Analytic Essay Research assignment

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Length: At least 2000 words (approx. FIVE FULL PAGES when appropriately formatted) PLUS Works Cited Page; Failure to meet page requirements will result in a minimum of ten points deducted from your essay grade.

Format: Current MLA (2016); Failure to meet formatting requirements will result in a minimum of ten points deducted from your essay grade.

Required Sources: 3-4 minimum; 1 or 2 primary sources (i.e. one or two of our course books) plus a minimum of two secondary sources (i.e. one or more of our theory readings or other academic articles, reviews, etc.). You may not write about the Harry Potter films. Sources must be scholarly caliber (i.e. NO Wikipedia,, WikiAnswers, etc.). Use library resources (books and/or databases) before internet resources to make your work stronger and more scholarly.Failure to use scholarly sources will seriously affect your grade. If you have a question about a source, contact me before you use it. Failure to meet source requirements will result in a minimum of THIRTY points deducted from your essay grade. This is a research project. Do the research.

Grading: English Research Rubric

Guidelines: In this essay you will analyze at least one of the texts we have read this semester, beginning with a thesis which you support with abundant examples from the primary text (the piece of literature) and secondary texts (theory readings, literary criticism, closely related news articles, etc.).

You must document sources appropriately, following standard 2016 MLA 8th requirements (parenthetical (in-text) documentation and Works Cited page with appropriate citations).

Use the literary present tense. Because this is an analytical research paper, use third person (not “I”, “me”, “my”, “we”, “us”, “our”, “you”, “your” or “yours”). Failure to use third person POV will result in an automatic ten point penalty on your essay grade.

Below are some ideas for paper topics:

  • What does any one particular theory operate in and say about the text?
  • What kind of monsters are presented in the text(s)? How do these monsters relate to society?
  • Choose two texts and compare and/or contrast their specific ideas and philosophies about society and human behavior
  • Compare and/or contrast the distinct social and traditional relationships between men and women in two different works. How do their relationships affect the events or outcomes of the stories?
  • Which work(s) provide the most memorable content with reference to characters or ideas? Be specific with your examples and analysis.
  • Compare and/or contrast the role of the protagonist in two or more works. How do their actions reflect their character?
  • Trace a common idea or character trait that appears throughout two or more texts. Is this idea or character trait tied to the purpose of the work, or does this idea or character trait appear outside of a larger plot or outcome?
  • Compare and/or contrast the way a topic is dealt with in one of our texts and the real world
  • Define a cultural “ideal” for one or more cultures from the text (i.e. wizards, muggles, other magical creatures, order of the phoenix members, death-eaters, etc.). How does this “ideal” manifest itself in the text(s)?
  • What warning or lesson does one or more of these texts issue to the reader?

See some examples of literary research in action in the following essays.

These examples don’t relate to the Harry Potter texts; they are just examples of form. Your essay MUST be about one or more of the Harry Potter novels.

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