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ENGL 1102 Lindberg Online - Spring 2014: Assignment

Research Project Overview

Research Project Overview

This file contains a brief overview of the required materials and tasks for completion of the research project, worth a major portion of your final grade in this class. Details on each assignment are posted in this module. Remember that it is vital that you turn in each element on time.

1.    Research Project: 600 points

a.    Thesis/Intro Discussion: 4/13, 100 points

b.    Notes and Quotes assignment turned it to the Dropbox: 4/20, 100 points

c.    Rough Draft submitted to 4/28, 100 points

d.    Peer Review via 4/30, 100 points

e.    Final paper due: 5/5, 100 points

f.     Video Presentation Discussion: 5/5, 100 points

General Overview:

            This class requires a 6-8 page research paper on a work or works of literature studied during the course of this term. The paper must make an original, arguable claim about the work and support that claim with evidence from the text and outside sources. The paper must use direct quotes and paraphrases followed by appropriate MLA parenthetical citation and a works cited page. The works cited page will be a numbered part of the paper, but it will not count in the pagination for the required length (i.e., your sixth page can’t be the works cited page). You must utilize five sources besides the original text; these sources must be credible literary sources. At least two sources must be peer-reviewed. The research paper must be written in a formal, academic tone.

            At GHC, we require this assignment for several reasons, but the reason that I value most is this: it teaches you to ask better questions. A research paper is different than a report. This kind of writing goes beyond the what to explore why and how. The sharpest, most effective people in this world know that sometimes success isn’t about knowing the answer; it’s about asking the right question.

            In the research paper process, you will experience frustration, curiosity, aggravation, elation, relief, and hopefully—pride. Perhaps you have written a paper of this length before, but you have not written a paper with this detailed a process. The course guides you through very specific steps as part of the writing and researching exercise with the aim of providing you tools for future, longer papers in other classes.

            Each assignment is due on the day listed above. While you are working independently, I will be checking on each of you to see where you are, what needs attention, and where I can best help you achieve your goals. The more prepared you are, the better I can help you be successful in your writing.

            As always, I am here to help. Please contact me with any questions or concerns, or if you just want to play with ideas.

Assignment Topics

  • PTSD: How do various literary works refer to or depict this condition? (I’m thinking of “Dulce” and “Disabled,” but also “Why I Live at the P.O.” to some degree). When did the condition first earn a clear diagnosis? What is the history of our understanding and treatment of the condition? This paper would focus on PTSD as a condition, using the literature to explain how the condition impacts individuals.


  • Veterans: What is the history of our treatment of returning soldiers? Why are some soldiers labeled members of the “Greatest Generation” while others are ostracized and ignored? How do poems like the Wilfred Owen poems and “Jundee Amerika” depict treatment of veterans? This paper would research veterans’ affairs and society’s reactions to returning soldiers from WWI to the Gulf War. The paper would use examples from the poems to demonstrate how the veterans are impacted upon return.


  • Women’s Mental Health Issues: Is Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” an accurate depiction of our treatment of women’s mental health issues in the first part of the 20th century? In this paper, the student would research the mental health system in the 20th C, and perhaps investigate common diagnoses and treatments women received. This paper would focus on the woman in “The Yellow Wallpaper,” closely examining how her behavior and thoughts reflect actual conditions and treatments of her time.


  • Disability: As a society, how have Americans responded to disability, traditionally? How do stories like “Recitatif,”  and “Cathedral,” reflect society’s views of disability? In this paper, the researcher might investigate the Americans with Disabilities Act, the history and impetus of the Act, and how these two short stories reflect perspectives on disability.


  • Marriage: What is marriage? How does literature reflect our values and ideals when it comes to marriage? This paper would investigate the history and role of marriage in culture, perhaps contrasting marriage issues and roles in Shakespeare’s time to marriage issues and expectations today. Many of our poems and short stories touch on the marriage relationship, including “To the Ladies” and “My Last Duchess,” then “Cathedral,” “The Yellow Wallpaper,” and others. How does Stanley define marriage? How does Blanche? How about Walter Lee and Ruth, or Walter Lee’s parents, Lena and the deceased Mr. Younger?


  •  Child Labor Laws and the Chimney Sweeper poems: What were the conditions of child laborers in London during William Blake’s time? Were there events depicted in those two poems that reflect actual circumstances for children? When did child labor laws go into effect, and what is the relationship between the laws in the UK and in the US?


  • Reviving Ophelia: Exploring the role of girls in certain of the short stories, based on the best-selling book by Mary Pipher. What are the social implications of girls losing their personal identity and self-esteem when moving into adolescence and beyond? How does Alice Munro’s short story demonstrate that phenomenon? Do we see a breakdown in confidence and self-esteem in “Recititaf”?


  • Race Transition in Suburban Cities in the Mid 20th Century: A Raisin in the Sun introduces the idea of race discrimination in the central aspect of the American Dream: owning your own home. Does the play reflect this time in our history accurately? This paper would research neighborhood trends in various cities, including Chicago, from about 1950 to 1970. What were some of the issues related to “race mixing” in neighborhoods? Did the incident with Mr. Linder represent actual events? What ever happened to Clyburn Park, Chicago? Did it become a “black” neighborhood? What is it like today?


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