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English 102 / Essay 2: The Short Story Researched Essay /

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Okay, people, please respond to one of the following questions using essay form that incorporates MLA style. Your essay should have an essay map thesis and be between three to five pages (750 – 1,250 words) plus a Works Cited page (the Works Cited page is not counted towards the word count). The Works Cited page must reflect the short stories as taken from the text The Short Story and Its Writer (see syllabus for the text). You must use textual support for your assertions – that means you must quote directly from the text just like we have been doing during our class discussions.

Please keep in mind this is a researched essay, not a research paper, and as such, you should only incorporate one secondary source to support one of your arguments. Make sure your secondary source agrees or disagrees with one of your points in your essay map thesis. Remember, in English, there is no such thing as a “right” or “wrong” answer, only answers you can or cannot support by referring to the text. Please note the criteria for this assignment has been bolded. The essay is due on Friday, May 21st.

1. Compare and contrast the idea of community in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ “The Very Old Man with Enormous Wings,” with the idea of the community in Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery.”

2. Is Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” a horror story? Why or why not?

3. In Leslie Marmon Silko’s short story entitled “Yellow Woman,” the Yellow Woman in the traditional captivity narratives can be interpreted in several ways: As a girl who runs off with a man outside the tribe; as a raped and kidnapped married woman; as a spirit; or as a fertility archetype. Which way do you interpret the Yellow Woman in this narrative and why?

4. Compare and contrast the mothers in “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid and “Two Kinds” by Amy Tan. What kinds of lessons are they trying to teach?

6. What is the meaning of beauty in Sandra Cisneros’ “Barbie-Q”?

7. What is the lesson in “The Lesson” by Toni Cade Bambara?

Types of Sources for Research

There are basically three types of sources you can use for research.


· Primary sources make use of direct experiences

· Interviews

· Autobiography

· Photographs

· Historical Documents (these may include letters)

Secondary (this is what I want you to use for your research)

· Secondary sources make use of someone’s scholarly work who has researched the field you are researching and is considered an “expert” in the field

· Books on a subject

· Scholarly or academic articles

· Collections of photographs (do not use for this assignment)

· Collections of documents (do not use for this assignment)

· Recorded or transcribed interviews

· Newspaper and magazine reporting


Tertiary sources are encyclopedia articles, opinion pieces in newspapers or on the Internet. Often the writer is someone with an interest in the subject, but lacks experience or neutrality to give an objective point of view. These are sources that may be good to initiate your research, but they usually are not considered valid in a formal research paper or essay. Remember, you can change most of the articles on Wikipedia on your own, throwing off thousands of researchers.

Essay 2 Guidelines

Never summarize the work of literature you are responding to. You are analyzing/critiquing a work of literature, not telling your reader the story.

Always consider your audience: never abbreviate in a formal essay.

Never cite from the text in the introduction or the conclusion.

Always mention the title of the work and the author’s name in the introduction – it can even be a part of the thesis statement. Thereafter, when using textual support, you can just use the last name of the author.

You must come up with an original title for your essay.

Literature is always discussed in the present tense unless you are referencing an action happening in the past.

Essay 2 will be graded harder than Essay 1. Essay 1 was graded primarily on content. You must meet all of the criteria of the assignment – so make sure you understand what essay form, MLA style, and MLA citation for prose is, etc. Your last paper used poetry citation style, so don’t use that for this paper.

If you have bought the Rules for Writers book, then you are in good shape to produce an “A” level essay. If you didn’t, you can possibility still figure things out by making an appointment on line with the virtual Writing Center, or reviewing the information below.

If you do make an appointment with the Writing Center, don’t forget you must check in by email for your Writing Center appointment fifteen minutes before your session time at [email protected]

Proper MLA in-text citation style

This is called the signal phrase, and this is how you should introduce your quoted textual support. The purpose of the signal phrase is to make it clear to the reader who is saying what.

For example: Austen states, “____________” (50). Notice there is no punctuation at the end of the sentence from the quote except for exclamation points and question marks. If you are using a quote within a quote, it should be set-up like this: Austen says, “It was a dreary day when Mr. Wickham said, ‘Let’s go for a stroll by the river’” (42).

Grammar/MLA Style

Go to the LaGuardia Website and click on Library

Then, on the drop-down menu, choose Help. Then go to Citations, then MLA Style (8th Edition).

Under Tools choose Sample Paper. This will show you the MLA format, which you should incorporate in your paper.

To get a uniformly double-spaced essay (meaning there should be no extra lines between paragraphs, etc.), highlight your paper and right-click. Choose “paragraph,” and under “paragraph” choose “spacing.” You should make sure “before” and “after” is “0” and that the line spacing is set to “Double.”

Another useful site for essay writing:

Google: “Purdue Online Writing Lab” for help with any issues regarding essay writing and grammar.

The most common issues I found in your essays were:

1. Any paper that has a lower-case “i” as a pronoun will be downgraded one full grade. It is unacceptable on the college level to use a lowercase “i” for a pronoun.

2. Articles, pronouns, and verbs.

Articles (a, an, the) always precede a noun: A noun is a person, place or thing.

If there is any confusion with “a” or “an” usage, use “an” when the next word begins with a vowel.

Most common verb error: Has/Have

Use “has” with singular forms: She (singular) has a really nice car.

Use “have” with plural forms: They (plural) have to go to the gym at least twice a week.

Besides the lowercase “i”, the most common pronoun error is with:

“woman” “women”: A woman is one female. Women denotes two or more females.

Same with man/men.

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