English 105 Hawthorne Paper Evaluation Criteria _______________________

1) CRITICAL INSIGHT: Does the paper explain a sufficiently important insight regarding the work(s) it discusses? (I.e., perception of the author's intentions in formal structure, theme/imagery, characterization, plot construction and details, or other techniques.)

 To improve this aspect of the paper, help the author identify the best readers' likely assumptions about the insight, and help develop the insight's importance to readers' overall understanding of the story and Hawthorne's authorial strategies.


2) SUPPORTING EVIDENCE: Does the paper support its insight with appropriate primary source evidence of sufficient quality and quantity?

  To improve this aspect of the paper, find other evidence in the story or stories that helps make the insight seem more likely to be true, or warn the author about the existence of evidence which suggests the opposite might be true.


Does it use any secondary sources, are they of sufficient quality and currency, and are they properly acknowledged?

To improve this aspect of the paper, make sure any secondary sources used are scholarly.  Suggest scholarly alternatives to any non-scholarly sources.  Help find additional sources to improve the paper's explanation of its insight.


Are quotations and paraphrase from all sources smoothly integrated into the argument and documented?

 To improve this aspect of the paper, read aloud to the author the sentences that use sources and make sure they work properly.  Check the parenthetical citations against the online course Style Sheet.


3) THESIS: Does the paper's thesis clearly control the argument with enough abstract reasoning to grasp significant and debatable understandings, and with enough focus to avoid wandering generalizations?

  To improve this aspect of the paper, make sure the thesis is referred to in every paragraph, from first to last.  Bring up alternative theses, especially the "antithesis" or opposite opinion, and test the evidence against them.  If an alternative thesis works better, convince the author to change her/his mind.  If the alternatives do not work better, help to add a paragraph or two that considers them and explains why they are less successful than the author's thesis in explaining the evidence.


4) TITLE, INTRODUCTION, PARAGRAPH TRANSITION, AND CONCLUSION: Does the paper's title clearly reveal the topic and indicate significant elements of the thesis?

To improve this aspect of the paper, help revise the title to make it more specifically describe the topic and thesis the paper argues, or offer a new title.


Does the introduction clearly introduce the thesis, keywords, and topic order?

To improve this aspect of the paper, help the author remove any words or phrases that redundantly tell the best readers things that they already know (e.g., ""Hawthorne's short story, 'Young Goodman Brown,' published in 1835").  Make sure the thesis, and its basic explanatory logic, are clearly revealed by the end of the introduction.


Do paragraph transitions clearly explain the topic order and link to the thesis?

To improve this aspect of the paper, improve the order in which the paragraphs appear, or clarify at the start of each paragraph why the topic of the former is shifting to this new topic.  Look for "Another" and "Also" transition sentences as signs the author has not yet discovered the ordering logic.


Does the conclusion take advantage of the thesis' consequences for the work's significance?

To improve this aspect of the paper, help the author answer the best readers' "So what?" question by exploring what this paper's insight might mean for the story's political, moral, aesthetic or other values its best readers might bring to it.  Think about what this paper's insight might mean for readings of other Hawthorne short stories or novels.  Might it apply elsewhere in his work, and why, and why might that matter to us?

5) PROSE AND DOCUMENTATION STYLES: Does the paper follow the conventions of academic word use, grammatical sentence construction, and coherent paragraph construction?

To improve this aspect of the paper, read aloud any sentences that rise above simple declarative sentences.  Look for places where commas may have been omitted where they are required to prevent misreading, especially around prepositional phrases.  Make sure introductory phrases do not confuse the reader about who or what is the subject of the sentence.  In long, complex or compound sentences, look for uses of the semi-colon and make sure it separates clauses that could stand alone as sentences (i.e., independent clauses).  The only other legal use for semi-colons is to separate items in a list when a comma could not be used because the list items, themselves, contain commas.


Does it follow MLA citation style?

        To improve this aspect of the paper, look carefully at the in-text citations and make sure every one of them contains an author's last name or short form of a title of an anonymous article that also appears on a hanging indented entry in the Works Cited section.  Make sure quotation marks and italics or underscoring are used properly to distinguish short, article-length works from book-length works.  Make sure book information is in "City: Publisher, Date" format.  Make sure all online sources have full bibliographic information, just as if they were paper-printed publications, but also make sure they include a durable URL and a "date viewed."  Make sure all entries are alphabetically organized by author's last name or first significant word of the title.  Make sure every Hawthorne story referred to in the text is present in the Works Cited in proper format.