DE ENGL 2323
Due: 9 a.m. on Friday, October 4th
Word Count: 1000+ words (you may go above 1000 words with no penalty, but you may not go below 1000
words. If your essay is under 1000 words, 10 points will automatically be deducted from your grade. Please put
the word count at the top of your essay)
Submission Requirements: You need to upload your essay as a Word file attachment (.doc or .docx) by the
deadline to Assignment and to the appropriate external Turnitin link.
Note: You do need to go to the external Turnitin website.
Lateness Policy: NO LATE WORK WILL BE ACCEPTED.
Your essay should be written in your own words. Any work that is plagiarized—whether it is a little or a lot—will
automatically receive a grade of 0 which is non-negotiable, and the work cannot be made up. You may quote
and/or summarize from the sources you use for this essay as long as you cite them in parentheses in your essay
in correct MLA format.
Choose one of the following stories, novels, plays, or poems for your research paper. You may wish to read the
introduction to the author and then to read the first few paragraphs of the story, novel, or play to help you make
your choice. I suggest that you read your primary source (the story, novel, or play) before looking for
commentaries (secondary sources), since you'll want to experience it as literature with all its interesting details
and surprises first. Once you have made your choice, read carefully and take notes, jotting down any questions
that occur to you as you read. These questions will be part of your research paper.
From the Romanticism Era
1. William Blake, Songs of Innocence (If you choose Blake, you will have to read at least 5 poems in Songs
2. William Blake, Songs of Experience (If you choose Blake, you will have to read at least 5 poems in Songs
3. Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
4. William Wordsworth, “Ode: Intimations of Immortality”
5. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”
George Gordon Byron, “Childe Harold's Pilgrimage”
From The Victorian Age
1. Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
2. Bernard Shaw, Mrs. Warren's Profession
3. Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest
4. Rudyard Kipling, The Man Who Would Be King
From the Twentieth Century and After (Volume F)
1. Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
2. James Joyce, The Dead
3. D. H. Lawrence, Odour of Chrysanthemums
4. Doris Lessing, To Room Nineteen
Preparing to Write the Essay
Find at least four commentaries (articles, interviews, overviews, critical essays, etc.) about the story,
novel, or play and take notes or highlight the parts that help in your understanding. You should use at
least two substantial quotations from each commentary in your paper. I encourage you to use
more than four commentaries (sources). Keep in mind that your research should focus on the literature
itself, not on the author, though you may find articles in which the author (writer of the primary source)
discusses the story, novel, or play, or you may find that the author's own life is relevant to the story in a
very specific way. The primary source (the story, novel, or play) does not count as one of the
four commentaries (secondary sources). This means that you will have at least five sources (including
the primary work itself) listed in your works cited.
Do NOT use:
• Internet (or print) sources that are "notes" or "summaries" of the primary source (CliffsNotes, Endnotes,
Classicnotes, Booknotes, Sparknotes, Novelguide.com, etc) (Anything with lots of advertisements should
• Student papers or free essays from websites such as/like 1234helpme.com, freeessays.tv,
gradesaver.com, sunflower.singnet.com, cbronte.com, bookrags, planetpapers.com, antiessays.com,
directessays.com, academon.com, echeat.com—I'm truly amazed at how many websites like this exist!
(These papers are often already plagiarized, or they are written by high school students with no real
evidence for their views.)
• Encyclopedias, especially Wikipedia, which is a good general reference but not always reliable, especially
not as literary criticism.
• Dictionaries--definitions of words aren't commentaries (though it's good to look up words, of course).
• Unsigned internet articles
• Books (biographies of the author, compilations of critical essays, critical studies of the story, novel or
• HCCS databases (especially Literature Resource Center). Choose the tab with "Literary Criticism,
Articles, and Work Overviews." You will also see that you can search by the title of the primary source,
which is very useful. There is a link to the library at the top of the homepage for the course.
• Movies or documentaries that relate to the the primary source
• Reliable websites (with authors listed)
• Websites with .org, .gov., .edu (unless the .edu is a student paper)
Accessing Databases from Home
All HCCS students are entitled to use the college databases while enrolled in Houston Community College.
Here is how to access the databases from home:
Log in to Student System, open the menu on the left titled Self Service and click on the link to Student Center.
Once you've done this, scroll down to the field titled Personal Information and click on the link to Demographic
Data. Your library barcode is the third number listed on this page, below your W-number.
You can also get a physical student ID card, which has your library barcode on the back. You can find more
information about getting your student ID card under Step 5: Obtain your photo ID.
Writing the Paper
Begin your paper with a brief discussion of the primary source itself—who the author is, when it was published,
and a very succinct (no more than a couple of sentences) precis or synopsis of the work. Then you need to
provide your thesis: this would be a sentence or sentences which synthesize what you have found out about your
source in the commentaries.
Then discuss each commentary (source) in a full paragraph for each source, letting the reader know what the
critics have said about your story, novel, or play. You may summarize the main points of each commentary, but I
would like at least one significant quote from each commentary. When you quote, you need to discuss the quote
in your own words immediately after the quote. Be sure to cite all summaries and quotes in correct, current MLA
Use clear transition words/phrases to connect your commentaries and ideas. Do not break up your essay into
sections with each commentary as a section title. Your essay should flow together as one clear document with
proper transitions that connect your ideas and paragraphs logically and fluidly.
The end of your essay should give an overall synthesis of what the commentaries say about your primary source.
NOTE: Please do NOT use the first person (I, me, my, mine, and personal opinions or experiences) in this essay.
It should be written in third person, academic format.
Include a Works Cited list at the end of the paper, listing all sources alphabetically, using MLA documentation
format. Be sure to list your primary source (the story, play, or novel you are writing about). You must follow
MLA format exactly. If you need help, let me know. You may wish to pick up a handout at the library or consult
the following website: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/
AS ALWAYS, LET ME KNOW IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS!
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