Final Paper Requirements
The Second Paper must be concerned with at least two works of literature we will have read by the end of the course, and the primary focus may not be on a text read before the midterm exam. You also can write on two parts of one major work from the second half of the course (e.g., Volpone, Paradise Lost, Oroonoko, The Way of the World). There is no page length minimum, and no page length maximum. As long as the papers sincerely engage at least two texts (or parts of a major text, see above), I will evaluate them on the quality of their argument, not on the quantity of their verbiage. Because serious literary analysis always pays attention to the work of other scholars on its topic, I require you to refer to at least some scholarly secondary sources. That means sources from scholarly journals (including peer-reviewed online journals) and books published by university presses, including essay collections. Wise students will use scholarship in the paper's introduction to establish the current issues relevant to their authors or primary texts, and to solve problems in demonstrating their theses. Sometimes they will develop the paper as a productive debate with a critic whose views they dispute, seek to extend, or hope to modify. They also will not use sources only for the sake of a requirement, and they will use sources that are recent, or at least still of lasting quality. They will not neglect article-length sources because articles are more likely to deal with issues of the same intellectual weight as a student's paper. For more detailed assistance in using scholarly sources as scholars use them, see this page. Writing Center tutors can help you learn to use the MLA Bibliography and other research resources, and you also talk to Randy Smith the other reference desk librarians specially trained in bibliographic search strategies (x6365), if you need help finding, selecting, and evaluating leads. The policy on emailed and hand-delivered papers, as well as deadline extensions, is the same as it is for the midterm paper. You would be well-advised to request confirmation that I received the paper.
Please talk with me or send an email message describing your thesis before you start writing. I may be able to help you focus your thesis, and I also may be able to save you from errors which could damage the paper. Once you have your thesis, feel free to see me, call or email me for advice on developing it. Remember, most of all, that many Writing Center tutors have taken this course and can help you.
For a checklist to keep you from missing obvious things just before you turn in the paper, click here.