Monday, February 28, 2011

Guidelines for English 102 Research Papers

 ASSIGNMENT: You will write a fully documented, multiple-sourced research/literary analysis paper (approximately 7-10 pages in length), which will follow MLA guidelines in matters of form (see MLA in-text citation style below—for complete MLA style, click at left on course blog), and it will contain a Works Cited Page, in-text citations to those sources, and a complete outline. For your first paper, you must use a total of eight (8) in-text citations from at least four (4) sources, in any combination.
 Your first paper, on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, will focus on a theme of interest to you. For this paper, you will be examining the novel utilizing a particular critical perspective—psychoanalytic, feminist, gender studies, Marxist, critical race theory, or cultural criticism. You may utilize these articles as part of your Works Cited sources, or you may find others. We will have a brief “brainstorming” session on Thursday, 3/3 to assist you in developing a topic and focus for your first paper.
 Sample themes: aesthetics, alienation, childhood, community, corporeality, difference, Enlightenment, ethics/morality, family, femininity, freedom, identity, literacy, human nature, hypocrisy, innocence, overreaching, good and bad parenting, loneliness, masculinity, monstrousness, nature, radicalism, rebellion, religion, responsibility, revolution, science, sexuality, the limits of knowledge, playing “God,” violence.
 The 1st research paper (Frankenstein) will be due on Tuesday, 3/15, by 10:00 pm. Any paper submitted after this date will result in a loss of 5 points (ex: submitted by Wednesday, 3/16 for a possible maximum of 10 pts.). NO papers will be accepted after Wednesday, 3/16. You may submit your paper early.
 NOTE: For research papers, YOU MAY NOT USE the following as sources, as they are NOT considered scholarly works: SparkNotes, CliffsNotes, ClassicNotes, Enotes, GradeSaver, or any other student guides.  
A Wikipedia entry may NOT be used as a source—however, if the “Source” section of a Wikipedia entry contains a scholarly work (a journal article or academic book) that you want to quote from in your paper, you are free to retrieve the work from the library (hard copy or from a database) and incorporate it into your paper.  
ABSTRACT: Students must present a one paragraph abstract of approximately 75-100 words summarizing the paper and how he or she plans to proceed, detailing the following: Why you chose it; what is important about it; what you intend to examine; what library resources you intend to use to complete the assignment. Due Tuesday, 3/8
OUTLINE: An outline is required as part of the grade for the research paper. This outline must directly correspond to the research paper. Due Thursday, 3/10
BIBLIOGRAPHY: You must present a Bibliography of sources (books, journal articles, newspaper articles, media sources, Internet sources) that you think you be using for your research paper. The page will consist of no fewer than four (4) outside sources.  At least three (3) of the sources must come from scholarly books or articles on the main topic.  Internet sources can comprise no more than one (1) of the sources. Due Thursday, 3/10
THIS PAPER IS DUE ON TUESDAY, 3/15, at 10:00 pm.
FINAL NOTE: The 2nd research paper will be due on Thursday, 4/21, at 10:00 pm. Any paper submitted after this date will result in a loss of 5 points per day overdue (ex: submitted by Friday, 4/22 for a possible maximum of 25 pts; submitted by Monday, 4/25 for a possible maximum of 20 pts). For your second paper, you will write on the Stephen Crane text “The Monster.”  More details on this paper will be posted mid-March. We will have a brief “brainstorming” session on Thursday, 3/24 to assist you in developing a topic and focus for this final paper. You may submit your paper early. NO papers will be accepted after Monday, 4/25.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Links to Electronic Editions of Frankenstein: Keyword Searching and Critical Approaches

 On-line text of Frankenstein/searching using keywords/additional critical approaches and definitions/contexts

Hi, class,

I am putting this information on our course blog in advance of you all writing your first research papers, which are scheduled to be handed in on Thursday, March 3--since we had a snow day, I may have to push that date to Tuesday, 3/8, as we are a bit behind. Let's see how far we can get over the next two class meetings. I will be emailing you the paper guidelines over the weekend.

I will be assigning you to groups to examine the various critical approaches to Frankenstein (Marxist, feminist, psychoanalytic, etc.) so that you can gain an understanding of all of them more quickly.  Each group will focus on the key aspects of one of these critical perspectives and report to the rest of the class. I am doing this mainly for reasons of expediency--you need not stick to that approach for your research paper. 

Here is the URL for the online Gutenberg text of Frankenstein. Cut and paste it into your browser, and try doing a search, if you think it might help you move more quickly to the chapters/passages that you think will be most helpful to you when you begin to write. 

Try using the specific keywords that relate to the approach you are using. For example, try "dream" and "sleep" if you are using a psychoanalytic approach and writing about Victor's unconscious state--try using "glory" if you want to do a comparison/contrast of Walton and Victor, etc. 


Also, below is the University of Pennsylvania's Electronic Edition of Frankenstein. Of particular value to you are the "Table of Chapters" and the "Contents." If you click on one of the chapters in "Table of Chapters," you will see that the text has links to clearer explanations of terms, along with more contexts. If you click on "Contents," you will see a variety of materials that are available to you. Some (like the "Critical Approaches" page) are unavailable, but in terms of providing some overall background and over 200 critical essays on the text, this is a great site.
I would caution you, however, that you should use this site primarily for help in understanding some of the contexts of Frankenstein, and to assist you in finding good research articles. You are to do your own writing--do not depend on this site for YOUR critical analysis--I want to know what YOU are thinking in relation to your chosen theme.

A word about "plagiarism": Please note, especially in using on-line sources for critical support, that you must annotate your sources immediately if you are cutting and pasting them for use in your paper--it is easy to inadvertently paste a piece of documentation without attribution. You should cite your sources properly and make sure that you use quotes. Do not depend solely on your sources for analysis-write your own analysis and try to find a source that supports it. In addition, you may find an article that contradicts your own findings--argue with that source! Feel free to disagree, but find textual support in Frankenstein for your own ideas.

Finally, although this paper is a research project, you should be having fun! Frankenstein is a pleasure to read and analyze--I am enjoying the class's critical discourse, and I know that you will continue to provide rich and thoughtful commentary!

All best,

Prof. Williams

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Frankenstein's Creature, Hollywood-style!

Hi, all,

Below are clips from several film adaptations of Frankenstein--including the full-length version of the first one, made in 1910 at Edison Studios, the 1931 classic, the delightfully loony 1935 sequel, the 1994 remake with Robert DeNiro, and Mel Brooks's hilarious comedic take, made in 1974. I have tried to group them together so that you can see the "birth/creation" scenes together.

Frankenstein, 1931. "It's alive!" (RT 4:05)

Frankenstein, 1931. The creature's awareness. (RT 3:10)

Frankenstein, 1994. Frankenstein gives "birth." (RT 5:01)

Young Frankenstein, 1974. (RT 10:00)

Bride of Frankenstein, 1935. "She's alive!" (RT 2:19)

Frankenstein, 1994. The Creature confronts Victor. (RT 7:03)

Finally, this is the first-ever adaptation!

Frankenstein, 1910. Watch the "special effect" at the end! (Full-length 12:41)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Swift's "A Modest Proposal" and Ehrenreich's "The Maids"

Hi, class, 
Attached is a link to Jonathan Swift's essay, "A Modest Proposal." Please read the essay and be ready to comment on it. Also, finish reading the Barbara Ehrenreich excerpt ("The Maids") and consider how she ends it.

I will also hand back your responses to Mencken's "The Penalty of Death" and will say a few words about the online responses to Sabin/Goodall.

Please post your own modest proposals (minimum 250 words) in the "Comments" section below--advancing an absurd proposition through various argumentative techniques (appeal to ethics, reason, emotion).  This assignment should be completed by Sunday, 2/13/11. Have fun with it!

All best,

Prof. Williams