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