Assignment #4: Literary Research Paper
Research question due: 11/18
Rough draft due (two copies): 11/30
Final draft due: 12/2 (if you would like your essay returned to you this semester, please include a self-
addressed and stamped envelope large enough to contain your paper)
A literary research paper is an essay that uses a critical approach to interpret a work and supports that
interpretation with research. For this essay, you will be analyzing and interpreting just like in your previous
essays. The only difference is you will deliberately use 1-2 critical approaches and will include and abstract
that explains how the approaches you applied are evident in your analysis. Your essay should use a
minimum of three secondary sources. These may come from either the library or the Internet but they should
be credible (no SparkNotes, Wikipedia, etc.).
Steps to a literary research paper:
1. Select Your Topic
Use prewriting strategies
Check to see if sources are available
Develop a preliminary thesis/hypothesis/outline
2. Search for Sources
Read over sources
Narrow or broaden topic
3. Take Notes (on primary and secondary sources)
Evaluate secondary sources
Paraphrase, summarize, quote sources clearly (avoid plagiarism)
Write personal notes on what you will pull from primary and secondary sources
4. Organize Your Information
Refine the thesis
Choose organizational structure
5. Integrate Your Information into a Draft
Blend in research sources smoothly
Compose in-text citations and Works Cited page
7. Prepare the Final Draft
Compose your rhetorical context page and abstract
Possible writing prompts:
How does the grotesque function in “A Good Man is Hard to Find”?
How is the Southern Gothic style exhibited in “A Good Man is Hard to Find”?
Who is O’Connor’s audience for “Revelation” and how is knowledge of this important to
understanding the story?
How do religion and irony function in “A Good Man is Hard to Find”?
How do religion and irony function in “Revelation”?
How is Mrs. Turpin transformed in “Revelation”?
Is the gandmother transformed in “A good Man is Hard to Find”?
What is the significance of social class in “Revelation”?
What is the significance in “I Stand Here Ironing”?
Does “I Stand Here Ironing” imply that circumstances can limit children’s potential to succeed in
To what degree is the mother in “I Stand Here Ironing” responsible for her daughter’s issues? Do
you blame her or sympathize with her?
How are the time and place in which “The Yellow Wallpaper” was written reflected in the story?
Is the woman in “The Yellow Wallpaper” crazy?
How is “The Yellow Wallpaper” an example of Gothic fiction?
What does the woman behind the wallpaper in “The Yellow Wallpaper” represent and why do you
think the narrator identifies with her?
MLA format with rhetorical context page
A one to two paragraph abstract that explains what critical approaches you used and summarizes that
main point and support in your paper
Staple together (in this order): rhetorical context page (top), abstract, final draft, rubric, sources
Content Diction Sentence Research and Grammar/ mechanics
/Organization refers to using structure refers Documentation refers to spelling, word
Score refers to topic; thesis; words to positioning and Refers to the usage, grammar,
order and focus of appropriate to varying sentence synthesis and punctuation, and ability
ideas; integrated and the audience and length and rhythm integration of varied to proofread
documented support; purpose; to create a and credible research;
acknowledges other choosing words deliberate effect; uses current MLA (or
perspectives; for deliberate fragments are a other) citation style;
knowledge of effect rhetorical choice avoids plagiarism
Well-defined, Compelling Sentences are Meaningful Demonstrates mastery
persuasive thesis; word choice, carefully formed integration of varied of grammar, creating
Outstandi insightful reasoning demonstrating and positioned and credible research; compelling prose; few
ng and support; insightful use of with attention to mastery of to no errors
19-20/20 consistent focus and figurative emphasis, rhythm paraphrasing,
graceful transitions; language and pace to summarizing, and
shows understanding engage the reader; quoting from sources;
of literary terminology active voice correct
predominates documentation style
Clear thesis and focus; Specific word Sentences show Clear integration of Demonstrates
strong use of textual choice including variety in length, varied research using understanding of most
Strong support; logical metaphor and pattern, and correct grammar; spell check
16-18/20 progression of ideas; analogy rhythm; strong documentation; does errors remain
smooth transitions; use of active not under or over
shows awareness of voice document; discusses
literary terminology all references
Basic thesis and Conventional Sentences show Integrates Occasional errors in
related support (too word choice some variation in conventional sentence structure, verb
Satisfacto factual or broad); pattern and are support; agreement, pronoun
ry uneven progression of linked with documentation has reference, spelling and
14-15/20 ideas; adequate appropriate few errors punctuation
transitions transitions; use of
Thesis unclear or Vague, ordinary Simple sentences Weak integration of Frequent errors in
lacking insight; word choice are frequent with text and/or sources; sentence structure, verb
Limited inconsistent with clichés and occasional fused multiple errors in agreement, pronoun
12-13/20 organization; jargon sentences and documentation reference, spelling and
transitions do not fragments; punctuation
connect ideas occasional,
No identifiable thesis; Word choice Awkward and Poor use of Continuous errors in
no meaningful doesn’t fit unclear sentences; documentation; sentence structure, verb
Flawed discussion of text; no audience or little variety; questionable agreement, pronoun
0-11/20 control of organization purpose frequent run-ons plagiarism; no reference, spelling and
and/or transitions and fragments attention to research punctuation