English Literature Research Paper on The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne

ENC 1102 Research Assignment Fall 2018

Assignment: At this point in the semester, you should understand that we study literature is to
explore and understand the writer’s bigger message. We read literature, not to just find out what
happens, but to understand a writer’s commentary on the human condition. Therefore, we
continue to read works that are centuries old because they tell us of a time in the past whose
commentary on society, politics, human interaction, human challenges, and human triumphs are
In some of our readings this semester, you realized in Amy Tan’s “A Pair of Tickets” that
according to Tan, identity and culture are found in one’s family; you witnessed in John Updike’s
“A&P” that the conflict of the individual versus society often leads to ostracization; in Stephen
Crane’s the “Open Boat”, you noticed that human’s plight against nature is futile, and that human’s
place in the universe is insignificant. Of course, these authors did not come right out and make
these statements, but after reading their works, the reader can determine that with all the elements
of the story combined, these statements represent the commentary the writers make on the larger
scale. Although these characters and settings are often fictional, readers can still see how the
messages and themes in literature are very much real.
Your purpose in this assignment is to reflect on how a similar theme is represented in one short
story or play by one writer in the list below. You will craft an essay that identifies the writer’s theme
and explores elements in the work like setting, characters, plot sequence, symbols, character’s
development, epiphany, and conflict to show how they help shape the writer’s theme. Some we
have read or will read; while others we will not touch upon in class. Explore each reading and
choose one from the list below to write an essay discussing the work’s theme and how the story’s
elements reveal that theme. You’ll notice that some works have more than one theme, choose the
one that speaks to you or the one that is most prominent in the work.
Familiarize yourself with these two important definitions:
Primary Source: the stories or plays written by the author
Secondary Source: essays and criticisms written by others about the author’s works
Secondary sources for this assignment must be scholarly and credible sources; you should be
seeking out “literary criticism” based on these works. This means that your sources will critically
evaluate and analyze the works you choose. Please see week EIGHT’s module for samples of
critical essays.
Works to Choose From
Stephen Crane “The Open Boat” Charlotte Perkins-Gilman “The Yellow Wallpaper”
Nathaniel Hawthorne “The Birthmark” William Faulkner “Barn Burning”
Tim O’Brien “The Things They Carried” Ernest Hemingway “Hills like White Elephants”
Herman Melville “Bartleby the Scrivener” Henrik Ibsen A Doll’s House
Susan Glaspell Trifles
Stages of the Writing Process & Schedule of Deadlines
Brainstorm Discussion: (100 points) The first step in this assignment is to brainstorm ideas and
pose possible thesis statements to your discussion group for feedback and direction. Please see the
directions for the individual discussion in Week Eight. Due Thursday 10/11, 11:59pm
Thesis Statement: (5points) Your first step in this project is to craft a thesis statement. This ONE
sentence statement will identify theme of the work you chose. See course modules for help with
crafting a thesis statement for this assignment. Thesis statement is due Sunday 10/21, 11:59pm
First Draft: (10 points). Your first draft will be a complete essay, which means that you have a
recognizable introduction, body and conclusion. Your essay will contain quoted source material
from both the primary and the secondary sources and will contain a work cited page. The first
Draft is due Sunday, 11/4 by 11:59pm. See below for requirements for the first draft. Drafts that
do not contain the minimum requirements will not receive credit and will not receive feedback.
• Paper must be no less than 5 FULL pages and should not exceed 7 FULL pages. Work
Cited page(s) are not included in the page count.
• You must cite the primary sources (the short stories or plays you’re working with) + 5
secondary sources in the body of the essay. Sources must be varied; in other words, use
books and journals, and use print and electronic sources. All electronic sources must come
from Seminole State’s online databases. This means you cannot use sources from the
• Use only scholarly/reliable/credible sources; scholarly or peer-reviewed journals and book
length discussions are your best bets. Avoid citing plot summaries, reviews, and overviews of
your work.
• For each citation on the Works Cited page, you’ll need at least one corresponding
parenthetical citation in the body of your essay and vice versa. Your work cited page will
have no less than 6 different sources. (this includes a combination of the primary source and
the 5 secondary sources). Citations on the work cited page and in parenthetical references
must be accurate according to MLA documentation guidelines.
• DONOT under any circumstances cite Wikipedia, Bookrags, Sparknotes, or any other
source like this. Your sources must be scholarly, critical essays written on your subject/work
and should come from Seminole State’s online database collection.
• Paper must exhibit correct MLA for format and documentation. Use OWL at Purdue and
the Little Seagull Handbook for correctly formatting your paper and for correctly citing your
• In-text (parenthetical) citations must be correctly punctuated and connected to the
respective paragraph with lead in, quotation, parenthetical citation, and analysis.
• Paper must be written in THIRD person only
• Individual quotes should contain no more than three lines of essay content. Do not use
large, blocked quotations for this assignment.
• Each body paragraph should contain at least ONE quote from the primary source and
ONE quote from a secondary source, yet be sure not to overquote. Only 20% of your paper
should be quoted material; the rest should be your own analysis.
Second Draft: (5 points) The second draft of this assignment will contain signific