Nalysis of Oscar Wildes The Picture of Dorian Gray or The Importance of Being Earnest

English 2323
Research Paper and Annotated Bibliography Assignment
Spring 2011


In a 900-1500 word typed, double-spaced essay, students will demonstrate appropriate analysis and understanding of at least one work and major figure in British literature since 1785. The Research Paper should include original analysis of the primary text(s) (the work or works being discussed) as well as the incorporation of appropriate scholarly research and secondary sources to support original analysis. Students should focus their research and analysis on one of the following prompts:

1. Choose an author and work or works by that author from the period of British literature studied this semester and compose an interpretive essay which identifies the meaning of the work(s). Support your interpretation with clear and thoughtful analysis of the primary source (the work(s)) as well as secondary (research) material. You may wish to include analysis of authoras biography, appropriate criticism, philosophical ideas, religious perspectives, gender issues, major themes of the movements weave studied, etc. However you focus your analysis and research, be sure that all of the information in your essay clearly supports your interpretation of the primary sourceas meaning.

2. Obviously, it would be impossible to read every important work of British literature from 200+ years in a mere 16 weeks. When selecting reading assignments for a course like this, professors must make strange and often difficult decisionsa why read W.B. Yeats and not T.S. Eliot, for example? (I chose Yeats because he was born in Ireland, Eliot in Missouri, yet both are major twentieth century poets who are considered a?Britisha?) When making such decisions, there will always be a degree of subjective bias, and I have chosen primarily the works and authors in which I am most interested for us to study together as a class this semester. However, that has left quite a few British literary stones unturned.

Choose an author and work(s) by that author that appears in The Longman Anthology but is not included in our semester reading. Begin by reading the primary work(s). Furthermore, research the author and the work. In an essay, demonstrate your knowledge of the author and understanding of the work(s) by making the case that they should be included in our course study. You may wish to discuss the importance of the author and work(s) historically, philosophically, etc.; how the author and work(s) fit or subvert the dominant ideas or modes of the literary movements we have studied; the overall quality of the work(s) as literature and arta should we have studied it because itas just really good? How so?; or any number of other reasons for including your selection in the courseas reading. However you focus your argument, be sure that all of the analysis and research that you do clearly supports your central thesisa that we should study the author and work(s) that you have chosen.

Secondary Sources

Each Research Paper must include a minimum of 3 secondary sources in addition to the primary source(s) analyzed in the paper.

Format and Documentation

The Research Paper should be designed (margins, font size, heading, page numbers, etc.) according to the MLA rules for document design. These can be found on pages 71-2 of Rules for Writers or pages 122-23 of The Bedford Handbook. Points will be deducted for incorrect design and formatting.

All sources (primary and secondary) must be documented according to MLA Format. This includes both in-text citations and a correct Works Cited page that lists all sources cited within the paper. MLA Format is time consuming and tricky, so be thorough and careful with your citations. Rules for MLA Format can be found on pages 426-66 with a sample paper on pages 467-75 of Rules for Writers or on pages 610-66 of The Bedford Handbook. Incorrect citation will result in point deduction and could be evidence of plagiarism which will be dealt with according to the policies outlined in the Instructoras Class Requirements.


Each student must submit an electronic copy of the paper to the Assignments folder on Campus Cruiser and a a?harda? paper copy to the instructor in class on the due date. Late assignments will not be accepted. Failure to submit both copies of the paper will result in automatic failure (a grade of 0) of the assignment. If, for some reason (an emergency, etc.) a student cannot attend class on the date that the paper is due, he or she is must submit the electronic copy by the end of class time on the due date in order to receive credit for submitting the paper. The student is then responsible for making sure that a hard copy is submitted as soon as possiblea either to my box (#58 in the Adjunct Office-ESEE 2302A) or to my hands (located on my person). Electronic submissions must be Rich Text Format (.rtf) or Word (.doc, or .docx) documents.




Prior to submitting the Research Paper, students will turn in an Annotated Bibliography demonstrating appropriate research and documentation on the chosen topic. The Annotated Bibliography should contain a minimum of 8 secondary sources (not including the primary source(s) being analyzed in the Research Paper). These sources can include books, critical articles, internet sources, etc., but they must be credible and scholarly sources (no Wikipedia, Sparknotes, etc.) and they must be clearly related to the Research Paper that the student will be submitting.

Source Documentation and Format

The Annotated Bibliography should be designed according to MLA Format. Sources should be correctly documented according to the rules for Works Cited entries found on pages 435-62 of Rules for Writers or pages 621-53 of The Bedford Handbook.


Each source documentation should be followed by a brief (2-5 sentences) summary of the source as well as an evaluation of the sourceas relevance to the chosen research topic. Be thorough and clear in your summary and do not plagiarize the source by simply restating its thesis. Remember to summarize in your own words and capture the essence of the entire source.


Each student must submit an electronic copy of the Annotated Bibliography to the Assignments folder on Campus Cruiser. Electronic submissions must be Rich Text Format (.rtf) or Word (.doc, or .docx) documents.