[SOLVED] Researched Argument

[SOLVED] Researched Argument

Researched Argument

Choose any one work we have read about which you have not yet written. (If you would like to trace and discuss commonalities between texts – texts that address similar themes or use similar literary devices – you may write about up to two short stories. If you choose a play, you need to write about one play or the other. If you choose the novel, you will need to write only about the novel.) Write a thesis statement that makes an interpretive claim about that work (The author(s) does X in the work to convey Y), and prove it in the body of your essay. Check your thesis statement handout on Blackboard as a reminder of strong and weak theses. Remember to avoid recalling plot as a thesis. Remember also that a strong thesis addresses what you want to argue and how you will prove your claim. You are arguing that your interpretation of your text(s) is correct. Look to class PowerPoints to refresh your memory on the characteristics of each genre. This essay is primarily literary analysis. It must include close engagement with primary text(s) in each body paragraph – meaning you will need to cite your primary text in the Works Cited page as well as in-text.

After you have chosen both a work and theme (e.g. nature’s role in Civil War memory), form a rough idea of what you may want to argue – a working thesis (e.g. Each poet presents nature as sympathetic to his or her cause as a justification of their efforts). Then, find 3-5 scholarly sources that will help you to develop your claim and join the ongoing critical conversation. This means articles of literary criticism/scholarship from the CSU library databases (JSTOR, MLA International Bibliography, and Literary Reference Center are good ones to use for literary research) or from Google Scholar, not from a blog, website, Wikipedia, Shmoop, Cliff Notes, Sparknotes, Grade Saver, LitCharts and the like, or standard Google search. You want to use these sources to inform your argument, support your argument, or serve as a counterargument that you will rebut to strengthen your own claim. You should not simply paraphrase or summarize someone else’s argument instead of writing your own. You will be synthesizing information from your own ideas, the primary text(s) (work(s) you choose to write about), and secondary sources.

Thesis Examples:
•    The pattern of flashbacks interrupting “This Is What It Means” mirrors Thomas’ story-telling and allows Alexie to model the double-consciousness of Native American identity in a society assimilated with modern American culture. (This essay would then go on to comment on the other literary elements within the narrative structure: character, setting, symbolism, etc.)
•    Chopin’s juxtaposition of Mrs. Mallard’s enclosed environment with its open features reflects the conflict between the constraint of social expectations for a wife and grieving widow and the implicit freedom that release from marriage presents.

Make a list of observations, and look for connections. Form an outline then a draft. Please consider taking your ideas, outline, or draft to the Writing Center. Please review API Chapter 15 for guidelines and advice and Chapter 21 for a sample essay. See “Sample Source Integration” and “How to Synthesize” for a model and instructions for incorporation of secondary source material into your essay. Pretend your sources work for you; you direct them where to go and what to communicate in your essay. Prioritize your ideas, and use the source material to support them.


Your introduction is an implicit argument that your audience should read your essay. Briefly summarize the ongoing debate surrounding your topic – including the views of particular topics. Explain what your essay has to add to the debate – what does it do differently than what others have done? How does it contradict or add complexity or further evidence to what others have already claimed? Develop a thesis statement – a disputable claim, something it is possible to disagree with, that addresses the prompt. Your entire essay, following the introduction, should aim to prove your thesis statement. Your thesis should be the last sentence of the introduction.

Each paragraph should begin with a topic sentence, a thesis statement for that particular paragraph. Each sentence in the paragraph that follows should work to prove that topic sentence. Each sentence should build logically upon the one before it, just as each paragraph should build logically upon the preceding paragraph. (Ex. You must demonstrate that “The Swimmer” is set in Suburban America before discussing why it is set there.)

Each paragraph must include a main idea (topic sentence), citation (textual evidence – usually a quote, though paraphrases and summaries may sometimes suffice), and explanation of how the evidence supports the claim. Incorporate and interpret evidence from secondary sources to support your claim. Don’t forget to end each paragraph with a transition into the next.

Please refrain from merely summarizing your essay. It is short enough that I have not forgotten what you wrote on page 1. Do restate your thesis (in different words), and then try answering the “So what” question: why does your interpretation of the text matter? What does the text offer to its contemporary society and/or to ours? What should other scholars investigate about the text? Try to leave your readers with food for thought, not just with a recap of an already short essay. But do avoid making new interpretations/claims in the conclusion. You should have proven your claims in the body of the essay.

Notes: Keep plot summary throughout the essay to a minimum. You are writing a literary analysis, not a book report, so you only need to provide brief summary when necessary to making a point (e.g. when you are using a plot event as evidence of a claim).

Always write about literature in present tense; the story happens anew each time you read it. Keep the tone formal: avoid personal pronouns (e.g. I, you, we, etc.), contractions, and slang.

•    TNR, 12 pt. font, double-spaced
•    1 in. margins on each side
•    No extra spaces between sentences or paragraphs
•    Use an MLA-style header and page numbers.
•    Create MLA-style citations (in-text and Work[s] Cited).
•    Format entire paper according to MLA 9 guidelines: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/
•    If you need to block quote, make sure you do so sparingly and properly.
•    Use standard written English to govern grammar and mechanics.
•    4.5-6 pages (1350-1800 words), excluding Works Cited

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