The Final Paper

British Literature. Mon, Jan 25th, 2010 at 6:43 pm

Themes: , , , , , , ,

In which you compile a number of sources to prove an amazing point about a novel of your choice.

I’ll present the essay in steps, then lay out the rules. Remember to record all information (essay titles, author names, URLs of interesting essays, and search queries) in your journal. Bring this journal tomorrow.

  1. Think about a few novels you’ve really enjoyed.
  2. Look up the titles or authors in the EBSCO Databases here. (Click the link, then click “EBSCO Databases, then “Select All,” continue, then “Continue,” check “Full text,” then enter your terms.)
  3. If you don’t find several articles about your book or author, start over from #1 –or– search for similar titles and authors, the period in which it was written, or the genre. Root around, you may come up with an idea just by searching similar works.
  4. Once you have a number of articles, check the bibliography, the source, the subject matter of each. If one looks solid, continue. If not, move on to the next one.
  5. Skim the article. If it’s interesting, print it (or email a copy to yourself and print at school tomorrow) and repeat #4 with another article. If it isn’t interesting, discard it and repeat #4.
  6. Once you have a number of interesting articles, grab your copy of the book and begin re-reading it if you’d like.
  7. Reflect and feel content about your full night’s work.

We’ll discuss all of the specific guidelines in class tomorrow, but here are some to set you in the right direction:

This is going to be a research paper over the historical, philosophical, or cultural context of the novel. As you go, you’ll record all steps, information gathered, and ideas in a journal. I will meet with each of you daily until you have a solid footing with this project. Come to class every day with an explanation of your night’s work along with your research, the work and your journal.

Historical: You will be explaining what circumstances may have enabled the novel to come about (the impact of previous works or the historical context). For example, if you wrote over Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, you might write about the “perfect storm” of Victorian Gothic literature and scientific exploration during the Edwardian eras.

Philosophical: You will be writing over the philosophy presented in the novel. A Freudian interpretation of Lord of the Flies (which we touched on during our discussions) would be appropriate here.

Cultural: Some novels seem to be timeless and continue to have impacts today. With the cultural essay, you will research the impact a novel had on a time period other than the one in which it was written. Of course, tracing the repercussions of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein would be great, or the resurgence of Lord of the Flies during the sixties (thanks, Ellen!) or recently, with the production of the movies.

Post any and all questions below or write them in your journals for class tomorrow. We’ll be looking at all of these approaches in more detail then.

13 Responses to “The Final Paper”

  1. josh wallace says:

    the book we select, does it have to be a book we have read in class?

  2. JStallings says:

    Not at all. It would be best if you choose a book that you’ve enjoyed outside of class.

  3. josh wallace says:

    okie dokie, but please list! :)))

  4. Nathan says:

    Hey Stallings, I can’t find much of anything on any of my choices on the EBSCO thing. I wanted to do The Stand by Stephen King, No dice. Tried Mother Night and Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, nothing. Brave New World was another one I’d been thinking of, but I can’t see much of anything for that, either. Just wondering what you might suggest. Thanks.

  5. JStallings says:

    Hmm. Pulled up one on Mother Night. Emailed to you. I’ll keep looking for the others.

  6. Nathan says:

    Thanks. I just read Mother Night, so that’d be a good one. I guess I wasn’t looking hard enough, since you already found at least three. Thank you.

  7. Nathan says:

    Part of my problem was that I didn’t really read the full text of them, just the summary, and the summary of them made them seem irrelevant to an essay, I guess.

  8. JStallings says:

    Hey, no worries. Thanks for keeping us updated on your progress.

  9. Nathan says:

    Thanks for helping me out. See you tomorrow.

  10. alex james says:

    i did all the steps and had no results so what do i do

  11. josh wallace says:

    it is snowing! 😀

  12. Dylan Eubanks says:

    I can’t do it! :(((((((((

  13. JStallings says:

    Whaddaya mean?