Critical Paper Joyce Carol Oates, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”
The Critical Paper is a brief research paper that combines your discoveries about a work or works with what you can cull from appropriate research sources. The Critical Paper focuses on YOUR analytical thinking, however, not the comments from those research sources; the voice of the paper must be overwhelmingly yours. In addition, the Critical Paper will NOT involve biography, as the focus is on the literature itself and not the author's life; besides, narrator and author are two separate entities. You have two options in completing the Critical Paper; those options concern the topic and approach only. All other requirements listed below remain the same: Instructions: Your thesis must be approved by the instructor. Prior to submitting your Critical Paper, you must submit to your instructor via Blackboard messages: Topic, Thesis, and Outline. These will be due in specific lessons. You will be instructed in the learning activities section when to submit these assignments. Use MLA format for this typed paper of 4-5 full text pages. If you are unfamiliar with MLA format, check Simon and Schuster Handbook Ch. 31-34 for information, go online to the MLA websites available (http://webster.commnet.edu/mla/index.shtml for example), or ask me. The library, the English department, and I all have copies of the official MLA Handbook for your perusal. Save all work on disk! The work you choose to research is your primary source. You must cite lines from the primary source in order to supplement your analysis, to show the reader what you are explaining and to help specifically prove your point. You must also cite from a minimum of 3 additional critical sources. A critical source is one that comments upon or analyzes the text, the specific subject of your paper (be careful here!) and/or the writer’s techniques used in the text. Your textbook is not a critical source, as it presents the work itself for you to read and analyze. On-line sources are acceptable if they are reliable (see Simon and Schuster Handbook for more explanation of determining reliability); however, you may only use two online sources in your paper. Masterplots, Cliffs Notes, Barron's, BookRags, Pink Monkey, WIKIPEDIA, Spark Notes, enotes, Classic Notes and any other similar items are not acceptable critical sources since they merely summarize the work; while you may use the Bible as a reference, it does not count as a critical source because it does not comment upon your author’s work. In addition, paper mills such as 123helpme.com and freeessays.com are NOT acceptable sources. If you are unsure of your source’s value, please check with the instructor. Include a formal outline, thesis, and works cited page in the same file as an attachment by the assignment's due date; do not send separate files for each. No title page is desired for this assignment. Synthesis is crucial. Avoid merely copying what your sources express without paying attention to how the data works in your paper. This assignment is not a clustering of well-written quotes from critics. Keep citations to a minimum—15% of your whole paper. The paper must remain yours, with your writing dominating the discussion—in third person (this is not a personal response essay) Research Proposal, Preliminary Research Outline, and Annotated Bibliography must be included also Approaches to Consider for Option II only: Traditional paper—examine themes, characters, imagery, irony, or other literary techniques. Historically-based paper—consider the social, political, or religious events that influenced this work and other works during the period. Note that this is NOT a history paper; your work must be based upon the literature and how history influenced it; therefore, the focus will be on the novel, not the history. The majority of your resources should be literary resources, as well. Current discussion—Is the work relevant to today, to our situations, problems, etc? Be specific in your answer, providing details from current issues. Remember also that the paper is to focus on the text itself, not provide a running list of current situations. You must make the appropriate connections for the reader. The majority of your resources should be literary resources, as well. Comparison/contrast—discuss how the work relates to or opposes another work read in class. The Critical paper will be written in the third person. Yes, you are forming an opinion of the text you read, but you will present that opinion in terms of statements of fact, not prefaced by "I think", "I believe", or any other first-person statements. You are the authority in your own analysis, so simply state your analysis. All literary assignments are written in the present tense.