Composition 2: Literature as Salvation? Paper Three Prompt: Research on Drama (total 30% of final grade) Annotated Bibliography: 5% Research Paper Proposal 5% Research Paper: 20% The Glass Menagerie, arguably one of the most famous American plays holds, as the expression goes, “something for everyone.” It is no wonder, as the play is a story of family, futures, dreams, and nightmares. Student papers on The Glass Menagerie could explore a host of complex issues, including the nature of personal dreams, our purpose in life, family relationships, or an exploration of other relationships present in the play. However, all such prompts provide students something to look for instead of asking students themselves to engage in close reading and bring something to the text. Close reading is defined, insofar as literary analysis is concerned, as a sustained analysis of a single word, line, passage, or idea that sheds greater light on the entire work itself. Some will call this skill an explication de texte. Reading a piece of literature this way, then, allows scholars and students of literature to engage in an objective examination of a literary element—structure, imagery, style, metaphor, motif, to name a few. An explication often arises from a series of observations or a reader bringing his or her personal interest into work, allowing a degree of reader-response theory into the analysis of the work. As one Georgetown University professor puts it, “This exercise does not consist of giving opinions, feelings, or judgments; one must argue and affirm that argument through the use of examples from the text and/or outside knowledge (about the author, the genre, the time, or the rest of the work in question).” With The Glass Menagerie, you will be engaging in an explication de texte, a close-reading. Instead of being assigned something to look for, you will be asked to bring your interest—perhaps your college major—into your reading of the play and your final paper for this class. How may this be accomplished? For instance, if your major is related to music, you may pursue an essay entitled “Music in The Glass Menagerie.” If you are studying English, you may write on something like “Williams’s Use of Symbolism in The Glass Menagerie.” Let’s say we’re studying something more forensically inclined: “Tom’s Worried Mind.” I’m sure you’re getting the picture. The point of this exercise, though you may not be a literature major, is to find your interests within one of the greatest stories in modern American Literature, and, moreover, to analyze how that element of the story contributes to the play and reveals a deeper significance and meaning in the work at large. Proposal Requirements: • Identify your topic. •
Distill some of your main ideas and concerns. • Construct an abstract (this will be the bulk of your proposal: 100-200 words). • Write your thesis (this can change, but provide a sentence or two that formulates what your major argument will be). Annotated Bibliography Requirements: • Follow the example I provided. • Each entry should be about 150 words and include a summary of the source (about half of the entry), an evaluation of the source (about a quarter), and an application of it (about the final quarter). • You must provide three annotations, all of them scholarly. Research Paper Requirements: • Have a clearly defined thesis, argument, paragraph structure, and organizational system. • Proofread for grammatical correctness, academic style, and spelling. • Be sure to integrate quotes well and properly cite all sources. • All papers should conform to proper MLA style. • All drafts should be double spaced and proofread for error. • All papers, including this one, should be in size 12, Times New Roman font. • Your name should appear on the first page and in the header of every page along with the page number. • In addition to quoting from the text itself, you must use at least three scholarly sources (a scholarly book, a scholarly journal article, conference proceedings, etc.). • The proposal, annotated bibliography, and final drafts are due by the due date indicated on the syllabus via eLearn. • Final Drafts should be at least 1200 words.
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