English 254:    American Literature II

Assignment Sheet: Paper #1



What is Due: Argumentative essay making a clear point about one or more works on the syllabus. Please attach your rough draft to the final draft, clearly identifying each.


When it’s Due: Monday, April 28


Length: 3-5 pages, typed, double spaced, one inch margins. Title is necessary; title page is not.


Value: 20% of final grade


Topic: This paper should present a reasoned argument—that is, an argument that depends on reasons which are clearly based on evidence from the story or poem.  Choose one of the works on the syllabus—it would be easier, but not necessary, to choose one we have already discussed. Make a clear, interesting, and argumentative point about the work. Construct your argument using reasons and evidence from the text.



            1. Make certain that your thesis is clear and specific, that it’s arguable (meaning that reasonable people may disagree) and that it is well supported by organized, unified, and coherent paragraphs.

            2. Argue your position directly and forcefully. Present your reasons in clear topic sentences, and support those reasons with good evidence--examples and quotes from the work. Your evidence is at least as important as the logic of your argument.

            3. You will be evaluated on the effort you put into revision, as well as the quality of the final product. Please revise on paper, rather than on computer, so I can see your work.

            4. Carefully proofread your final draft for grammar and spelling. A well-written but poorly argued paper will not receive a high grade, but neither will a well-argued but poorly written paper.

            5. Please consider using the excellent writing services offered free through the Writing Center in APS.