Research Paper: The Great Gatsby

English II Research Paper: The Great Gatsby

Throughout the year, we have delved into texts that cover many important topics such as the human experience, gender equality, racism, identity, and poverty among many others while picking apart the effects of an author’s intent, characterization, symbolism, motifs, themes, and more. In this paper, you will write a literary analysis of The Great Gatsby that synthesizes the ideas of other critical minds in order to support your argument.

Research Paper Goals:

Students will demonstrate mastery of

· The synthesis of multiple perspectives on a topic

· The inquiry process

· The advancing of an explanation or analysis of a topic

· The use of evidence to support claims

· Proper quote integration

· Proper MLA format and citation

PROMPT:

Choose one of the following

1. How do the characters in The Great Gatsby define themselves as individuals? How does that compare to American society’s views at the time? You might consider limiting your analysis to 1-2 characters.

2. Analyze the portrayal/progression of one or more of the characters in the novel. How do they/don’t they change over the course of the text, and what is Fitzgerald attempting to suggest through their portrayal? You could choose to focus on one character, characters in contrast, or the various female characters for instance.

3. Select one symbol and examine how that symbol functions in the work and what it reveals about the characters or themes of the work as a whole.

4. What is Fitzgerald suggesting to readers in regards to modern society? The American Dream? The focus on the past? Or another topic of your choice? Through his presentation of particular characters, events, symbols, etc., what is Fitzgerald attempting to tell his readers in regards to this concept?

5. Make up a prompt of your own – this must be approved BEFORE class on Tuesday, March 15, so you can move on with the next parts of the assignment with the rest of the class.

A Few Notes on Research:

*You must use 1 secondary source. You will synthesize the arguments made in this source with your own analysis, thus ADDING TO the overall conversation about the book in a meaningful way. Your sources are used to facilitate your argument, not stand in place of your own analysis.

*You should focus your research on Database sources (EBSCO, Gale Virtual Reference Library, JSTOR – see Lane Tech Library Page for more). Minimal Internet use is encouraged from credible sites only.

· If searching outside of a Database, use Google Scholar. Sources that end in .com are generally not appropriate and should be avoided (there are minimal exceptions to this general rule).

· While your usage of websites may be limited, you are welcome to use ebooks at your own discretion.

Troubleshooting your paper:

Problem: Your thesis and topic sentences are too limiting.

Solution:

1. Establish a debatable, specific, and intellectually stimulating thesis statement in your introduction

2. Make sure you can articulate the guiding principle, or logic, behind your organization

3. Subtopics of your essay develop analysis and argument in a logical way

4. Clear away the stifling fluff

Problem: There is no life in your paper: incoherent paragraphs, wavering support, decontextualized materials, and flickering research.

Solution:

1. Establish unity by finding the “key” word in the topic sentences of the paragraphs. If everything in the paragraph does not somehow relate back to that “key” word, your paragraph lacks unity.

2. Establish coherence by using logical transitions and connections through coordination of ideas

3. Illustrate specific incidents from sources (like the film) instead of summarizing the plot.

4. Use direct quotations, summary, and paraphrase wisely by working evidence from your sources into nearly every page of your paper.

5. Synthesize your research throughout your essay and avoid dividing your paper up by source

6. Make sure you choose, read, understand, use, and explain quality sources.

Problem: Your diction is uncontrolled throughout your paper.

Solution:

1. Read your paper to someone who doesn’t know your topic and who you know won’t be “nice” to you. Is there understanding the same as you intended?

2. Extract all linking verbs, passive voice, and lame transition words.

Problem: Silly mistakes are weakening the presentation of your hard work.

Solution:

1. Polish your MLA format

2. Proofread for grammar, mechanics, and usage

Requirements for Final Draft:

· MLA format

· 2-3 pages long

· 1 credible secondary source used

· MLA parenthetical citations and a works cited page

· All quotes embedded effectively

· An argument is developed with a line of reasoning

Timeline:

AssignmentPointsDue on GC or shown in class
GG Quotes for chosen topic10Tues, March 15 (BOC)
Secondary Source chosen5Friday, March 18 (BOC)
Secondary Source quotes chosen5Fri, March 18 (EOC)
Secondary Source Quotes Analyzed10Fri, March 18 (EOC)
Rough Thesis Statement (Revise what you have)10Monday, March 21 (BOC)
Revised Thesis Statement and 1 Body Paragraph10Tues, March 22 (EOC)
Final Draft100Wed, March 30 by 11:59pm

**BOC=beginning of class; EOC=end of class

Warning about PLAGIARISM:

The teacher reserves the right to give any student a failing grade for plagiarism on any of these assignments at their own discretion. They are NOT required to allow you to make up or redo plagiarized work. If you have questions about plagiarism, please ask BEFORE any assignment deadline passes.

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