Interpretive Paper With Sources

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Choose one literary work from from our anthology (or one not included in our anthology as long as you get approval from your instructor) that can be interpreted in various ways, and then summarize and synthesize at least two scholarly, peer-reviewed articles that offer different interpretations of the work. (Note: You CANNOT choose the same literary work that you are using for the first paper). Finally, EITHER argue for one of the interpretations from the scholarly articles OR Argue against one of the interpretations from the scholarly articles.

Writing Process:

  1. After choosing the literary work, use the Coastal Alabama Library of the databases available in the Alabama Virtual Library (AVL) to research at least two different interpretations of the story or poem. These interpretations must come from scholarly, peer-reviewed sources from the Coastal Alabama Library or AVL. No other sources will be accepted. The Coastal Alabama Learning Resource Center homepage has links to Alabama Virtual Library. The Gale Literary Sources database and the EBSCO Host database (for the EBSCO Host database, uncheck the section of the database that are not relevant to your search) are two good places to start. If you cannot find at least two different interpretations, you will need to choose a different work, so start early.

2. Read and re-read each critical article, taking notes on each critic’s interpretation.

3. Summarize each interpretation, being sure to include a clear statement, in your own words, of each critic’s interpretation of the story or poem and to paraphrase the main points and evidence each critic uses to substantiate (back up) his or her interpretation? Do not use any quotations in this section of the paper. Summarize and paraphrase the information from the sources.

  1. Although the interpretations are different, explain their differences and any similarities. Are the interpretations mutually exclusive (ie, if one is correct or true, the other cannot be), or could both interpretations be seen as valid? Do not use any quotations in this section of the paper. Summarize and paraphrase the information from the sources.

5. Finally, EITHER

argue for one of the interpretations from one of the scholarly articles

OR

argue against one of the interpretations from one of the scholarly articles.

The key to this section of the paper is picking one of the above options and developing a thesis that you then back up with plenty of textual evidence from the literary work AND your analysis of how that evidence supports your thesis. If you are going to argue for one of the interpretations, then you must find and analyze new and different evidence from the literary work that is not included in the original article. If you are going to argue against one of the interpretations, you need to find new evidence in the literary work and analyze it as well as show why the evidence why the critic is wrong and/or why he or she misinterpreted the evidence.

Length, Formatting, and Style Requirements:

The essay should be three to four pages typed (900-1200 words) and be written in MLA Style and Format. This includes 12-point Times New Roman font, double spaced pages, 1-inch margins, a proper heading, and a running head that includes your last name and page number. This also includes MLA in-text citation as well as a Works Cited page.

The essay should also be written in third-person point-of-view and in present tense (literary present).

The essay should have an interesting title and introduction, and the final sentence of the introduction should be your thesis statement and essay map (an essay map is a brief statement of the main points you are going to use in the paper to develop your thesis).

The essay should also include a satisfying concluding paragraph that not only restates your thesis and essay map in different words, but that also leaves your reader with something to think about after he or she has finished your paper.

At least two outside sources must be used and both must either come from the Coastal Alabama Library or from the Alabama Virtual Library. Use of sources from other places will result in a zero on the paper.

Assessment: Assessed According to the English Department Course Grading Rubric for Research Papers

Suggested Length for Each Section of the Paper:

Introduction: One well-developed paragraph

Summary of First Article: One to two well-developed paragraphs

Summary of Second Article: One to two well-developed paragraphs

Synthesis of the Two Articles (Explaining Similarities and Differences): One well-developed paragraph

Arguing for/against one of the Articles: At least two very well-developed paragraphs with plenty of textual evidence and original analysis. This section should clearly demonstrate your ability to interact with a scholarly work, carefully choose and marshal textual evidence to support your ideas, and analyze and explain textual evidence.

Conclusion: One well-developed paragraph

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