Inding secondary sources/response to critical essays (research essay)

Based of the play Othello by Shakespeare

To help you get started on the research component of your third essay, Im asking you to find at least two good sources (i.e. a critical essay from the Literature Resource Center...) on your topic, and then write at least a paragraph in response to one of them. You should begin with the information that will go on your Works Cited page (in correct MLA format), and follow with one or more of the following: 1) a brief summary of the essays argument 2) selected quotation(s) from the essay with your own comments (you might agree and explain why you think the quotation is significant OR you might disagree with the critic and explain why) 3) your response to the essay as a whole Ideally, what you write for this assignment will help you draft your research paper, both because you will have had to review at least two possible sources, and because you will be thinking about how to include relevant quotations and ideas from them in your paper (with the proper citations!). I will post an example for you to see, since I realize that many of you may not have worked with literary criticism before... But I think if you do this assignment well, it really will help you as you draft the research essay... Thats why Im asking you to find at least TWO sources. This is a major step in drafting your research essay!


Sample Research Essay .Sample Essay (well, the first page, at least)

Shakespeareas Othello: Love Gone Bad (A)
Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul,
But I do love thee! And when I love thee not,
Chaos is come again! (3.3.98-100) (B) and (C)


Othello speaks these words in the middle of Shakespeareas play, after Iago has begun to write the fiction of Desdemonaas affair with Cassio. Anthony Barthelmy goes so far as to label Iago the a?internal playwrighta? (161) of the play(D); he is the one who casts Othello in the role of cuckold and Desdemona a the honest wife a in the role of adulteress. Although both reader and Othello become ensnared by Iagoas fiction, we must remember the role that Othello has written for himself: in the beginning of the play, he portrays his love for Desdemona as ennobling, inspiring, and empowering. Is Othelloas love for Desdemona ideal a or does he idealize her and their love? (E)
In her essay a?Allegory and Irony in Othello,a? Antoinette Dauber suggests that Othello sees Desdemona not as a woman, but rather as an allegorical representation of goodness. Once he has become convinced that she is not what he thought she was, his world falls apart. Dauber writes: (F)
Othello reads Desdemona as a figure of heavenly grace. . . Othello keeps nothing in reserve, his faith riding on Desdemona alone. Just as her virtue was taken as a sign of heavenas goodness, so her dishonesty must point to his falseness. The formulation is devastating, because it holds the universal moral order hostage to Desdemona. If she proves false, good will be proven evil, and the benevolent allegorical order that sustains the world will be devoured by irony. (131) (G)
Although Dauberas argument accurately describes the importance that Othello places in Desdemona, I believe that she overlooks the most positive aspect of Othelloas love for Desdemona: he credits her with bringing order to his world. Earlier in the play, when Othello and Desdemona are reunited after the storm at sea, he calls her a?my soulas joya? and says, a?If after every tempest come such calms,/May the winds blow till they have wakened death!a? (2.1.184-186). (H) Unfortunately, as Dauber notes, this same passion that can calm storms also holds the power to create storms a to blind the lover to reason. In Othello, Shakespeare dramatizes the difficulty of a?loving too wella? in this fallen world.
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Hereas what you need to be aware of!

(A): Center your title. Underline only the title of the play, not your own title!

(B): If you decide to use a quotation longer than two lines, you should indent the quote, but make sure that you type it EXACTLY as it appears in the book, with line breaks, capital letters, etc. Please notice that this quotation, which comes at the very beginning of the essay, does not have a signal sentence. At the very beginning of an essay is the ONLY time you can get away without including a signal sentence! This kind of quotation is known as an a?epigrama? a I like to begin with a quotation myself, because it gives me something concrete to discuss in my intro!

(C): When you quote from the play, include the act, scene, and line numbers in your parenthetical citation. In the example above, (3.3.98-100) tells me that the quotation is found in Act 3, scene 3, lines 98-100. Whatever you do, donat cite the page numbers when youare working with a play or poetry!

(D): Here is an example of a signal sentence. Iave named the author of my secondary source, Anthony Barthelmy, and Iave given the page number where the brief quotation is found. Thatas all thatas necessary! If you wanted to find out the name of the book, etc., you would flip to my Works Cited page, look under the authoras name, and find the complete bibliographic information. In the body of the paper, though, all you need the authoras name (or whatever you would need to find the source in the Works Cited page; if thereas no author for the source, you would probably use the title and alphabetize it that way) and the page number. Donat footnote! (Parenthetical citations are easier a which is why the MLA followed the APA and changed the rules about 12 years ago and got rid of footnotes, except when youare giving more information!)

(E): In case youare wondering, a question really canat substitute for a thesis statement. I wrote this sample essay several years ago, for a different kind of research assignment. Instead of writing another sample, Iam asking you to keep in mind that you should have an a?answera? to your question here; thatas what a thesis statement is!

(F): Here are two more examples of signal sentences, one where I summarize the gist of the sourceas argument, and another simple one (Dauber writes:) which sets up the quotation that follows. Donat forget to use signal sentences!

(G): This is a long quotation from my source; since itas longer than a few lines, Iave indented it. Notice that I havenat used quotation marks here. When you indent a quotation, itas understood that you are presenting a quotation (while quotations in the body of your paper always need quotation marks to make clear that they are a quotation). The parenthetical citation comes at the end, with the page number. Because Iave named the author in my signal sentence, I donat need to name the author in the citation. (If, instead of a?Dauber writes,a? I had written, a?One critic writes,a? I would need to name the author and the page number in my citation (Dauber 131).

(H): Here, Iave given you an example of a quotation from the play in the body of the essay. Since itas shorter than three lines, I havenat indented it. But do notice that I have used a slash (/) to denote the line break, and that I have given the Act.Scene.Lines in my citation.

You will find a short but useful section in our text to help you with your Works Cited page, which comes at the end of your essay. Besides giving you the format for entries on your Works Cited page, the book also contains examples of signal sentences to help you present material from your secondary sources. If you use an online database (The Literature Resource Center) or internet sources, youall be especially interested in pages 1483-84. Notice that if the source has been originally published in print, you need to include that information first in the appropriate format (whatever the original source was a book, journal article, whatever); then, you include the electronic information. If youare using a database, all you would need is the name of the database (The Literature Resource Center), and the address of the libraryas homepage. If youare using an internet source, get as much