English 201 essay assignments
Previous topics:

Essay 1

Paper 2

Write an analytical or argumentative essay on a topic of your own choosing, focusing narrowly on some significant aspect of either or both Shakespeare plays we have read or on the selections from Paradise Lost we are reading.

You must meet each of the following requirements.  Read these requirements carefully.

1200-1500 words (in the body of the essay, excluding headers, name, date, title, works cited entries, etc.). To repeat: 1200 words is the bare minimum.

Submission of final draft in both hard copy (printed on paper) and electronic form (on floppy disk or as an email attachment). Failure to meet this requirement will result in a letter-grade penalty.

Formatted carefully and correctly, following MLA guidelines as outlined on my "simple stuff" page.

A minimum of eight quotations from the primary work(s) you examine, either or both Shakespeare plays or the portions of Paradise Lost we are reading. Eight quotations is an absolute minimum—you may certainly offer more to illustrate or substantiate your primary claims thoroughly and effectively.

Quotations and other source material must be documented according to MLA guidelines as outlined on my "quotes and documentation" page. A works cited page is mandatory even if you cite only Shakespeare or Milton.

Research is not mandatory, but getting support from scholarly secondary sources may help you make your case. If you use secondary sources—scholarly criticism or commentary, e.g.—you must turn in printouts or photocopies of each source along with the paper. Failure to do so will incur a substantial penalty. If you offer quotations from a secondary source, highlight or otherwise indicate the quoted passages on the printout or photocopy of the source (not in your essay itself).
Avoid using sources gotten from web sites available to the public. For a list of research resources, follow the "Subject Guides" link on the Daniel Library homepage and/or seek help from me or the reference librarians.

On Wednesday, June 23rd, you must turn in a paper proposal in the form of a topic sentence outline beginning with the question your essay will strive to answer, followed by each body paragraph's complete topic sentence as it will appear in the essay itself, and ending with a thesis statement that a) answers the question you are addressing, and b) ties together the primary points in your topic sentences. The question you raise for this outline should be a literal question—an interrogative sentence ending in a question mark, not merely a statement of what your topic is. For a sample topic sentence outline, see the my Writing Tip #2 or review the samples available via the paper proposal link on the 201 schedule.

Topics to consider:
You are by no means limited to the suggestions below. I encourage you to come up with your own topics completely. For clarification or elaboration of any topic options, the ones below or of your own making, see me during office hours, send email, or call me at home. If you would like to meet face to face but my office hours don't mesh with your schedule, let me know, and we'll arrange other times.

Depending on demand and on my time constraints, more options may be coming in the next few days.

Offer concrete evidence (i.e. quotations) to support each of your major assertions.
Make every body ¶'s topic sentence answer the topic sentence outline question directly.
Avoid plot summary: see nugget 1; introduce all quotes: see nugget 3.
Sweat the details: use the Golden Rules, Nuggets, Simple Stuff, and Quotes & Documentation pages and proofread carefully.

I encourage you to seek my help with your paper outside of class. Again, if my office hours don't fit with your schedule, let me know. I also encourage you to seek help from the Writing Center on any aspect of the essay: setting up your topic, outlining, developing the draft, revising, or editing. Be sure to take printouts of this assignment page with you to the Writing Center.