American Literature – Textbook: Norton Anthology of American Literature

CHOOSE ONE OR TWO TEXTS OF THE FOLLOWING NUMBERED LIST BELOW & WRITE A CRITICAL / RESEARCH PAPER

Textbook: Norton Anthology of American Literature
1. Norton Anthology of American Literature 1700-1820
2. Benjamin Franklin: The Way to Wealth and Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America
3. Thomas Jefferson: Autobiography and excerpt from the Declaration of Independence
4. Olaudah Equiano From The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano Chapters 1 thru 7

Read the Introduction to the Norton Anthology: “Literature to 1700”
INTRODUCTION (BEGINNINGS TO 1700)

1. William Bradford “Of Plymouth Plantation”
2. John Winthrop “A Model for Christian Charity”
3. Anne Bradstreet “Read All the Poetry Included in the Section”
4. Edward Taylor “Read All the Poetry Included in the Section”

Your research paper will involve analyzing a literary text or texts from our selected readings. The focus of your paper should be such that any class member would be able to recognize its relevance to the text(s) and/or major themes addressed on our discussion boards.

The primary reason for the research paper is to demonstrate your ability to apply the knowledge you have acquired of a specific theme in order to develop a working thesis. Your paper will be more relevant and convincing if you take a clear position, and include relevant and insightful secondary sources to support your assertions. You are encouraged not to stay on safe ground and simply “repackage” the conventional wisdom about one of our authors or topics. It will be more rewarding, albeit more challenging, to focus on a theme that has received little attention, is controversial, or lends itself to multiple interpretations.

Taking into consideration the above information, there are several approaches you may undertake in your research, such as comparing and contrasting more than one text, and/or authors, the development of a theme, plot pattern, aesthetic approach, character type, symbol, image, or recurring conflict.

Your primary text(s) must be from our selected course readings. In regards to secondary sources, you need to include at least FIVE outside sources. These secondary sources could include background research, such as historical, socio-economic information, that directly informs and elucidates your argument. Please follow the MLA format for documentation and mechanics. Your paper should be approximately 2000 words in length (6-8 pages).