American Literature


American Literature Research Paper:

Teaching Foreign Dignitaries

American Literature II is a study of representative fiction and poetry from 1865 to the present that reflects significant trends in literary techniques and themes as well as shifts in cultural values.

Your task is to select 6 works (poems, stories, and/ or novels) that we have read this semester and explain how they represent significant trends in literary techniques and themes and how they relate to cultural values. You need to include at least one Realist, one Naturalist, and one Modernist work. You should also include a Harlem Renaissance work as well as one from the more contemporary readings. Your audience is a group of foreign dignitaries interested in learning about American culture. Since English is not their first language, your writing must be clear, focused, well-organized, logical, and engaging.

Consider producing a double-spaced paper, a PowerPoint document, or some combination of the two. Page length: at least six pages not including Works Cited or Bibliography pages. You must include research from at least four sources, integrating quotes and/or paraphrases that are properly documented in MLA format. Your research should be used to support your ideas, not to replace them. You will list the bibliographic information for those four sources, along with the bib info for the six works that you choose in your Works Cited page. You also need to list the bibliographic information for 5 relevant internet links and/or articles in a Bibliography at the end of the paper. Each citation in the bibliography needs to include one or two sentences explaining how it is relevant to your discussion.

Your research paper is worth 100 points, which is 25% of your grade. You will need to submit an annotated bibliography (bibliographical citation and a 1-2 sentence summary of the article, worth 10 points) for your four research sources and an introductory paragraph (10 points). You can also submit a draft if you get it done at least five days before the final due date for the paper. The due dates for these assignments will be listed in your syllabus.

Novels read:

Realism and Twain: Huck Finn Part 1
32 23 11
Realism: Huck Finn continued
28 20 10
Realism: Chopin and Washington

Naturalism: Twain, Gilman, Crane, and London
23 23 8
Modernism: Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Faulkner
34 21 11
Modernism and The Great Gatsby
34 17 10
The Harlem Renaissance: Hughes, Cullen, and Hurston
2 1 2
A Study of Two Authors: Frost and Carver
0 0 0
Contemporary Voices in Short Fiction: Silko, Walker, and Cisneros
0 0 0
The Contemporary American Novel: Middlesex

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