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The research paper will be divided into three different sections.
The first section will be a summary overview of the novel. Focus on the themes and recurring motifs of the novel, as well as characters, setting conflict and themes. Avoid going into an in-depth rehash of the plot. This section should be two paragraphs.
The second section is the critical analysis proportion of the paper. This section should lead off with your thesis statement and must include quotes from the book, as well as, quotes from critical commentary which supports your thesis. THE MORE QUOTES INCLUDED FROM YOUR NOVEL AND LITERARY CRITICS, THE LESS YOU HAVE TO WRITE AND THE HIGHER YOUR GRADE WILL BE.
All quotes must follow the MLA format. This section should be three-typed pages. You may agree or disagree with a critic; however, you must explain why by using examples from the novel.
The third section of the paper should be two-typed pages. This section will include the influences, historical or personal, that have contributed to the writer’s work. What was going on in the world during the period in which the author wrote the novel? How did these events influence the author? What was going on in the author’s life?
a thesis Statement
50 Note Cards
5 Typed Pages
Works Cited section
A thesis statement is just a fancy term for the main idea of a piece of writing. Most academic or professional writing contains a thesis statement, often near the beginning. Your thesis should be at the beginning of the second part of the paper(critical analysis section) . Though you may not have a clear thesis when you begin to write, you should establish a tentative working thesis early on in your writing process. A working thesis focuses your thinking and research, and helps keep you on track. A working thesis should have two parts: a topic part, which states the topic, and a comment part, which makes an important point about the topic.
Topic, Literary Elements and Thesis
Juggling the novel’s elements, the topics and a working thesis can be daunting. If we used John Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men as an example, working with a topic, literary elements and thesis looks something like this…
Topic: Lenny and George in John Steinbeck’s Mice and Men,
Literary elements: characterization and setting are used to explore the hardships that so many Americans endured during the Depression.
A successful working thesis has three characteristics:
It is potentially interesting to the intended audience.
It is as specific as possible
It limits the topic enough to make it manageable.
General Topic, Subtopic Limited Topic
There are three different kinds of topics: The general topic, the subtopic, and the limited topic. A general topic is too broad. A subtopic is more specific, but in many cases, is still too broad. A limited topic is narrow enough for a high school research paper. Before you commit to any one topic, you should have at least two possible limited topics in mind. When you write a research paper on literature, your topic will be dictated by literary elements such as themes, characters, or plot. While writing about all of the elements of a novel would be a general topic, symbolism in The Scarlet Letter would be a limited topic. Remember, a thesis statement is clearly focused on the limited topic; it is not a verifiable fact or an opinion, but an arguable position that requires proof which you will provide throughout the body of your paper.
Surveying the Sources:
Once you have chosen at least two possible limited topics, you should begin your research by surveying the sources. Surveying the sources means going to the library and locating information on your possible topics. Look up your topics in a variety of sources to see what is available. Doing so will determine if you can do all of your research in one library. At this point, taking notes is not required, but it will be helpful later if you write down where the information is located.
Researching Your Topic:
While it is tempting just to begin writing the paper, this is part of the project to which you must devote a significant amount of time. Failure to give this phase the amount of time and work it requires will make it impossible to create a quality final product. Now that you have chosen your finalized topic and written a preliminary thesis statement, it is time to begin the formal research. To begin your research, refer to the notes you made when you surveyed the sources. Relocate these sources to begin your note taking, and then search for additional sources.
Writing a Finalized Thesis:
Before you began your research, you wrote a thesis statement based on what you thought to be true at that point. Having learned more about your topic, you will probably find that your preliminary thesis statement should be modified. Keeping in mind everything you have learned about the subject, rephrase your thesis statement so that it states the point you will prove in the paper.
In formal writing do not use
Sentences beginning with “Well,”
First person expressions such as “I think,” “I feel,” or “I believe”
Second person pronouns (you, your)
Repetitive use of questions
Check the following for correctness
Top, button, left and right margins are 1”
Font is 12 point, Times New Roman, including the header
Header appears on all pages ½ inch from the top and 1” from the left
Entire paper is double-spaced (except longer documentations, which are single-spaced)
Heading is correct
Parenthetical documentation is correct
Entries on the works cited page are alphabetized
Pages are in the correct order
After you have completed the checklist above, assemble your paper according to your teacher’s specifications. Be sure to turn in all required elements.
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