Rankenstein by Mary Shelley and how the writing is effected by being written by a woman
The Response Paper with Research
Most of you have written research papers before in other classes. These days, nearly all teachers assign them. i.e. Physical Education, Mathemathics, Georgraphy. The intent is for students to improve their writing level and critical thinking skills through the use of research, analysis, evaluation and original thinking.
I suspect that papers may be more difficult in some courses than others. I cant imagine myself undertaking such a task in Chemistry or Physics classes. However, the reason we need to develop our research and writing skills is to have a balance in our lives and knowledge and to be able to illustrate this balance of knowledge to communicate with others.
The paper for this course will be a pleasure for many of you. For some, it may be a burden at first, but the usual outcome of research and writing is the growth of the writers interest in his or her personally selected topic.
1. The first thing you have to do is to select an author, short story or novel FROM OUR READING LIST ONLY that you have a desire to know more about. It may be necessary to wait until you have done a lot more reading before you can make this selection. Paper 1 should ONLY be based on a writer from the first half of the class.
2. The next thing you need to do is to select an approach or thesis. Since many of you may have already taken a Womens lit course, you may want to work with one of the readings that you are familiar with. Think about a womans place in society in the context of your choice. Those of you who are interested in the psychological motivations of women may be interested in the female authors who exhibit strong personal interests and drives that affect their writing subject. Choose approaches and authors that interest you.
3. Next, do research. Go to the library or explore the library site online at BCC by click on it from our home page. Try other literary research sites as well. Dont restrict yourselves to dictionaries and encyclopedias which are very basic resources. Do not use Wikipedia as a source.
Make sure to download material for later use once your exploration is over. You have to be careful to avoid any form of plagiarism. All sources have to be noted using MLA format.
4. You need to develop a thesis for this paper that will show unity (not just a Bunchof sources), coherence (a logical development of an idea), and relevance. Since this is a literature class, you have to be careful to not let the paper drift into your major completely.
5. Write a paper for THIS literature class. You should refer to the primary source (the writing). Consider characterization, setting, theme, writing style, symbols, plot development, realism (life as we know it), naturalism, or romanticism in terms of what critics have had to say about the topic, author and/or source. Be careful to not just write about the authors life UNLESS it fits into your thesis idea and has a purpose.
The point is to show that you have thoroughly read the selected work, worked closely with the relevant research, and can interpret, analyze and organize an intelligent written response. Your grade will be based primarily on how thoroughly you have done this.
6. State clearly in your first paragraph what the paper is about, stick to the topic and dont wander off in several directions.
Avoid excessively personal responses. The paper should be scholarly, not a personal revelation. Show your analytic skills.
7. In discussion, you can treat a work with criticism or thinly veiled contempt. But in a formal paper, you have to accept that a work was selected by the teacher because of its literary merits as seen by many scholars and critics and is believed to be important. Try to find out why. Treat the material with respect in an informed manner even if you have a personal distaste for it.
Several sites can help you with writing problems such as:
Sylvan Barnets A SHORT GUIDE TO WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE is helpful if you arent familiar with writing papers for literature classes.
You must double space papers, even quotations. Your paper should be 4-6 pages with 2-3 sources. Use 12-point type, number pages, proofread for errors. When writing passages of plot summary, be brief and use the PRESENT tense even if the story is told in the past tense. Dont just drop in critical quotations but introduce them and the critic. For example: As John Jones notes in his text, Blarney, life is uncertain but death is certain. You MUST end with a Works Cited page using MLA format (If you unclear on format, refer to the library page, scroll down and look on the left for Sample MLA style and papers).