Composition II Section 80443

Research Paper Topics

Directions: Choose one of the topics below, and write a 5 page research paper on the topic.  You must use at least 2 print sources and 2 internet sources, one of which MUST be an online journal such as Jstor.  Your textbook does NOT count as a print source.  Paper must be double-spaced in 12 point, Times New Roman font (no Courier New font).  Number your pages; construct and include a relevant title.  Compose a “Works Cited” page in MLA format (See the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers or use one of the many online applications for help such as Purdue OWL, Easybib., Bibme etc.).  Consult the chapters from our textbook entitled “Writing a Research Paper” (Chapter 43) and “Writing about Literature” (Chapter 39) for help with the process of research and writing.  Please have a thesis statement in bold at the end of the first paragraph.

Construct your own topic which must deal with at least one of the works with which we have dealt over the course of the semester.  Work must appear on the syllabus or appear in one of the chapters we have covered for this class.  If you are choosing your own topic, please consult with me so we can be sure that it is suitable for this assignment.

  1. Formulate an argument about the moral or message of Kurt Vonnegut’s short story “Harrison Bergeron.” You may find it helpful to use the “Sociological Criticism” section as your guide (Chapter 45).  How does this work deal with themes of class, inequality, and ability?  Where does the work stand on these issues, or in other words, what is its message on these themes?  To what historical situations might Vonnegut be referring?  Try to employ the terminology that we have been learning in class.
  2. Attempt to diagnose the condition from which the protagonist of “The Yellow Wallpaper” suffers. If she were a real human being, what diagnosis would most suit her set of symptoms?
  3. Research the literary movement known as Naturalism. Your assignment in this paper is to find sources that discuss Naturalism and to, first, explain to me the most important tenets of Naturalism.  Do not just directly copy this definition even if you cite it.  Rather, compose a description of Naturalism in your own words.  Next, find selected passages from the works that we have covered in class, and use them to demonstrate the tenets of Naturalism that you lay out. You must do BOTH of these things to do well on this paper. Try to employ the terminology that we have been learning in class.
  4. Compare and contrast Robert Frost’s narrative poem “Mending Wall” and the drama “Fences” by August Wilson. You may want to consider how the wall and fence function in the two works and the significance of each.  What does each say about community and the importance of human contact?  What problems do the wall and the fence solve or create?  Consider any other relevant similarities and differences between the two works.