Writing About Literature Custom Essay

English 112

Instructor: Fernando Benavidez

Final Research Paper #4

DUE: THURSDAY, AUGUST 13TH on Turnitin.com by midnight.

Texts to Consider:


Bierce, “An Occurance at Owl Creek Bridge” Dickenson, “Because I Could Not Stop for Death”

Welty, “A Worn Path” Wordsworth, “Daffodils (I Wandered Lonely…)

Tan, “Two Kinds” (Chapter in Joy Luck Club) Erdrich, “Indian Boarding School: The Runaways”

Poe, “The Cask of Amontillado” Blake, “The Tyger”

Hemingway, “Hills Like White Elephants” Ginsberg, “A Supermarket in California”

O’Connor, “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” Plath, “Lady Lazarus”

Porter, “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall” Dunbar, “Sympathy”

Steinbeck, “Chrysanthemums” Soto, “Oranges”

Walker, “Revolutionary Petunias

Bishop, “One Art”


Keller, Tea Party

O’Neill, Before Breakfast

Sophocles, Oedipus the King

Ibsen, A Dollhouse

Wilson, Fences

Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark


You are to choose which genre you want to write about for this final paper. And, you will write a 4-5 page (1000-1500 words) essay that demonstrates your ability to do research in an effective manner to produce a satisfactorily documented research paper according to MLA format.

Your essay must cover the short stories, poetry, or drama listed below and answer one of the questions below. You have not read any of these works, so they are all new. You should use the appropriate elements related to each genre that we’ve studied this semester as ways to analyze your chosen text. Your essay will also include borrowed material from at least three to four sources; two of these sources must be “academic journal” articles from the library databases. The other 1-2 sources may be non-academic sources but they don’t have to be (which means you may use more academic sources and books). You must use at least two direct quotes and two paraphrases or summaries from your sources in your analysis. Of course, you should also quote from the text you are analyzing. And, you must have a clear thesis statement.

Remember, don’t spend a lot of time just retelling the story or play, or paraphrasing the poem. The essay should be well-organized and should contain no fragments, run-ons, misspellings, or awkward phrases, AND should follow MLA format for in-text citations and your works cited page at the end. Finally, you should always use the Writing Center and “AskOnline” during your drafting/writing process.

Think about the meaningfulness of these stories, poems, or plays to help guide your analysis. Remember, LITERATURE is not to be read in a literal way. That is, EVERYTHING in LITERATURE symbolic and meant to “represent” or symbolize something about the human condition. The following options are general enough to apply to several pieces of literature but specific enough for you to create a focused essay with a specific thesis statement. Remember, too, a thesis DOES NOT have to be only once sentence.


Choose ONE particular work (a short story or a play) and focus on an in-depth analysis of a particular character, the setting, or the plot.
Choose TWO works (short stories or plays) and compare and contrast the use of dialogue, symbols, characters, or setting.
Choose ONE or TWO poems and focus on an in-depth analysis of the speaker(s) of the poem(s). If using two poems, it may be a compare and contrast essay.
Choose ONE or TWO poems and focus on their form, diction, imagery, symbolism, or metaphors and similes. If using two poems, it may be a compare and contrast essay.
Choose ONE particular work (a short story, a poem, or a play) and focus on an in-depth analysis of the influence of particular historical, political, social, or cultural situations on the work. This could include an analysis focusing on religion, race, class, or gender as well.

*Again, I DO NOT want to know what happens in the story, poem, or play. I obviously already know this. Instead, I want to know what you think the author is trying to say about the human condition through the use of the elements germane to each particular genre. What is the author, poet, or playwright trying to say? Do not summarize or paraphrase.

*Consult the “English Rubric” posted in the “Materials” tab for a good idea of what constitutes an “Excellent” essay. Read the “First Draft Revision Checklist” handout.

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