Texts: One of the stories from the PEN/O. Henry should be used as a foundation for your research paper and group project. For the research project, decide on both a theme and a perspective from the short story you would like to explore. Because you are working with at least one other person for the group project, make sure that you discuss with your group members how you will divide the projects and the research. Once you’ve decided on a theme and a perspective, conduct a search to find at least six additional sources to develop and support your research paper. (It is required that you have seven sources documented throughout your paper: the original story counts as one, and the supporting sources should make up the rest.) The other sources can be made up of journal articles, books, and critical commentaries written about the work and/or author. Please severely limit internet sources.  If you use any general internet searching, you must get your sources approved by me. Keep in mind, your paper will be evaluated in great part by the extent and quality of your research. You should be able to find a good deal of information from the MiraCosta Library, either through the literature databases or in the stacks (goodness, real books!). You may not use any encyclopedic entries as support for your paper.

Discussion: The essays written in English 201 up to this point should prepare students for the final formal paper of the semester–the research paper. Through this capstone project, I ask that you integrate the writing skills you’ve aquired into a larger, more comprehensive, and more complex paper.

For the research paper, your goal should be to write a paper that explores a theme and a perspective you have discovered in a short story from the PEN/O. Henry. Your research, including general information and critical commentary, should support an arguable, thesis-driven paper.

“Theme”: Put simply, a theme is a topic plus a claim about that topic. Each of the stories found in the PEN/O. Henry includes several themes. Determine which theme is most interesting to you. Be sure to work with your group members so that you each work with a separate theme.

“Perspective”: As you begin the brainstorming process, it may be best to start with a perspective. Often, an interesting theme can be discovered through consideration of a perspective. All semester, we have focused on using an outside perspective to inform your essays and responses. For the research paper, use what you’ve learned about perspectives to help you write an interesting, complex paper. Ask yourself these types of questions:

Does the author’s story teach readers about culture, history, psychology, Marxism, postcolonialism, feminism, modernism, etc.?

Does an understanding of culture, history, psychology, Marxism, postcolonialism, feminism, modernism, etc. help the reader understand the author’s work?

As I evaluate your research paper, I will be looking for complexity and depth of thought. Using a perspective to inform your paper will strengthen the likelihood of a high evaluation.

Annotated Bibliography: You will be expected to include with your paper an annotated bibliography. Put simply, an annotation follows the citation and is a somewhat brief paragraph that explains pertinent information about the author and the content of the source cited. Annotated bibliographies help the writer gather and determine the best research for his or her paper.

Task: For your research paper, I ask that you write a 6-8 page thesis-driven essay that explores a theme and a perspective from one story found in the PEN/O. Henry. Your essay should be well-supported with at least seven different sources. You must synthesize good, solid research into your own writing. All quotes and paraphrases must be cited correctly within the paper, and all sources cited correctly within your Annotated Bibliography.

Requirements: MLA, 10-12 font, 6-8 pages in length, 7+ sources, correct in-text documentation, and a Works Cited list.


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