What Brings a Song to Life?

What Brings a Song to Life?.

Research Paper #1: What Brings a Song to Life?

Guidelines: Write a five – six-page research paper (1250 – 1500 words max) explaining your response to the above question with supporting evidence (quotes/paraphrases) from the primary texts/the poems and songs. Make sure to construct a strong thesis as the basis for your response and use a lens, or literary theory, to help frame (or focus) your efforts. Remember to adhere to MLA guidelines. Use standard font. Don’t forget the works-cited page.

Literary Theories (Lens): You will select one of the following theories (or lens) through which to write your essay. Explanation of each theory is in your literature anthology. If you don’t have one, then find out what these lenses are. The most common lenses are “Biographical Criticism”, “Social Criticism”, and “Gender Criticism”, but there are other interesting lenses to use.

****If you don’t have a book, discover the different types of literary theories here: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/722/01/.

Project Proposal Due: (write a 350 word proposal for your paper that identifies the songs, poems and poets/songwriters you’ll use and which literary elements you’ll most likely address in your essay. Indicate which literary theory you’ll use to focus your research. ***Note: A strong thesis is never a fact and it will identify the goal you want to prove or point you want to make in your essay.

Draft #1 Due: Wednesday, September 21st, 2011 (*****YOU ARE REQUIRED TO BRING A HARDCOPY TO CLASS OR A COPY ON YOUR LAPTOP OR IPAD.
Final Draft Due: TBA

Grading Criteria
• 3 primary sources
• 2 secondary sources
• Careful development of argument, including your adherence to the structural guidelines in this handout.
• Clear statement of thesis.
• Thoughtful organization of paper.
• Smooth transitioning from one idea to the next.
• Clear and coherent style of writing.
• Appropriate use of grammar.
• Smooth and efficient integration of sources.
• Proper citation of sources, including the actual story, film, or poem you are discussing, in the body of your essay and on the “Works Cited” page.

Sample Proposal/Assignment: Plastic, anyone? It is apparent that Duhamel’s poem, “Kinky”, from her poetry collection of the same title, critiques the notion of the “ideal relationship”. Ken and Barbie are personified as a real life Ken and Barbie whose life together literally spins around on a surfboard on a kitchen table. Her poem deconstructs (literally) the myth of the ideal husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend. In addition, she inverts gender through a head transplant and thereby subverts gender role sand calls into question what it means to think and act like a man or a woman. She tries to communicate her brand of what true intimacy and trust really means while Barbie & Ken’s relationship pivots on society’s rigid, preconceived and often limited notion of what a couple should be and how they should act toward one another. I will analyze several poems from Duhamel and explain how the poet utilizes literary tools such as symbolism (bobble heads, blow up dolls, circus freak, etc.), figures of speech, dialogue, connotation, structure, and irony to convey intent. Research how the author’s personal history seeps into their work and brings the poem to life.

Literary Analysis Guidelines

Citation & Layout

1. Cite your sources, including primary texts, according to MLA. This has to do with how you indicate where information is coming from: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/02/
2. Format your paper i.e. layout your paper according to MLA. This has to do with the size of your margins, where you place the title of your paper and the name of the course etc.: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/
For more information on MLA format you may visit/consult with Academic Services in the Parker Building http://www.undergrad.nova.edu/academicservices/

The Thesis and the Structure of Your Analytical Paper

The Introduction
Your introduction will contain an essential element of your essay—your thesis. Your thesis simply states the point of your entire paper and may consist of one or several sentences.
1. Begin your introduction by presenting the subject of your paper; this may be the particular novel, poem or film about which you write or just a general idea.
2. Next, discuss the particular aspect of that subject to which your paper is devoted; this is your paper’s topic.
3. Finally, state the position that your paper is taking, or the point which your paper sets out to make; this is your thesis. Keep in mind that your objective is not to discuss the self-evident or to explain what occurs in the text rather to take a position that is argumentative.

The Body
Each paragraph in the body of your essay should provide support for your thesis. Additionally, each paragraph should have a topic sentence. Often times this is the first sentence of the paragraph. Your paragraph’s topic sentence should do for your paragraph what your thesis does for your paper: point to the direction in which it is going. Each paragraph should provide a, “unified block of thought, a clear and significant stage of your argument.” So, with only your thesis and your topic sentences, I should be able to “determine the logical design” of your essay. Each paragraph should have a minimum of five sentences to ensure it is sufficiently developed. Note also that one of the most common mistakes students make in literature papers is to confuse summary for analysis. Telling me what takes place in a story (summary) is not the same as telling me what you think what takes place means (analysis).
The Conclusion
This paragraph will complete your essay by summing up the points you have made and offering your final thoughts on the topic. You should not introduce any new arguments in your conclusion.

A Note on Plagiarism
Plagiarism is the act of presenting someone else’s work as your own. This can be as direct as quoting another person’s words without indicating that he or she is the source or as subtle as referring to an idea that is not your own without giving credit to the person from whom this idea originated. All cases of plagiarism will be reported to the Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences, Office of the Dean as an incident of academic misconduct.

Tense
Speak about literary works in the present tense: Hamlet murders… Little Red Riding Hood screams…

Can You Use First Person?
Yes, you may say “I” as necessary and appropriate. However, most of your paper should be in third person (references to he, she, it, they). Avoid second person (references to you).

How to Read Literature or Watch a Film
• Read or watch with pen in hand, noting anything that catches your attention because you find it interesting, repulsive, funny or because it raises questions for you. Note any thoughts you have in response to anything you read.
• Read or watch to try and understand the basic information being conveyed. Note what you think are any important passages/scenes that help you understand what is going on.
• You do not have to understand everything that takes place to have been successful at watching/reading. You should however, recognize the things that confuse you.
• Your objective with literary and film analysis is to offer an interpretation and expand your reader’s understanding of an artistic creation.
• You can consider literature in terms of the following:
o Plot and story development—what happens to whom and why?
o Character development—what motivates your characters?
o Historical, geographic and social setting.
o Theme.
o Symbolism and imagery.
o Narrative style—the way the story is told.
o Tone.

Some Useful Websites
• A good discussion of how to approach a literary analysis paper. Author briefly mentions a “process paper,” but you are writing a thesis based paper. Focus on the sections titled “Organization” and “Content: What to Say.” While the entire site offers some good advice, some of the suggestions are specific requirements of the professor who developed the site: http://unix.cc.wmich.edu/~cooneys/tchg/lit/adv/lit.papers.html

• Description of the general objectives of engaging in literary analysis. Sort of answers the question “What precisely am I expected to do?”: http://lrc.sierra.cc.ca.us/writingcenter/litcrit.htm

• The following offer some basic advice on doing literary analysis:
o What Makes a Good Literature Paper?: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/618/01/
o Arguments in an Essay on Literature: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/713/06/
o Sample essays: http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/rewritinglit/#t_533111____

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What Brings a Song to Life?

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