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Literary devices in a theme Literature & Language Research Paper (Research Paper Sample)

Instructions:

Create a research paper of about 750-1,000 words (three to four typed pages, double-spaced) which discusses how three different literary devices are used to develop a major theme.
Create a "Research Paper Outline" for your research paper.
“The Cask of Amontillado,” by Edgar Allan Poe. In this famous Poe story, the first-person narrator invites an acquaintance to sample his most recent purchase of wine, but his motive is suspect.
Your paper will focus on one of the following themes, or a theme of your choice. Choose one theme to be the focus (thesis/main idea) of your paper.
Themes in “The Cask of Amontillado”:
o In “The Cask of Amontillado,” Edgar Allan Poe explores the theme of revenge.
o In “The Cask of Amontillado,” Edgar Allan Poe explores the theme of deception.
o In “The Cask of Amontillado,” Edgar Allan Poe explores the theme of appearances masking reality.
After reading, studying, and researching your chosen story, you will decide which three literary devices work to develop one of the above themes relating to your story. The body paragraphs of your research paper will discuss three literary devices through which the theme is developed in the story. To review literary devices, go to Mindtap Literature or PowerPoints in our Blackboard course to find lessons on several of the following devices.
1. plot and structure (ex. analyze the Freitag pyramid structure if it is evident--exposition, complication, etc.; the progression of events/action in the story; types of conflict; protagonist, antagonist)
2. plot devices (ex. foreshadowing, flashbacks, patterns, use of repetition)
3. setting (ex. time period, historical setting, physical setting—environment, location, objects in the scene)
4. characterization (ex. a character’s actions, a character’s description, a character’s words)
5. symbolism (many things in a story can represent something else, including the setting, characters, objects, and so forth)
6. point of view (ex. first person narration, third person limited omniscient narration)
7. tone (ex. irony)
8. style (ex. Hemingway’s “iceberg style”)
SOURCES: You must use a minimum of four sources for this paper. See the following requirements for your four sources:
• Source 1: Your story will, of course, be the first source for the paper. It is called your “primary source” since it is the original text that you are analyzing.
• Sources 2, 3, 4 (or more): Your three (or more) secondary sources for the paper must come from academic journal articles available in print or in electronic databases, such as from the South Plains College or Texas Tech University libraries. Do not use internet sources unless they come from peer-reviewed academic journals. Do not use Wikipedia.
PAPER FORMAT: The paper must use MLA, 8th edition (2016) format. That means you will use MLA style in-text parenthetical citations to document ideas that come from your sources. In addition, the last page of the research paper will be a Works Cited page which lists your sources, including the short story, in correct MLA 8 (2016) format, in alphabetical order. From your own analysis of the short story and from the sources you have read, try to identify at least three literary devices (the structure/plot, setting, characterization, symbolism, point of view, tone, style—see complete list on page 2 of this packet) that help to develop the theme in your story. What evidence in the story supports your interpretation of this theme or idea?

 

“Literature is a record of the joys and sorrows of being human.  It embodies ideas about the human condition, and these ideas are identified by the term ‘theme.’  When we grasp the meaning of a work (the author’s insights into life, the theme), we have enlarged our own sensibilities; we have grown from a shared literary experience” (McKeague 61).

Research Paper Assignment

Check your Weekly Assignment Sheets for Weeks 9-12 for due dates for the following activities.

ASSIGNMENT: Create a research paper of about 750-1,000 words (three to four typed pages, double-spaced) which discusses how three different literary devices are used to develop a major theme in one of the following short stories: 

STORIES:

  • •         “Everyday Use,” by Alice Walker.  In “Everyday Use,” Mrs. Johnson and her daughter Maggie are visited by her educated, ambitious daughter Dee, whose return home is accompanied by surprises.   
  • •         “Soldier’s Home,” by Ernest Hemingway.  In “Soldier’s Home,” Harold Krebs returns to his home town in Oklahoma after serving in the marines for two years during World War I, but he faces challenges quite different from those in the war. 
  • •         “The Cask of Amontillado,” by Edgar Allan Poe.  In this famous Poe story, the first-person narrator invites an acquaintance to sample his most recent purchase of wine, but his motive is suspect. 

THEMES:  Your paper will focus on one of the following themes, or a theme of your choice.  Choose one theme (you can modify it in Step 8) to be the focus (thesis/main idea) of your paper.  If you discover a theme in your story that you wish to write about but that is not described below, check with me first so I can approve your idea

  • •         Themes in “Everyday Use”:
    • o         In “Everyday Use,” Alice Walker explores the theme of heritage and how best to honor it.
    • o         In “Everyday Use,” Alice Walker highlights the theme of how education, or the lack thereof, has the power to divide families.
    • o         In “Everyday Use,” Alice Walker emphasizes the importance of connecting with one’s roots and one’s past.
    • o         In “Everyday Use,” Alice Walker examines the theme of appreciating one’s family.

 

  • •         Themes in “Soldier’s Home”:
    • o         In “Soldier’s Home,” Ernest Hemingway explores the theme of a young soldier’s postwar alienation from his family and his culture.
    • o         In “Soldier’s Home,” Ernest Hemingway demonstrates the challenges veterans face when reentering civilian life.
    • o         In “Soldier’s Home,” Ernest Hemingway examines how a young soldier changed by war returns home to a family and a town that is unchanged.

 

  • •         Themes in “The Cask of Amontillado”:
    • o         In “The Cask of Amontillado,” Edgar Allan Poe explores the theme of revenge.
    • o         In “The Cask of Amontillado,” Edgar Allan Poe explores the theme of deception.
    • o         In “The Cask of Amontillado,” Edgar Allan Poe explores the theme of appearances masking reality.

 

LITERARY DEVICES: After reading, studying, and researching your chosen story, you will decide which three literary devices work to develop one of the above themes relating to your story. The body paragraphs of your research paper will discuss three literary devices through which the theme is developed in the story.  To review literary devices, go to Mindtap Literature or PowerPoints in our Blackboard course to find lessons on several of the following devices.

  1. 1.         plot and structure (ex. analyze the Freitag pyramid structure if it is evident--exposition, complication, etc.; the progression of events/action in the story; types of conflict; protagonist, antagonist)
  2. 2.         plot devices (ex. foreshadowing, flashbacks, patterns, use of repetition)
  3. 3.         setting (ex. time period, historical setting, physical setting—environment, location, objects in the scene)
  4. 4.         characterization (ex. a character’s actions, a character’s description, a character’s words)
  5. 5.         symbolism (many things in a story can represent something else, including the setting, characters, objects, and so forth)
  6. 6.         point of view (ex. first person narration, third person limited omniscient narration)
  7. 7.         tone (ex. irony)
  8. 8.         style (ex. Hemingway’s “iceberg style”)

 

SOURCES:  You must use a minimum of four sources for this paper.  See the following requirements for your four sources:

 

  • •         Source 1: Your story will, of course, be the first source for the paper.  It is called your “primary source” since it is the original text that you are analyzing. 
  • •         Sources 2, 3, 4 (or more): Your three (or more) secondary sources for the paper must come from academic journal articles available in print or in electronic databases, such as from the South Plains College or Texas Tech University libraries. Do not use internet sources unless they come from peer-reviewed academic journals. Do not use Wikipedia.

 

PAPER FORMAT: The paper must use MLA, 8th edition (2016) format.  That means you will use MLA style in-text parenthetical citations to document ideas that come from your sources.  In addition, the last page of the research paper will be a Works Cited page which lists your sources, including the short story, in correct MLA 8 (2016) format, in alphabetical order. 

 

GRADING STANDARDS: Your paper will be evaluated in the following areas:

  1. 1.   Quality of introduction, thesis statement, and conclusion.
  2. 2.   Content (unity, development, use of evidence, literary analysis)
  3. 3.   Organization and Coherence
  4. 4.   Language Conventions (grammar, spelling, punctuation, mechanics)
  5. 5.   Research and Proper MLA Documentation and Works Cited page

 

FOLLOW THESE STEPS TO CREATE THE RESEARCH PAPER

(Weekly Assignment Sheets for Weeks 9-12 will give you a timetable and due dates to observe for the following steps) 

  1. 1.            Read the following three short stories and pick the one that appeals to you most to be the focus of your research paper. Links to read each story are available in Blackboard Handouts.

 

  1.  
    1. a.         “Everyday Use,” by Alice Walker   
    2. b.        “Solder’s Home,” by Ernest Hemingway 
    3. c.         “The Cask of Amontillado,” by Edgar Allan Poe

 

  1. 2.            Reread the “THEMES” section on pages 1-2 of this handout and decide which theme in your story you wish to focus on in your research paper.  If you have a different idea for a theme, I must approve it, so email me about it ASAP.  Write your theme statement below:   

THEME CHOICE: _________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________

 

  1. 3.            Do a close reading of your story.  Highlight or make a list of quotations and passages in the story that seem significant to you.  Jot your questions, ideas, and interpretations in the margins.  What parts of the story help to develop the theme you have chosen?  Think of yourself as a detective hunting for “evidence” to prove your theme.

 

  1. 4.            Click on Blackboard Handouts module and click on the folder for your short story.

 

  1. 5.            Print out the Research Resources list I have provided for your particular story:
    1. a.      a)        Research Resources for “Everyday Use”
    2. b.      b)        Research Resources for “Soldier’s Home”
    3. c)        Research Resources for “The Cask of Amontillado”

After you have identified evidence from the short story itself to support your theme, you need to see what other writers have had to say about your story and its themes and literary devices.  This kind of appeal to other authorities helps back up and expand your reading of the work.  Each Resources page contains suggested articles you may choose from, with step-by-step instructions on how to locate them in the SPC library databases. You may use other journal articles not listed on the Resources page, but be sure they are credible academic sources.

  1. 6.            Locate and quickly the articles listed on the Resources page for your story. 
    1. a)        Choose three or more sources from the Resources page that you feel are useful, print out these articles, and use note-cards or a Word document to take notes from them.
    2. b)        As you take notes, be sure to record all the Works Cited information you will need for each source you use: title of article, author, title of the periodical/journal, volume and issue numbers, date of publication, page numbers, database name, date you accessed the article, the article DOI/URL/Permalink, etc.  The Resources pages give tips on how to create the Works Cited entries for these sources.
    3. c)        As you take notes, focus on any comments in the secondary sources that will help you discuss structure, plot, setting, characterization, symbolism, point of view, and tone/style and how they develop the theme in your primary source, the story. 
    4. d)        Write down any quotations (word-for-word exact copying in quotation marks), paraphrases, or summaries of ideas from these articles that you feel will be of use in your research paper.  If pagination is present, be sure to write down the page numbers from which you take information. 
    5. 7.            From your own analysis of the short story and from the sources you have read, try to identify at least three literary devices (the structure/plot, setting, characterization, symbolism, point of view, tone, style—see complete list on page 2 of this packet) that help to develop the theme in your story.  What evidence in the story supports your interpretation of this theme or idea?  Write the three literary devices below that you will analyze to show how they help develop the theme:

1st literary device: ____________________________________________________

2nd literary device: ____________________________________________________

3rd literary device: ____________________________________________________

 

  1. 8.            Create a working thesis for your paper.  Base it on the theme statement from page one which you have already chosen.  Your thesis should follow this structure:

 

Thesis Format: In (title of short story), (author's name) uses (1st literary device), (2nd literary device), and (3rd literary device) to (explore/develop/explain/etc.) (some major theme or central idea in the short story). 

Thesis Example: In “Everyday Use,” Alice Walker uses setting, characterization, and symbolism to explore the theme of heritage and how best to honor it. 

Thesis Example: In “The Cask of Amontillado,” Edgar Allan Poe uses setting, characterization, and irony to develop the theme of appearances masking reality.

My Working Thesis: ________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________

  1. 9.            Create a Research Paper Outline. Your outline should look like the model outline in the box below. Submit the Research Paper Outline to TURNITIN by the deadline listed on the weekly assignment sheet.

Research Paper Outline Requirements:

  • •            Thesis, topic sentences, rephrased thesis must be complete sentences. Supporting subtopics may be sentences or phrases.
  • •            Show where you plan to use all four of your sources by including in-text citations.

 

 

Study the model outline below. The information in parentheses indicates the sources for the subtopics, whether the short story itself or secondary sources. Your outline should look like this:

 

 

RESEARCH PAPER OUTLINE

 

I. Thesis Statement: In “The Necklace,” Guy de Maupassant uses setting, symbolism, and characterization to present a theme about society's false values and their destructive power. 

 

II. Topic Sentence: To begin, Maupassant uses the setting to develop the theme of materialism and its impact upon human nature.

Supporting Subtopics:

  1. (a) A woman’s inability to rise in importance because of her lack of a father with

social status or family connections to the wealthy (Maupassant 4)

(b)  Mathilde’s discontentment with her home and its décor (Maupassant 5)

(c)  The devastating change in Mathilde’s home life and work after she loses the

       necklace  (Maupassant 10-11)

 

III. Topic Sentence: The symbolism in “The Necklace” continues to enhance a theme about society’s false values and the negative results.

Supporting Subtopics:

(a) The importance of the modest shawl (Mandell 46)

(b) The significance of the lost necklace (“Overview: ‘The Necklace’”)

(c) The symbolism of Mathilde’s changed appearance (Mandell 47)

 

IV. Topic Sentence:  In addition, Maupassant’s characterizations focus well on the story’s central theme of loss brought about by one’s misplaced values.

Supporting Subtopics:

(a) The behavior of Mr. Loisel (Kleine-Ahlbrandt 2)

(b) The behavior of Mathilde Loisel (Kleine-Ahlbrandt 3)

 

V. Rephrased Thesis:  “The Necklace” claims that what people value determines what they become and what they feel about themselves.  Having the wrong goals definitely leads people to lose what they already possess of importance.

 

  1. 10.          Once your outline is graded in TURNITIN, look at my comments, and then work on writing your research paper.  Keep these guidelines in mind as you write:
    1. a.      Remember to use present tense to describe both the events in the story and what critics say about it (ex. William Jones observes that . . .). 
    2. b.      Always introduce quotations from the story or from your sources with your own words; otherwise, you will have “dropped quotations.”  
    3. c.      Always quote accurately, word-for-word from a source. 
    4. d.     Never let a quotation stand by itself.  Always react to it or explain it. Discuss it in terms of your thesis.  
    5. e.      Refer again to the “Using Direct Quotations” document if needed.
    6. 11.          Now is a good time to take another look at the Model Research Paper and study how it is put together.  Use the guide below to help you create the introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion, but you do not have to turn in the following to me:

GUIDE TO WRITING THE RESEARCH PAPER

Creative Title: The title (which you may want to develop at the end of the writing process) should be provocative without being juvenile, and should reflect the perspective of the paper and perhaps your point of view or attitude toward the topic.

Paragraph 1: Introduction

  1. a.  Open the introduction with an interest device like a quotation, surprising statement, or rhetorical question that will engage the reader's reflection and interest.
  2. b.    b.  Mention the story’s title and author and briefly summarize the plot.
  3. c.  State your thesis.  Your thesis should follow this structure: In (title of short story), (author's name) uses (1st literary device), (2nd literary device), and (3rd literary device) to (show/criticize/explain/etc.) (a major theme or central idea in the short story). 

Paragraph 2: Analysis of first literary device

  1. a.   Begin this paragraph with a topic sentence which states the literary device which will be discussed in the paragraph. 
  2. b.   The rest of the paragraph will contain your analysis of how this device develops the theme, evidence from the story, and quotations/paraphrases/summaries from source articles to explain your topic sentence.

Paragraph 3: Analysis of second literary device

  1. a.         Begin this paragraph with a topic sentence which states the literary device which will be discussed in the paragraph.   
  2. b.         The rest of the paragraph will contain your analysis of how this device develops the theme, evidence from the story, and quotations/ paraphrases/summaries from source articles to explain your topic sentence.

Paragraph 4: Analysis of third literary device

  1. a.  Begin this paragraph with a topic sentence which states the literary device which will be discussed in the paragraph.  This one should be your most important or engaging point. 
  2. b.  The rest of the paragraph will contain your analysis of how this device develops the theme, evidence from the story, and quotations/ paraphrases/summaries from source articles to explain your topic sentence.

Paragraph 5: Conclusion 

The conclusion should tie together the main ideas of the essay.  It should not simply summarize or repeat the ideas, but should extend them by establishing a relationship between the story’s theme you have focused on and why it has value for readers.  It is often helpful to think of the conclusion as the answer to the "so what" question—why is this story important?

  1. 12. Use MLA 8th ed. (2016) Format to Create In-Text Citations and Your Works Cited Page: Basically, the point of citation is to give credit where it is due and to allow readers to find the sources for themselves, so accuracy is important. Study the parenthetical in-text citations and the Works Cited page of the Model Research Paper very carefully. The Works Cited page has several entries that are just like the entries you will need to create for your paper.
    1. II.    I.          In-text parenthetical citations: 

a.a)    you must use in-text parenthetical citations to document ALL ideas, quotations, paraphrases, or summaries that come from your sources

b.b)    If no pagination is provided (such as with some internet articles), then all that will appear in the parenthetical citation is the author’s last name (ex: Johnson). 

III. II.         Works Cited page:

a.a)    Start a new page for your works cited list, which lists your sources, including the short story, in correct MLA format, in alphabetical order.

  1. b.             b)         Create MLA work cited entries for all your sources.  How do you know what to put for each works cited entry?  First of all, look at the Resources pages again for my tips on how to create the entries, and look at the Works Cited page of the Model Research Paper.   

IV. III.       Use proper MLA 8th edition (2016) format for the paper:

a. a)    Proper MLA heading, one inch margins

b.b)    Times New Roman font style, font size 12, double-spaced

c. c)    Last name and page number in a running header in top right corner of each page (example: Smith 3)

  1. d)        Study the Model Research Paper in Blackboard Handouts

 

 

 

 

 

  1. 13.          Revise and Edit: Print out your paper and revise for development, style, and grammar errors.  Use this checklist to make sure you have avoided the following problems on your final draft:
  • □         If the title of the short story appears inside another title, use single quotes inside double quotes, like this: “Overview of ‘Everyday Use’”
  • □         Do not write a plot summary as a paper. Just pull out essential events from the story to make your point. If you find yourself saying "then ____ happens; then ____ happens," you'd better stop and look carefully at what you're doing. If your essay only tells what happens in the story in a chronological order, you have written a plot summary, and your paper probably won't get better than an "F" grade. You must explain and support your thesis about a theme in the story, not summarize the story.
  • □         Always begin the body paragraphs with a topic sentence (a claim); never begin a paragraph in the body of your paper with a quotation or summary sentence.
  • □         Check for adequate support of each topic sentence.
  • □         Check to make sure you use present tense to discuss any events/characters in the story and any analysis from the critics.
  • □         I will count off for dropped quotations, so be sure any quotation you use is introduced with a lead-in or signal phrase that is in your own words. Example: Walker describes Mama as “a large big-boned woman with rough, man-working hands” (104).  Always explain any quotation you include from the story—basically help the reader understand what point the quotation helps prove.
  • □         Be sure that any quotations you include in the paper are accurate—copied word-for-word from the original source—and are acknowledged with in-text citations.
  • □         Be sure that all paraphrases from your sources are put thoroughly into your own words and acknowledged with in-text citations.
  • □         Look for any major errors such as sentence fragments, fused sentences, comma splices, subject-verb agreement errors, and pronoun-antecedent agreement errors.  Remember that more than one major error in the paper will lower the grade by a letter, so for example, a paper with two major errors that contains good content would not score higher than a B.  A paper with three major errors that contains good content would not score higher than a C, and so forth.
  • □         Do not use plural first person ("in the following passage, we see . . .").  Avoid phrases such as "I think" (keep your analysis in the third person, such as "the following passage suggests . . .").
  • □         Do not use the second-person you ("you see in the following passage that . . .").
  • □         Avoid an overly colloquial or informal tone (“now, this passage...” or “well, let’s take a look at . . .”).
  • □         Avoid contractions (don’t, I’m).
  • □         Avoid imprecise pronouns ("This suggests . . ." rather than "This description of Fortunato’s clothing suggests . . .").
  • □         Use the spell-checker in Microsoft Word, but do not depend on it. The spell- checker does not catch confusion of similar-sounding words (ex. affect, effect; their, their), and it sometimes suggests the wrong word as a correction. The grammar checker is even less reliable.  

Acknowledgements:

http://vc.ws.edu/engl2120/litanalysis3.htm;

http://www.rscc.cc.tn.us/owl&writingcenter/OWL/WritingLitAnalysis.html; http://scweb.esuhsd.org/programs/english/analysis/

McKeague, Pat.  Step by Step: Writing About Literature.  Dubuque: Kendall/Hunt, 1995.

source..
Content:

Student Name
Instructor
Course
Date
Literary Devices
In The Cask of Amontillado, Edgar Allan Poe is focused on developing the theme of revenge. The reader is meant to understand that a man has been insulted and cannot forgive and forget. Poe develops the theme of revenge using literary devices. He uses the various devices to strengthen an emotional appeal to the reader and hence pass the message clearly. In Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado, the theme of revenge is developed through various literary devices including irony, symbolism, and foreshadowing.
Poe uses irony to enhance the theme of revenge. In the story, the author uses both verbal irony and dramatic irony. Verbal irony occurs when a character says the opposite of what is meant. The first irony relates to the names of the characters. The name Fortunato indicates a lucky person. The audience expects him to act according to what his name suggests. However, Fortunato acts the opposite as he is a bad fortune since he ends up dying. Another instance of verbal irony is when Montresor meets Fortunato and calls him a “lucky met” (Poe). In this case,

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