For this paper, you will provide an independent, interpretive close reading of a text (, March) and smoothly integrate some of the thoughts of other credible, peer-reviewed, scholarly, experts into your work to help make your case.

*You may write about an aspect of crime fiction in broader scope using the texts we have read over the semester. I will caution though that this type of work is more difficult than looking at one text.

*You may also do a more complete analysis of the Blacktop Wasteland, March, or Hunter.

Consider your angle / thesis. Remember, your thesis is essentially a subject, a claim, and a so what (significance / relevance). Dont forget, your primary objective in a paper like this is to say something insightful and worthwhile about the text that your reader may not have considered. You want to open your readers’ eyes to a way of understanding the text that sheds light on both the text in general and, in a larger sense, the human experience. Remember your thesis should make an argument about your chosen topic. For example, its not enough to give examples of morality in the novel. You have to argue that the novel suggests something specific about this theme and support your argument with specific textual evidence.
Outline your argument. While not strictly necessary, for larger, more complex pieces like this with research I would highly (highly) recommend it. Come up with your thesis and main TSs. This will help you stay focused, and better target your research! This saves you a ton of time. I promise.
The focus of your thesis and analysis will come from you, but you must also demonstrate that you have engaged with other experts ideas regarding the text you have chosen to analyze. Your essay will be structured around your main points, and integrating and/or acknowledging related research of others will enhance your claims. These can include contemporary cultural/historical contexts and critical pieces, research that informs, contextualizes or explores your lens more fully.
You may use these integrated quotes or paraphrases to help support or illustrate your claims, or in some cases you may disagree with and argue against them, but the combination of 1) your own analytical and interpretive ideas, 2) quotes from and specific references to the text youre analyzing, and 3) the perspectives from your secondary sources will work to develop and ultimately prove your thesis.

Some unacceptable sources:

Articles from The Explicator
Plot summaries or articles that are merely plot summaries
Personal blogs or websites
Student-helper websites such as eNotes, Cliffs Notes, Spark Notes, Shmoop, Grade Saver, etc.

You must use at least 4 scholarly, peer-reviewed sources from credible literary or academic journals.

Notes on writing about literature:

Use the present tense.
Do not speculate based on your feelings or what you imagine the characters would do in a situation outside of the story itself. Stay in the text as much as possible.
Use plenty of examples as textual evidence to support your points.
Do not summarize the plot or describe a character. Observations are fine way to begin, but you should use those observations to then make an argument about the stories’ interpretation.
If you are analyzing a character, remember that describing the character is not the same as analyzing him or her and how the author used the character to help create themes and meanings in the work.

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