Helpful hints for Writing a Research Paper: See Topics See page discussing MLA Format (i.e. using proper header, etc. ) See page listing more general hints for a Critical Response
Again, remember that this is a Critical response paper,
NOT a Personal response paper.
It is also an ARGUMENT Paper, not a REPORT Paper. Do not
provide a history of the French Revolution or a biography of
William Wordsworth. You may, however, analyze specific
works by Wordsworth and explain the ways in which they
demonstrate characteristics associated with period.
Please!! Avoid making comparisons
to Present Day Society !!! Such comparisons almost never
have a basis in actual textual analysis !!
Avoid plot summary! Use quotes from only those
sections of the text immediately relevant to your discussion!
Use past tense to discuss historical or biographical
events, but present tense when discussing literature.
Be very careful when making references to the class
textbook. For example, William Wordsworth is the author
of The Prelude. Susan Wolfson and Peter Manning
are the editors of the text in which The Prelude
Wordsworth, William. The Prelude. The
Longman Anthology of British Literature. 3rd Ed. Vol.
2A. Ed. Susan Wolfson and Peter Manning. NY:
Longman, 2006. 452-516.
(Note: only the first line should be flush with the
margin; subsequent lines should be tabbed over. It's called
reverse indent, if you want to look it up.)
Do Not Number the Entries in a Works Cited.
When citing verse, use slashes to show line breaks and
cite by line (or act.scene.line for plays).
Avoid plagiarism !! See Policy
On a related note, please be very selective about the
sources you utilize from the internet. The ideal sources are
those found on jstor.org or the Literature Resource Center or
MLA Bibliography--essays that have been previously published
in journals or books and are now available online.
AVOID the Following Sites!! These are NOT ACCEPTABLE
sources (and this is not a complete list, but you should get
the idea) !!!
USE SPELL-CHECK !
Other Mechanical Issues:
DO NOT USE A COVER PAGE !!!!
Use only ONE edition of your primary source. If you
wish to refer to an editor's introduction to another edition,
cite by the editor's name.
Be sure to use quotation marks for titles of shorter
works, such as poems and short stories, and italics for
titles of longer works, such as plays, epic poems and
Do not rely too heavily on secondary sources. The
number of citations to your primary source should be roughly
equivalent to the total number of references to ALL your
secondary sources combined.
Do NOT use secondary source material to summarize plot or
quote from the primary source.
Make sure it is clear WHOSE ideas you are presenting. If
Critic A is quoting Critic B, and you use the quote, your
citation should say (Qtd. in Critic A #). The #, of course,
refers to the page number in Critic A's text.
Avoid unnecessary changes to quotes. Instead of
saying, "Wollstonecraft describes, '[She] felt hopeless'
(24)," say, "Wollstonecraft describes that she 'felt hopeless'
Avoid using direct quotes in either your introduction or
conclusion. Discussion in these two paragraphs should be
Do not use quotes as the subjects of sentences: The quote
"---------" (29) shows that. . . or
"-----------" (87) means that . . .
Don't use "in which" when you mean "that."
Don't use "that" when you mean "who" (i.e. when referring
USE PRESENT TENSE TO DISCUSS LITERATURE !!!!!
Possible Research Paper
Contrasting Portrayals of Similar Subjects in Blake's Songs
of Innocence and Experience
Biblical Imagery in "The Rime of Ancient Mariner"
Physical and Mental Degradation in Mary Prince or Equiano
Abolitionist portrayal of Africans: Equiano, Prince,
Wordsworth, Blake, or Southey
Wollstonecraft’s Theories in Wollstonecraft’s Maria,
Austen's Pride and Prejudice [or Emma
(depending on which text we've read)], Hemans's poems, or
Male and Female Views of Marriage in Pride and
Prejudice or Emma (depending on which text
Comparison of views on French Revolution: Burke,
Wollstonecraft, Paine, Godwin
Portrayal of French Revolution in Wordsworth' s poetry
Characteristics of the Lyrical Ballads (as per
Preface) in Coleridge's Ancient Mariner or
Wordsworth's poems from the collection
Relationship between Human and Nature in Coleridge,
Wordsworth, or Blake
The figure of the poet in Wordsworth's Preface to Lyrical
Ballads, Byron's Introduction to Don Juan, and
Percy Shelley's "Defence of Poetry."
Role of Women in Pride and Prejudice or Emma
(depending on which text we've read)
Pride and Prejudice in Pride and Prejudice or Emma
(depending on which text we've read)
Primogeniture in Pride and Prejudice or Emma
on which text we've read)
Representations of the Gothic in Coleridge or Mary
Shelley (See Discussion of Gothic Elements )
Justice in Coleridge's "Ancient Mariner" or Shelley's Frankenstein
Interpersonal Relationships (Parent/Child, Husband/Wife,
etc.) in Frankenstein
Dream Imagery in Frankenstein
Doppelgangers in Frankenstein
Isolated Figures: Ancient Mariner, Victor
Frankenstein, Frankenstein's Creature