Formal Paper #1Guidelines
– 3-4 types pages, double-spaced
– Works Cited should be on its own separate page
Grading:20% of final grade
Text:Virgin Suicides, Night, “We Are Calling to Offer You a Fabulous Life”, “Waltz of the Midnight Miscarriage,” and “Goodness and the Salt of the Earth”
Task:Choose no more than one chapter and no less than one paragraph (for novels)and no more than one page and no less than one paragraph (for short stories) that you believe holds the key to understanding one of the story’s important themes. Perform a close reading of that passage and describe what effect it has on the reader and how it creates that effect. In addition, describe how it connects to or helps explain the meaning of the larger work.
Directions: Choose a passage which you find compelling and which raises interesting questions in your mind. This can be a single chapter or a series of paragraphsin any of the texts we’ve read thus far. Read the passage carefully. Read the passage several times. While you’re reading it, notice what you’re noticing. Make annotations in the margins, mark places where something clicks for you, underline phrases you find interesting or confusing, paying particular attention to word choice, irony/humor, repetition, sudden changes, and contrasting or clashing elements (characters, places, events, images, etc.).
Develop a thesis statement that explains why the passage you’ve chosen is significant for understanding the work as a whole. Make sure this thesis is contestable (not something that everyone can agree on), supported by the text, and most importantly, interesting to you. Remember that your whole paper should reflect your thesis. This means you must use specific examplesfrom the text to back up your thesis argument throughout.Furthermore, make sure you structure your paper, ordering paragraphs logically to support your thesis.
Things You Should Consider:This is a formal analytical paper, so please make sure that you have created a thoughtful, well-written essay that focuses on one particular idea or aspect of the text and demonstratesreflection andanalysis rather than unfocused feelings or simple personal responses. I’m looking for you to write clearly, persuasively, and above all interestingly, about what you find important to the meaning of the story.It goes without saying that the essay you submit to me must also be proofread.
A Note on MLA Citation:
I expect this to be in the standards of MLA format, which will be the citation style we use in this class:
– No cover page
– On the top left-hand corner of the first page only, not in the header: Your name, my name, course name, date due, word count
– Suitable title in MLA style: no bold or underlining
– Times New Roman, 12-point font only
– Single-sided printing on otherwise blank white paper in black ink
– MLA style double-spaced, 1-inch margins on top, bottom, left, and right
– Numbered pages
– Indented paragraphs
– MLA style in-text parenthetical citations and MLA style Works Cited page
– Must be stapled
– For more information, see Purdue OWL’s website (owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/)
An A-range paper:
– Has a strong, clear thesis
– The thesis is grounded in evidence from the text
– Ideas are developed and refined as the essay progresses, i.e. the writer does not simply state the same idea over and over again
– The writer shows a good understanding of the literary terms used (tone, style, character, etc)
– The essay is logically structured and flows smoothly from one paragraph to the next
– The writing is engaging and demonstrates the writer’s interest in the topic
– There are few if any grammatical or technical errors