Name ________________________________ Date _______
A.P. Language and Composition
Transcendentalism Multi-Genre Research Paper: Spring 2011
“I am large, I contain multitudes” ~ Walt Whitman
Perception is all.
Ways of seeing.
Ways of knowing.
Ways of learning.
Sometimes I see the world through poetry: a bit of cadenced language suddenly saying itself in my head, an
indelible image ever sharp, a surprising metaphor with extensions following close behind.
Sometimes I see the world through prose: a description that holds in place an unforgettable scene, a pointed
story that clarifies experience, a monolog that marshals points I wish I made during a disagreement..
Each genre offers me ways of seeing and understanding that others do not. I perceive the world through multiple
genres. They shape my seeing. They define who I am.
-- Tom Romano, Writing with Passion
Throughout this entire year, we have been studying the ways language can convey meaning. We
have studied prose, poetry, drama, and paintings, searching for the clandestine corners that make a text so
memorable. As your final major grade, you will be applying your skills of observation to a critical,
engaging, and well-researched paper.
However, this paper will not be the traditional literary analysis research paper. Instead of a paper
that synthesizes only scholarly articles, yours will be one that also includes alternative sources. You will
still be exercising essential research skills, including close-reading of both primary and secondary
sources, and will practice using MLA format when citing parenthetically. But this paper gives you the
freedom to be creative through several modes of discourse.
Your paper must be rooted in Transcendentalism. Choose from the following primary texts:
“Self-Reliance” and “Nature” by Emerson
Walden and “Civil Disobedience” by Thoreau
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
- The influence of Romantic philosophy on Emerson and Thoreau (Immanuel Kant, Lord Byron, etc.)
- Applying Thoreau’s journey to modern society
- The Beat Generation (i.e. Ginsberg, Kerouac) and its roots in Whitman
- Psychoanalytic theory of civil disobedience or Whitman’s poetry
- Nature and its control over man as he goes “into the wild”
- Reading Transcendentalism through feminist theory (i.e. relationship with nature)
- Relating “Civil Disobedience” to Dr. Martin Luther King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail
What Does It Look Like?: This paper will be a collection of pieces written in a variety of genres, driven
by your research on one specific topic. It will challenge you to represent one or more perspectives in one
product. Consequently, the form, structure, and style will be entirely up to you.
6-8 pages of writing and 1-2 pages for visuals, plus a Works Cited page and Cover Page
Includes: Preface/Introduction, which includes thesis (Table of Contents optional)
Personal narrative/short fiction
Critical views of topic from scholarly or professional sources
A visual element
Contemporary or classic poetry (optional 4th genre)
Original poetry in free verse style or established form (such as sonnet)
Unifying elements (repetend*, fragmented narrative, a motif)
o Addendum: Works Cited/Bibliography
Note Page (one page from your note-taking or journaling)
Sources: 1-2 primary sources (literature on which the topic is based); 4-6 secondary sources (all
researched material to support the topic, including articles, books, and professional websites)
You must take accountability for all work completed during the process of this paper. Concrete
evidence will be required to count towards all steps and stages.
The essay must cite all sources consistently (when possible), and should assimilate all sources
into an insightful, cohesive product.
The paper must be typed in standard MLA format: heading, 12-point font, Times New Roman,
one-inch margins, and double-spaced. .
Upload written portion to turnitin.com when complete.
Repetend: The purpose of a repetend is to create unity and coherence in a multigenre piece. It also
allows the reader to hear the writer’s voice and have a string that carries through the entire piece. Using a
repetend is like using a thesis to tie a traditional research paper together.
Ideas for creating a repetend (you may think of something different):
include the same phrase, sentence, or passage in each genre page as a heading or somewhere else
in the text
include a description or design in each piece (written or graphic), placed strategically for easy
include a running commentary from you, the writer, following or preceding each genre piece
(taken from previously cited web page)
Timeline of Deadlines (subject to alterations)
Mon, May 16: Statement of research due, which includes your topic of interest and generated
questions. 1-2 paragraphs.
Mon, May 23: List of sources gathered so far/sources you plan to explore further
Wednesday, June 1: Evidence of progress in note-taking/journaling
Friday, June 3: Exposition of paper due/sharing of progress
Friday, June 10: Final paper due!
Although you will have days in the computer lab to work on this assignment, I will expect you to work
outside of class to complete this successfully.
Print Media Visual with Words Visual Display
Newspaper Article Poster Picture/Photograph
Obituary Invitation Graph
Editorial Ad Map
Letter to the Editor Travel brochure Certificate
Advice Column Travel journal Recipe
Magazine Article Cartoon Collage
Informational Creative Writing Structured
Interview Skit Literary criticism
Survey Song Report
Timeline Poem Scholarly article from journal
Podcast Short Story Letter (primary documents)
Idea Web Personal Narrative Speech
Conversation Descriptive Paragraph
Begin with your general questions to choose a topic. Think of questions you wanted to ask or
explore further while reading the Transcendentalists’ work; think of what interested you, or what bothered
you. This will help provide direction for the actual research. As you actually get into your sources and
start responding to them, the evidence you show can be any format you desire. You could use your
notebook, note cards, marked-up pages, Post-Its, scraps of napkins, typed thoughts, or any other medium.
The goal is for you to keep track of your inner monologue/dialogue.
Brainstorming/Preparation: Due Monday!
1) What is your potential topic?
2) Describe what you know about your topic and what you seek to know.
3) Describe the origins of your research. What sparked your interest in the topic? Why do you want to know
more about it?
4) List at least four questions about the topic.
5) Describe your plan for collecting information about your topic.
AP Language and Composition
May 5, 2010
Statement of Research
I am interested in exploring the dualities and doppelgangers found in Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and
Mr. Hyde. The contrast between the conservative Dr. Jekyll and the wild, reckless Hyde has always
captivated me. What would drive such a composed and content individual to experiment on himself?
Why does he want to risk his chivalrous self and reputation for this discovery? What truly differentiates
Hyde from Jekyll, and how might this connect with the idea of repression? What kinds of expectations
did people have of British gentlemen during that time?
My paper will seek to examine the two sides of one individual, and explore the fascination we
have with the hidden shadow self. My research will hopefully answer those questions, and provide me a
better idea of what a doppelganger actually is. Ultimately, my essay will discuss the dual nature of man,
and the thin line between what we desire and what we choose.