Humanities 202
Developing a Research Paper Topic
(Make sure to go over the hints for writing a critical response paper before beginning work on this assignment  )
(See MLA Guidelines) The final deadline for turning in your topics is stated on the syllabus.
No topics or changes in topic will be accepted after that deadline. If you have not submitted a topic by that time, you cannot hand in a paper and you will lose twenty (20) points off of your final average.

Consider some of the Main Topics We've Discussed:

These are all good starting points into most of the works we've read, although you can take other approaches.

One such approach is to examine the works of a particular writer within the historical context during which it was written.  What, in other words, makes the works represent a particular period, culture, etc.?  The Harlem Renaissance is a popular topic in this regard.  However, please make sure that you are not just providing a historical background.  The main objective is to provide critical discussion of literature.

You can also examine the relationship between the author's life and the works he/she writes.  This would be especially significant to the slave narratives, although you may run the risk of "stating the obvious," so to speak.

Please Do NOT Write a Paper About Slavery itself. 
Of course, Slavery was a horrible, terrible institution. 
However, this discussion should be of a literary nature, 
critiquing the narratives themselves, not the subjects.

The biographical approach might be more interesting when looking at fiction,  Johnson or Poe for example.  Again, don't just provide a biography of an author.  Only discuss biographical details that are relevant to your discussion of the writer's works.

Once you have decided on a general topic to explore, you could go one of three ways: examine a couple of  shorter works by the same author, examine a longer work by one author, or examine a few short works by two different authors.  I would try not to examine more than one novel or play, two short stories, or three poems.

Some potential topics.  Keep in mind that for each of these topics,  you will need to develop an opinion or answer a question:

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