English 4420 paper 2

Write an analytical or argumentative essay on a topic of your own choosing, focusing narrowly on The Brothers Karamazov, "The Metamorphosis," or All Quiet on the Western Front. Your paper must meet each of the following requirements. Read these requirements carefully, more than once.
  • 7-9 pages in length, 2000 words minimum, 2700 words maximum (in the body of the essay, excluding headers, name, date, title, works cited entries, etc.).

  • Your work must be formatted carefully and correctly, following MLA guidelines as outlined on my "simple stuff" web page. Papers not following these very simple conventions of formatting will be returned un-graded and will receive late penalties depending upon how many days it takes you to format them correctly.

  • A minimum of ten quotations from the work(s) you examine is required: ten is an absolute minimum—you may certainly offer more than ten to illustrate or substantiate your primary claims thoroughly and effectively.

  • All quotations and other source material must be documented according to MLA guidelines as outlined on my quotations page. A works cited page is mandatory.

  • You must incorporate some research into this paper, offering quotations from at least four secondary secondary sources of legitimate scholarly criticism or commentary on the work(s) you examine (beyond the ten quotations from the primary work[s]).  ("Legitimate" means truly scholarly sources, so items from the popular press, reviews of performances, encyclopedias, and study aids such as Cliff's Notes, SparkNotes, Master Plots, etc., are not acceptable.) You should most emphatically not consult any world wide web pages outside of our course materials while preparing your paper. For access to many scholarly articles and other materials in full-text electronic form, see the MGA Library website.

  • Note that you must submit the final draft in both hard copy (printed on paper) and digital form uploaded to the D2L dropbox for this assignment (D2L alone for Cochran students).

  • Paper proposals: as a graded assignment, you are to turn in a paper proposal in the form of a topic sentence outline just as with the first paper, beginning with the question your essay will strive to answer, followed by each body paragraph's complete topic sentence in direct answer of that question, as it might appear in the essay itself, and ending with a thesis statement that a) answers the question you are addressing, and b) ties together the primary points in your topic sentences. The question you raise for this outline should be a literal question—an interrogative sentence ending in a question mark, not merely a statement of what your topic is. You may send your topic sentence outline in the body of an email message—that is, it’s not necessary to send the outline as an attachment. For full explanation of a topic sentence outline, including examples, see the paper proposal assignment page.

  • The real challenge here will be to arrive at a viable topic, one worthy of exploration in a senior-level college English course. See especially the first item below (excerpted from "2000-4000 grades and grading criteria" at chipspage.com). I know that open topics permit opportunities for plagiarism—I strenuously advise you to recall the definition of plagiarism acknowledgment you signed early in the semester, and also the consequences of plagiarizing in this class.

    Feel free to take any matters from our discussions and critical responses as a starting point for greater development in this paper. You may also consider points of connection or comparison between different works we've read this semester.

    Feel free, of course, also, to seek my guidance in arriving at a suitable topic. The starting point would be to set up a literal question such as you will need to begin the paper proposal. Do indeed let me know if you struggle in thinking of a viable topic!

  • From " Matters of course: the bedrock basics" (from chipspage.com, "2000-4000 grades"):

    In order to receive a passing grade:

    • An essay must first and foremost address a viable topic, meaning that if you are given a specific assignment for the essay, your paper must address the assigned topic squarely, directly, and fully. In the absence of a specific assigned topic, the essay must set up and address a topic genuinely worthy of exploration at the college level. . . . Here's one quick illustration: a beautifully written paper proving that Hester Prynne is treated harshly in The Scarlet Letter for her sin of adultery would receive a quick F because the point is too obvious to need elaboration: any reader of the novel would know that Hester is treated harshly simply from reading the book. Your essay should develop a thesis that will enlighten your readers: you should present and develop significant argument or analysis that goes beyond simply stating the obvious.

    • Secondly, every essay must meet all specified assignment requirements. For instance, if an assignment stipulates that you must incorporate a personal anecdote from your own life and you do not include one, your essay has no chance of passing however brilliant it may be in other respects. Or if you are asked to incorporate quotations from four sources and you cite only two? No chance to pass.

blue bulletAs always, I encourage you to seek my help with your paper outside of class. If my office hours don't mesh with your schedule, let me know, and we'll make other arrangements.


  • Offer concrete evidence (i.e. quotations) to support every one of your major assertions.
  • Make every body ¶'s topic sentence answer the paper proposal question directly.
  • Avoid plot summary: see nugget 1; introduce all quotes: see nugget 3.
  • Sweat the details: see the "Golden Rules," "Nuggets," "Simple Stuff," and "Quotations" pages and proofread carefully.
  • Email me if you have questions or problems.