English 254: American Literature II
Assignment Sheet: Paper #1
What is Due: Three page 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: Wednesday, February 6
Length: 3 pages, typed, double spaced, one inch margins.
A title is necessary, but a 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. This is your thesis. Then, focusing on one or two of the elements of fiction (e.g., characterization, plot, setting, imagery, point of view) or of poetry (e.g., diction, imagery, figurative language, symbol, tone, syntax, rhythm and meter), write an interesting, convincing paper in which you persuade your reader of the rightness of your thesis. If you would like, you may use one of the study questions provided on the web site as a starting point—answer the question and you have your thesis.
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.
consider using the excellent writing services offered free through the