Research Paper Assignment Details

It is VERY important that you adhere to the requirements listed below!

  • Your paper must focus on one specific author. You can choose the topic around that author but it should be limited to the works of one author. Your paper CAN NOT be a biography. This is a literary analysis paper only.
  • This author must be the writer of classical fiction. Pop fiction and non-fiction are not options for this paper.
  • Your paper must be in MLA format
  • You must have a minimum of five secondary sources (written by someone else about the author you chose) in addition to primary sources (literary works by the author). Any sources listed on your Works Cited page MUST be referenced somewhere in your paper. You may not list a source that you did not use.
  • You must have a title page, a Works Cited page, and the body of your paper must be at least 1500 words long.
  • Quoted material may not make up more than 1/5 of your paper.
  • You may not use a font larger than 14, you must use either Times New Roman, Courier, or Arial font.
  • You must use 1-inch margins

As you begin the process of choosing topics for your research paper, I want to clarify the issue of focus and research. First, the focus of your paper MUST be on the literature that author has produced. Look for common themes among works or the significance of that author’s works, etc. Do the research FIRST before you decide the focus, which brings me to my second important issue. You already know that you must have a minimum of five secondary sources (these are research documents written ABOUT the author, not by the author). But these five required sources must focus on the literature as well. Having two sources about the literature and three sources about the author’s life will not meet the requirement. If there is something significant about the author’s life that impacted the literature that is fine to include, but that should be a resource that is listed in addition to the five sources solely dedicated to literary analysis. Your sources MUST be quality, academic sources. You should NOT include references such as SparkNotes, CliffsNotes, or other sources designed to provide short cuts to the process. Also note that the 5th essay in this course is the actual annotated bibliography for his course, so you need to get started on this research paper ASAP. Please see the Annotated Bibliography instructions below this entry.

Again, I strongly, strongly recommend that you do your research first. Then you’ll know what is available in terms of research about the author you are choosing.

I thought it might be helpful for you to see some of the research paper topics from previous students to give you ideas as you begin deciding your own topics. Remember that your paper must focus on the literary works of one author. It cannot in any way, shape or form be a biography of that author!

1. Charles Dickens–how his views on politics and socialism are reflected in his writings

2. George Orwell’s views on totalitarianism as expressed in his writing

3. Nikki Giovanni–how her views on civil rights and equality are expressed in her writing

4. Maya Angelou- Her view on how powerful words could be though poetry

5. William Shakespeare — views of love and hate in his writings

6. Jane Austen and her support of rather than subversion of the conservative values of the society in which she lived and how that was expressed through her literature

7. Ernest Hemingway and how he perceives and expresses relationships in his writing

8. Ms. Sonia Sanchez on how her words through poetry differentiate between black people and white people, men and women, and cultures