve her goal.
Comparing folktale and modern short story: “A Worn Path” by Eduardo Welt follows the structure of the lockable “Little Red Riding Hood,” with some of the details reversed. Phoenix Jackson is an Old woman traveling to the woods to help her grandson; unlike Little Red Riding Hood, Phoenix triumphs over the human and animal obstacles she encounters. Use an Outline Notes made while rereading will produce more material than you can use in a short paper. (If they don’t, you are not reading carefully or you have not chosen an appropriate topic for that work. To restructure an informal journal entry or rough outline into a more coherent and unified paper, construct an outline in which you select details room your original notes, and arrange them in groups according to subtopics or major points that will make up the body of the paper. Decide on a logical and effective pattern of organization to use in the paper to move the reader from the statement of your thesis to a demonstration of its validity. Write the First Draft of the New Paper In the first draft, do not be concerned about grammar, punctuation, spelling, and style.
It is more important at this stage to get your thoughts written out. If you have trouble with beginnings, skip the introduction and begin writing at a point where you feel confident about what you want to say on a reticular subtopic. In the end, the essay should have the following parts. Title: The title should indicate your topic in a clear and precise way, not just repeat the title of the literature. Avoid titles that are too long, too general, or vague (e. G. , “What Is It with Hack Finn? ” or “Hack Finn” are too vague). Don’t use just the title of the literature as the title of your paper.
Introduction: The introduction should contain a precise statement of the subject (do not rely on the reader’s familiarity with the title) and should move from a general discussion of the subject to an indication Of your limited focus ND the specific thesis. Stress the significance of the topic in relation to the work as a whole. You may begin with general background on the subject, but don’t be too general or vague or obvious (as in, “Irony is an important technique used by writers of literature,” or “James Joyce was a great modern writer. “).
Avoid empty sentences such as, “In this essay I intend to discuss the differences and similarities in two poems. ” The reader knows this is your essay and these are your ideas; repeated references to your own process of thinking and writing are awkward and unnecessary, so instead state your precise ideas directly ND support them well. Make the scope of the essay clear in the beginning. It is a good idea to give a listing Of subtopics to be discussed in the body of the paper (e. G. , what are those similarities and differences? ) or at least give some indication of the direction the discussion will take.
Body: Every detail in the body of the essay should develop and support the thesis. Treat every paragraph as a unified, coherent mini-essay with a topic sentence and details that support that subtopic. Interpret, don’t summarize the work of literature. Avoid digressions and irrelevant references to personal experiences or levels. Avoid cliches and unsupportable generalizations. Use quotations sparingly to support your discussion. Conclusion: Don’t end the paper abruptly, on a specific subtopic, but don’t add a lengthy summary to a short paper, either.
A concluding paragraph should tie together the specific points found in the body of the paper, and give it a sense of completeness and significance. Return to a general level of discussion and to the main idea of your thesis (perhaps by giving it a new twist or different wording), but do not make unsupportable generalizations that go far beyond the scope of your paper (e. G. “Welt struggled against racial prejudice. Revise and Polish the First Draft After you have written the first draft, go back to it and correct faulty grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Improve the style by making sentences clearer and smoother.
Look carefully for inconsistent shifts in verb tense (a common error in essays describing literary characters and plots). You may cut or expand or rearrange passages of the essay to make it more effective. See below for instructions on format. Remember that professional writers may revise their work dozens or even hundreds of times; you should do so as many times as deadlines and your abilities allow. (Of course, this means you must start early so that you can set the essay aside between revisions. ) After the essay is typed (whether by you or someone else) make a final check for mechanical errors.
Typos will count as errors and a careless typing or proofreading job can ruin a paper with good content. Revisions of Graded Papers If you allow enough time between papers, you may revise and resubmit a paper after it has been graded. Revisions must contain substantial improvements in content, besides any necessary mechanical corrections, in order to receive a new grade. The revision will be graded separately (no limit on how much the grade could improve); then the original grade and revision grade will be averaged together when final grades are calculated.
Don’t forget to turn in the original with the revised paper. WORKSHEET FOR LITERATURE PAPERS Use this on your own or turn in a worksheet using the following headings to have a paper topic approved or to get help with your thesis or outline. Limited topic: Tentative title: iterate work(s) to be covered: Thesis statement: Outline of major points that support thesis-?include specific examples from the text(s): FORMAT AND MECHANICS FOR ENGLISH PAPERS 1. Paper Papers should be typed on white paper of a standard weight and size.
Avoid very thin paper and erasable paper. (White-out or correction tape works better for corrections than erasable paper. ) 2. Title No title page is required. Type your title (not just the title of the literature you are analyzing) two inches from the top of the first page with the first word and all other important words capitalized. 3. Typing the Page a. Leave uniform margins of at least one inch on all sides of each page. B. Double-space the text of the paper (except for long quotations). . Indent the beginning of each paragraph one inch or 4-5 spaces.
If it is necessary to change paragraph breaks after the page is typed, use the symbol ‘l or “no ‘l ” to indicate that a new paragraph should or should not begin at that spot. D. Observe all standard typing rules. For example: Space twice after the end of a sentence. Be sure to space after every word and after (not before) every punctuation mark. Put periods and commas inside quotation marks. Underline book titles and anything else that would be in italics on a printed page. Use quotation marks around the titles of short stories, poems, and says (not published by themselves).
Divide words correctly at the end of a line, when necessary (never on the last line of a page). Check the dictionary for proper spelling and division of words. If it is necessary to make corrections in spacing, place a slash (O between words that should be separate. Draw a small semi-circle below the line to join two items where there should not be a space. E. Number pages with Arabic numerals beginning on the second page. Do not place a number at the top of a page if there is a title there (I. E. , at the top of the first page). 4. Proofreading and Corrections Check the paper carefully for mechanical errors after it has been typed.
If you have trouble with mechanics, proofread as many times as you feel are necessary to look for specific types of errors you tend to make. (For example, read through once just for spelling or just for sentence fragments or comma splices. ) Spelling and grammar checkers on word processors are useful, but you must still read through the printed copy carefully for various types of errors that word processors may not identify for you. Use the correct mechanical marks on titles (underline titles of full-length works published or reduced alone; use quotation marks on titles of articles and short works).
See the list of marking symbols below to review common problems with proofreading and editing. Remember that a neat and professional appearance is important on any paper, and appearance creates a crucial first impression of your work in the reader’s mind. Sloppy pages with many errors should be corrected and reprinted. If if is necessary to make last-minute corrections, do so neatly in ink. Use a carat (A) to indicate insertions. 5. Submitting the Paper Be sure your name is on the paper. Attach the pages with a staple or paper lip in the upper left corner.
Do not use special plastic binders. QUOTATIONS AND DOCUMENTATION IN LITERATURE PAPERS I. Identifying Sources The source of every quotation used in your paper must be identified so your reader could find that quotation easily, but formal footnotes are not required. As long as your paper discusses only works of literature from the textbooks or handouts used by the whole class, there is no need to give complete citations for documentation. It is still necessary, however, to indicate the source and page numbers for each quotation you use in your paper. SE the allowing convenient method in your papers for Dry. Hansom’s literature classes. A. If you quote from one work of literature, use the following method: 1 . Give the source in parentheses after the first quotation. Obviously, if you mention the author’s name or title in your discussion, it is not necessary to repeat it in the parenthetical reference. Example: Melville sums up the situation on the slave ship in an emblem on the San Dominick, a carving of “a dark satyr in a mask” (Bonito Screen, in The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Volvo. , 2158). 2. After each subsequent quotation, give only the page number in parentheses. Example (later quotation from Bonito Screen): Delano suspicions surface when, for example, as he watches Babe shave Screen “in the black he saw a headman, and in the white a man at the block” (2184). B. If you quote from more than one work of literature in a paper, give the source in parentheses after the first quotation from each work (as in A 1. Above). Thereafter, give a shortened form of the title, or an abbreviation of the title, and the page number, in parentheses.
Examples from Scarlet Letter and Daisy Miller: Hawthorne informs us that pearl “became the richest heiress of her day, in the New World” (SSL 259). Someone has remarked that she grew up to be the heroine of a novel by Henry James, someone like, say, Daisy Miller; Wintergreen’s observation that Daisy’s “glance was perfectly direct and unshrinking but not an immodest glance” could have been written about Pearl (DMS, 7). C. If your primary source is a literary work published separately, rather than a required course anthology, be sure to indicate, after the first quotation, what edition you are using.
Example: Hester fears “that poor little Pearl was a demon offspring,” as the neighbors had whispered (The Scarlet Letter and Other Tales of the Puritans, Riverside Edition, 97). NOTE: Page references do not have to come immediately after every quoted phrase, or after every sentence in a paragraph with several short quotations from the same place. It may be less awkward to save the page reference until the end of your sentence, or sometimes the end of a paragraph, as long as it is clear where each quotation comes from.
If you are quoting from a short poem, give line numbers rather than page numbers in parentheses (e. G. , l. Use of secondary sources (reference books, critical books and articles, etc. ) is not required in the first paper. Doing your own analysis of the literature is most important in that assignment. However, if you have obtained any idea or information from another source besides your own head and the primary work(s) of literature, you must indicate the source of that fact, idea, or quotation, whether or not you are quoting the source directly.
It is your responsibility to know how to document secondary sources accurately, using an accepted documentation system for academic papers (preferably the ML documentation style), and avoid plagiarism. II. Guidelines for using Quotations A. Use Quotations Sparingly. When you quote, keep each quotation short and select only phrases or sentences that support your analysis through their especially distinctive wording. There is no reason to quote the full text of an incident or a long speech when you can paraphrase it or just mention it.
Too many quotations can make reading awkward and confusing; they will distract the readers, rather than impressing them. B. Quote Accurately. If you are quoting indirectly (I. E. , the author’s exact words are not used), quotation marks are not necessary, but you must be sure to convey the author’s ideas accurately, without distortion. If you use a phrase, sentence, or more in the author’s own words, copy the quotation accurately, word for word, with punctuation and quotations marks placed properly. Consult a handbook, if necessary, for conventions involving placement of punctuation in relation to quotation marks, use Of ellipsis dots . ) to indicate words omitted in direct quotations, and use of square brackets [ ] to insert something in your own words into a direct quotation. Quotations more than several lines long (which should be used rarely in short papers) must be indented and single-spaced, with no quotation marks. C. Introduce Quotations Smoothly. In short papers, try to keep each direct quotation to a phrase you can include in a sentence of your own. A quotation of any length must be introduced smoothly; don’t just plunk it down in the middle of your discussion.
You usually need to introduce it with a transitional phrase guiding the reader from your thoughts to those of your source. Repeat the title or author’s name only when necessary to make the introduction clear and smooth. Example: As Melville indicates in “Bartlett the Scrivener,” “Nothing so aggravates an earnest person as a passive resistance” (358). II. Quoting from Poetry and Plays A. Quoting Verse: When quoting poetry in the context of your own sentences, use a slash mark to indicate the end of a line and retain the capital letters found at the beginnings of lines in the original.
When you indent long quotations of more than three lines, slash marks are not necessary. Example: Hamlet muses, “To die: to sleep;/No more: and by a sleep to say we end/The heartache” (Ill. I, II. 60-62). B. Identifying nines from Poetry and Plays: 1. If your paper quotes only one or two relatively short poems, give the source and page numbers of each poem in parentheses after the first taxation, but identify later quotations by giving line numbers. (l = line; II = lines) Example: In “Tinder Abbey” Wordsmith describes his “serene and blessed mood” (l. 1 2. When quoting from plays, it is customary to identify act, scene, and line numbers when the play has them, or just use page numbers and line numbers if you are quoting from a play or long poem in a course anthology. Examples: (Act IV. Ii, II. 17-18) OR (P. 1028, II. 17-18) IV. Avoiding Plagiarism The Ferrule College Honor Code applies to all work submitted for credit in this course. Plagiarism or any other form of cheating on papers, reports, emperor, or tests will result in severe penalties, which may include failure of the course.
You are responsible for reading and understanding the Ferrule College Honor Policy and the explanation of plagiarism in The Little, Brown Handbook, and for avoiding the undocumented use of the words or ideas of others in your writing. If the professor has any questions about possible sources, inaccurate quoting, or inadequate documentation in a paper that has been submitted, the paper will not be graded until the questions are answered and/or the quoting or documentation has been corrected.
A professor, tutor, or other reliable reader may help you with brainstorming, outlining suggesting revisions, learning to recognize proofreading errors, or typing a paper. It is unethical to get someone else to edit (I. E. , correct errors) or write all or part of a paper, and to copy homework exercises from someone else. If you have any questions about documentation or help received, talk to the professor before an assignment is submitted. Obviously, it is to your advantage to ask questions early if you have doubts and to learn as much as you can by doing your own work.