Amatory Fiction Final Project   [PDF]

Final Project

This project encourages you to more thoroughly explore an issue, idea, or author that intrigues you.  It will help you to incorporate close reading, critical arguments, and perhaps historical documents, into your own argument.  The lead up assignments (prospectus, annotated bibliography), paper, and presentation are worth 20% of your final grade.

Assignment:  In a ten-page paper, analyze an issue in any of the works we have read. Incorporate scholarly articles and arguments into your paper.  You can analyze structure, character, theme, compare two works, use critical theory to read a text etc. (You may choose to write on a work we did not read in class, but you need to approve this with me before you write your prospectus.) 

Some requirements:

  • Your paper must be analytical; it should not be a research report, but a critical argument.
  • You should make a conference with me prior to Week 7.
  • You must turn in a one-page prospectus (paper plan) by Week 7.
  • You must turn in an annotated bibliography by Week 11.
  • You must incorporate about five scholarly articles into your paper.
  • You will present on your topic, between 5-10 minutes.

Strong papers will (as always):

  • Be well planned and well organized.  Be about 10 pages long.
  • Have a controlling idea (a clear thesis statement), be coherent (what you write should make sense), and be cohesive (your ideas should “stick” together logically).
  • Use the space to analyze the text in terms of the assignment—avoid plot summary or only reporting what others have said or only comparing two works.  Analyze!
  • Use specific examples from the text to support your point and critically analyze them.
  • Have well-developed paragraphs and sentences.
  • Be properly formatted according to MLA standards, including a works cited, (refer to A Pocket Style Manual pages 148-154 for proper formatting).  Staple your paper together.
  • Be proofread and mechanically correct (no typos, no misspelled words, use correct grammar, punctuate properly etc.)
  • Be enjoyable to read.  This is best accomplished by exploring an idea that interests you.

Helpful hints:

  • Think of this paper as an extended analytical response paper; begin thinking and writing in the same way.  You may build on an issue that you have already addressed in an earlier paper or response.
  • You may wish to compare an issue in two or three works.
  • Come and talk to me before you begin your research; I can point you in the right direction to get you started.
  • Begin working as soon as you have your idea: plan about an hour or two of research, planning and writing per page.
  • Bring drafts to my office hours or to the Writer’s Workshop for comments and help.

A strong prospectus will:

  • Have a clear explanation of your thesis or central argument to date.
  • Define the paper’s purpose.
  • Sketch out a plan of organization and method for your research.
  • Include 2-3 main critical articles/authors/monographs that you plan to use.
  • Be about one double-spaced page long.  If it is shorter, you probably haven’t developed your ideas enough.  If it is longer, your topic probably isn’t specific enough.
  • Be MLA formatted

Each annotated bibliography entry will include:

  1. Citation: The complete (and correct) MLA citation for the source (as it would look if it were on the works cited).
  2. Summary:  A precise summary of the main points of the source.  Three to five sentences should suffice. (For help with summary, see me).
  3. Commentary:  2-3 sentences evaluating the source.  Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of its argument.  A specific explanation about how this source relates to your argument and how you might use it.

Strong Annotated Bibliographies will:

  • Contain the five main articles in terms of your argument (so not only must they be useful to your topic, but they must be the articles that are important to your topic—we’ll talk about what that means).
  • Contain correct MLA works cited entries—see Rules for Writers for details.
  • Contain a precise, original summary.
  • Genuinely evaluate/consider the article for use in your paper.
  • Be well written; that is, it will use the techniques we have learned in class, be mechanically and grammatically correct, be written in a serious academic tone, and so forth.

Feel free to ask me for models/examples of annotated bibliographies or prospectuses.