Monday, April 13, 2015


DUE Saturday, April 25 at 11:30 PM VIA EMAIL

The documented research paper will show evidence of the extent to which students meet course objectives including, but not limited to, developing an analytical argument appropriate to the assignment, demonstrating the ability to manage essay structure and utilize MLA format. The paper will demonstrate originality, critical thinking and research skills, cite primary and secondary research sources, and include a Works Cited page.

As we discussed in class, you will write a fully documented and sourced research paper of between 7-10 pages based on one of the other major works we have discussed during the second half of the semester. This essay is worth 35% of your final course grade and will be written utilizing Modern Language Association guidelines. 

Again, you are welcome to revise and expand a previously submitted essay. You are also free to write on a different text from the course readings. If you want to focus on  “Bartleby the Scrivener,” or “Benito Cereno,” be sure to take notes. Suggested topics for some of these works include violence, morality, slavery, education, abolitionism, religion, alienation, industrialization, passive resistance, racism, manifest destiny, and the concept of the “unreliable narrator” (as exemplified in the short stories “The Tell-tale Heart” or “Bartleby the Scrivener” and the novella “Benito Cereno” ). Some of these themes overlap—your thesis should reflect your theme in a clear, well-articulated manner. 

You must use no less than four (4) secondary sources in the final version of your essay. At least two (2) of these secondary sources must consist of recent (no earlier than 2000) literary journal articles on your primary text. The additional two (2) sources may be books--biographical, collected works, or bound essays. They must be literature-based works based on your primary text and/or its author—not books or journals from other disciplines (i.e., sociology, psychology, education, anthropology, etc.). PLEASE REVIEW PREVIOUS POST ON DATABASE RESOURCES FOR PAPERS.

For this final research paper, YOU MAY NOT USE the following as sources, as they are NOT considered scholarly works: SparkNotes, 123HelpMe, GoodReads, Wikipedia, CliffsNotes, ClassicNotes, Enotes, GradeSaver, or any other student guides. All electronic sources must be approved by me at the time you submit your working bibliography. 

PLEASE NOTE: Simply re-wording summaries or analysis from another source constitutes plagiarism—your work must consist of YOUR OWN THOUGHTS AND WRITING—please don’t fail this course because of plagiarism. Make sure that you use quotation marks when you are using someone else’s words, and that you give proper credit to the source if you are paraphrasing.

Any Instance Of Plagiarism In The Research Paper Will Result In An Automatic “F” On The Entire Paper With No Possibility Of Revision.

Papers Graded Using the Following Criteria:

Clear thesis statement, well-organized supporting points and conclusion:     10 points

Cited adequately and correctly from the texts (primary and secondary):      10 points

Demonstrated writing strength (sentence structure, spelling, grammar):       10 points

Works Cited Page (properly formatted in MLA style, per guidelines):         5 points


Monday, April 6, 2015



Final Project: Group PowerPoint Presentation (15 pts) Class Participation (5 pts)

The members of each group (I have assigned you to groups in one of the five categories below--scroll to bottom) will focus on one of the sets of linked themes listed below, and to analyze those themes as they are manifested in Herman Melville’s novella, “Benito Cereno.” As some of these themes overlap, you may also interweave some of the other relevant thematic discussions from other readings done during the semester into this group presentation. 

Your major theme should be considered as the central, controlling idea of your piece—again, if you find that other themes of significance are surfacing and converging with your major theme as you develop your project, please note them. Your thesis should reflect your theme in a clear, well-articulated manner. 

Sample sub-themes: American exceptionalism, the evils of slavery, human depravity, aesthetics (beauty), individualism, slavery, education, abolitionism, Puritanism, religion, alienation, industrialization, Transcendentalism, slave revolts,  equality, ethics/morality, family, femininity,  hypocrisy, identity, insanity, justice/injustice,  literacy, loneliness, masculinity, monstrousness, morality, poverty, race relations, racism, rebellion, sexual exploitation, the unreliable narrator. Some of these themes overlap—your thesis should reflect your theme in a clear, well-articulated manner. You will use photographs and text (including quotes from the primary source and secondary source texts) to create a PowerPoint presentation of your work (maximum 15 minutes in length). 
You must include a slide listing the “Credits,” i.e., the specific contribution made by each group member. In addition, you must create a Works Cited Page as the final slide of your presentation, using MLA-style. Refer to the MLA Style Guide on the course blog for MLA-style compliance. At our final class meeting, the group members will present their projects. I encourage you to be as imaginative as possible with these presentations. Below is a list of the criteria for your PowerPoint, adapted from a rubric adapted from a former colleague.

The FINAL VERSION of the PowerPoint presentation must be emailed to me by Wednesday, 4/22.
Final Project Rubric for PowerPoint Presentation: The following categories provide a clear list of the elements that are expected in each group’s project, regardless of its form and purpose.  Use these criteria as a tool to produce persuasive communication by means of innovation, creativity, and polished reflection. 

NOTE: Each category for your individual effort is worth points, for a total of 14, along with an addition of 1 point for the overall group effort, for a maximum of 15 percent of the final grade. The other 5 points for this project is based upon your total class participation, and may bring your total to 20 percent.

Thesis and Purpose: 3 Points
How clear is your thesis? Is the topic compelling and relevant not only to your own interests but to an issue of larger significance? How well do the images illustrate both the thesis and its related ideas in a cogent manner?

Composition: 3 Points
Does the project follow a logical flow of thought? Do the major themes transition well across the group? Is the project free of grammatical errors? Did you proofread your slides to ensure that they are MLA-compliant?

Technical Image and Quality: 3 Points
How well have you integrated quotations, titles, subtitles, captions, and high-quality digital files into your presentation? How does the overall final project look, including captions, titles, transitions, audio, and image?

Caption Information and Presentation:  3 Points
Is there a clear integration of the visual and written composition of the final project? How well have you complemented your images with written text--relevant quotes from the main text, along with quotes from secondary sources? How does the written text (approximately 350 – 400 words) act to amplify and enhance the quality of the project as a whole? Are original insights supported by relevant research in your written text or is it merely expository? 

Delivery: 2 Points
How well have you delivered your presentation? Did you speak clearly audibly? Was your confidence in your oral delivery transmitted to your audience?

Group Effort: 1 Point
How well have you worked with your group members to create a unified presentation? Have you rehearsed your delivery (individually as well as with the group) to ensure a smooth presentation? Can it be used as a model for other students in the future? 

Total (Individual) ____ Total (Group) ____ GRAND TOTAL___________

Karla, Dion, Anndrea, Yolanda, Genesis, Kethley, Mike

Good vs. Evil
Yasmine, Brandon, Judith, Rastaniela, JaQuan, Darwin

Racial Stereotyping
Karen, Miguel, David, Ernst, Wendy, Hemphstone

Manifest Destiny
Wadiah, Hawa, Wesly, Daisy, Talayna, Jhonatan

Humanity vs. Savagery
Giovanna, Carlos, Oliver, Dean, Joselyne, Charles

Monday, March 16, 2015


Hi, class,

I am also providing you with basic database searching instructions--you will find this helpful for Essay #2, and it will be of even greater assistance to you when you begin work on the research paper in April.

Here are the instructions (the emphasis here is on the Literature Resource Center—LRC, as an example). To access The Literature Resource Center, and Contemporary Authors/Literary Criticism Select/Dictionary of Literary Biography, go to:

The password is: county

Click "Proceed"

Click on Literature Resource Center - LRC
1) When you get to the search box (FIND), just type in your search terms:


  • wheatley AND africa
  • equiano AND slavery
  • irving AND rip van winkle 
  • samson occom AND native americans

2) under “publication century,” CLICK “21st century A.D.” 

3) under “by content type,” UNCHECK all the boxes EXCEPT “Literature Criticism”

4) Make sure “All electronic sources” is highlighted (it is the default).

5) Then CLICK “Search” (next to where your search terms were entered).

Several articles will come up--skim through to see if you find some suitable articles. If you cannot find articles that work, try using other search terms. Click on the ones you think might be suitable, and email them to yourself, or download them. You only need to find a few relevant quotes for Essay #2.

In addition, there are many books on the authors we have studied accessible from the Essex County College Library. For books, you may use works (biographies, collected essays, etc.) published no earlier than the year 2000. Look for the book using the call letters. If you cannot find the books you want to use in the stacks, ask the reference librarian for assistance. You also have access to the Rutgers-Newark Library with your ID card, so feel free to access articles from their resources.

To Begin the World Anew: Essay #2 - Due Tuesday, March 24

DUE TUES, MARCH 24 by 11:30 PM

Essay #2 (3-4 pages with an additional Works Cited page attached) is due VIA EMAIL on Tuesday, March 24, BY 11:30 PM. The paper may be submitted before that time. Late papers (those submitted with a Wednesday, 3/25 time-stamp) will receive a permanent 2-point deduction. Thus, do not wait until the last minute--that's when computer issues, Internet problems, etc., arise--it is your responsibility to have your work in on time. No "late" papers will be accepted after Friday, March 27. You will be given a week from the time your paper is returned to you to revise, if necessary. Otherwise, the original grade stands. There will be NO exceptions to this. 

Thus far, we have looked at several texts related to America’s colonial beginnings (religious, economic, and political) and the move toward nationhood.  English Enlightenment ideas, such as liberty, equality, religious freedom, and the natural “rights of man,” influenced many of the authors whose works we have read. Some, such as Jefferson, Equiano, and Paine, wrote about this topic explicitly.  The response of others (Wheatley, Rowlandson, Bradstreet, etc.) is expressed implicitly in their work.  I would ask that you review the concept of religious freedom and rights (for the common man, for women, for blacks, for Native Americans) as it is elucidated by the authors, and consider how these authors’ works reflected their understanding of these rights.

ENG 221 – Literary Analysis Essay #2

Choose ONE question from either one of these texts or from the poem and write an essay in response. You must include RELEVANT quotes from the primary text and from a CRITICAL SOURCE in this second essay. Again, you must include relevant quotes in your essay from the primary text and a secondary source to have the opportunity to earn full credit. You must also use proper MLA style, and include a properly formatted Works Cited page. Attached to the back of your syllabus are samples. In addition, scroll to the bottom of this post for another sample--you will lose points if your Works Cited page is not properly formatted.

1) Equiano concludes CHAPTER 2 of his Interesting Narrative with appeals to his readers in the form of rhetorical questions.  Discuss the ways that these questions work with the narrative to establish an argument against slavery. Be specific in your references. You must support your analysis with quotes from the primary text as well as from a critical essay on the primary text. BE SPECIFIC/ Cite specifically to the source, using standard MLA-style documentation.

2) Using the documents by Paine and/or Jefferson, explain two or three of the most fundamental rights that those who dwell in America are said to have.  How are these rights reflected in some of the other writings in the section (ex: Occom, Equiano, Jones, Tecumseh)? You don’t have to write about all of the authors noted as examples in the question, but CHOOSE at least TWO. You must support your analysis with quotes from the primary text as well as from a critical essay on the primary text. BE SPECIFIC/ Cite specifically to the source, using standard MLA-style documentation.

3) “Rip Van Winkle” has been viewed as a challenge to American values and the work ethic, especially that exemplified by Benjamin Franklin, selections of whose autobiography we have read. Does Rip himself represent anything positive? Respond by comparing Rip's behavior to the values elucidated by Benjamin Franklin. You must support your analysis with quotes from the primary text as well as from a critical essay on the primary text. BE SPECIFIC/ Cite specifically to the source, using standard MLA-style documentation.

4) Phillis Wheatley’s “On Being Brought from Africa to America” has been viewed as an example of dual cultural identity. It has been argued that images of light and dark and the ambiguity of the last two lines suggest that this poem isn’t as accepting of Western culture and the speaker’s position in it as it seems on a first reading. Do you agree? Why or why not?  You must support your analysis with quotes from the primary text as well as from a critical essay on the primary text. BE SPECIFIC/ Cite specifically to the source, using standard MLA-style documentation.


YOU MAY NOT USE the following as sources, as they are NOT considered scholarly works: SparkNotes, CliffsNotes, ClassicNotes, Enotes, GradeSaver, Shmoop, Wikipedia, or any other student guides. If you do, you will automatically receive an “F” grade on the paper with NO possibility of revision. Plagiarism results in an “F” on the paper with NO POSSIBILITY of revision or “extra credit” make-up work. If you plagiarize, you have automatically lost the ability to earn any grade higher than a “B” grade for the course. If you plagiarize a second time, YOU AUTOMATICALLY FAIL THE COURSE. There are NO exceptions to the plagiarism policy. Copying and pasting from sources without acknowledging them is plagiarism. Use of ANY uncredited source constitutes plagiarism. It is your responsibility to your submit original work. I accept no excuses for plagiarism. 

VALE contains a number of excellent databases through which you can find good literature resources (Literature Resource Center is one). VALE contains a number of excellent databases through which you can find good literature resources—I suggest you use the Literature Resource Center for this assignment.

Criteria for Grading for Essay #2

In your essay, you must include support for your response from whichever primary text you have chosen, as well as from at least one critical essay (secondary source). Cite specifically to the source, using standard MLA-style documentation, including a Works Cited Page. The expectation is that you will write grammatically correct and coherent sentences, following standard composition form. 

Again, your short essays are evaluated using the following criteria: you have answered the question asked—meaning, you have written a clear thesis statement with supporting points and you have answered the question completely); you have cited adequately from the primary source reading as well as a secondary source (critical essay) using MLA style; and, you have demonstrated strength in your writing that is appropriate to a 200-level literature course (well-structured sentences and paragraphs, proper spelling, grammar, no run-on sentences or sentence fragments, proper punctuation, use of transitions, logical conclusion).

If you receive “NG”—meaning “Not Gradable”—due to numerous composition errors (ex: poor grammar, misspellings, lack of thesis, poor sentence structure, not MLA-compliant, etc.), you are strongly advised to take your paper to The Learning Center (2nd Floor) to work with a tutor for assistance in revising the essay for resubmission. VALE contains a number of excellent databases through which you can find good literature resources (ProQuest, Literature Resource Center, etc.). You must write well if you are to receive a good grade in my course. I do not “curve” grades—also, I do not pass students whose writing does not show that they have properly met the standards of what I consider acceptable. The Learning Center is open every day and evening and is available to you. It is YOUR responsibility to ensure that your papers are proof-read before you hand them in. Below is how I break down the points: 

Clear thesis statement, well-organized supporting points and conclusion: 5 points
Cited adequately and correctly from the texts (primary and secondary): 5 points
Demonstrated writing strength (sentence structure, spelling, grammar): 5 points

If you plagiarize, you have automatically lost 15 points.

Again, late papers (those submitted with a March 25 time-stamp) will have a permanent 2 point deduction. It is in your interest to EMAIL your paper early to avoid the penalty.