English 208:
Writing Assignments

Paper 1 Paper 2 Paper 3 Final Exam
Chinatown

How to submit your work

Directions: Please submit your writing assignments to me via e-mail. Save your file as a Word file (.doc or .docx) or Rich Text File (.rtf), and attach the file to your message. When sending assignments, your e-mail message should include your name, the class number (English 208), and the name of the assignment which is attached. Use correct MLA format to set up your pages and document your sources; for more information see The Writing Tutorial Services at Indiana University. Make sure that you eliminate spelling, grammar, and other mechanical errors from your writing. Send your e-mail to me at annw708@gmail.com

About Wikipedia, SparkNotes, and Databases

DO NOT cite Wikipedia in academic essays. Since it is not edited by reputable experts, it often has errors and isn't reliable. It's okay to use it as a starting point for your own research, but go on and find other sources to verify the information, and cite those in your essay.

Also avoid SparkNotes, ENotes and similar sites. Teachers hate them since they provide only the most superficial analyses. Avoid citing them in academic papers; instead, go find analyses from more reputable academic sources: university and scholarly websites, peer-reviewed journals in library databases, and books.

Using the Databases

As long as you're registered at LA Harbor College, you have access to a number of databases through the Harbor College library. Don't be scared by that word "databases." The databases are just collected electronic versions of articles published in print magazines, journals, and newspapers. They also sometimes contain e-books. You can search them and find tons of articles on all subjects from many periodicals, including professional and scholarly journals. You can access the databases from the following link; from there, just follow the directions to log into the system:

http://libguides.lahc.edu/az.php

For these essays, you are not required to do outside research. But if you choose to do some research, as a first step, I would go to the databases main page and try one of the unspecialized databases, "All EBSCO Databases." Academic OneFile, Literature Resource Center, Magill OnLiterature Plus, and Salem Literature are also good. Also check JSTOR; it doesn't specialize in literature, but it does have articles in that field. The most effective way to search these databases is to use the "keyword" option at first, to get the broadest search results. Then you can refine by switching to "author" or "name of work," if necessary. You will probably find many more articles than you need. That's okay--it just gives you lots of choices.

Many of the works we are reading in this class will have been written about in books as well; to find books on your subject, go to the LAHC Library page and click on the "Find Books" link. (There's also a link to click if you're off-campus.)


Online Tutoring

If you are local and can get to the LAHC campus, there are several places to get tutoring. Now, you can now get tutoring online, as well, if you want help with your papers. This is free to students registered in classes at Harbor College. Contact me and I'll help you get started.


Writing Assignment 1

Choose one of the following topics and write a complete, considered answer. Be sure to support your statements with evidence from the text, and be sure to document correctly. You MUST use direct quotes from the text or your paper will not be eligible for any grade higher than a C. Required length: 3-5 pages (500-1250 words).

This assignment is due Friday, September 29.

1. The word "free" is used dozens of times in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Does freedom mean the same thing to all of the characters, and in all contexts?

2. The last fifth of Huck Finn, from Chapter XXXII on, has been called by T.S. Eliot the perfect ending; literary critic Leo Marx says it is a "stupendous failure." Which opinion do you prefer? Why?

3. Henry James despised Mark Twain's work; Twain returned the compliment. Based on the works we have read, can you give some possible reasons for such a strong mutual dislike?

4. James's and Twain's writings both attempt to define the nature of "the American character." Do they both see Americans the same way? Explain.

5. Discuss James's use of symbolism in either Daisy Miller or The Turn of the Screw.

6. Discuss the use of symbolism in The Red Badge of Courage. Don't try to discuss all of it--you'll end up with a book! Just choose a symbol or group of symbols and explain how it functions in the novel.

7. In The Red Badge of Courage, Crane writes about an ordinary young man confronted with an extreme experience. What is Crane saying in this novel about human nature? Explain, using specific examples and direct quotes from the novel for support.

8. Choose your own topic; check it with me before writing.

For information on using MLA format to cite and document correctly, see The Writing Tutorial Services at Indiana University, or The Purdue University Online Writing Lab.

For help writing this assignment, go to Writing About Literature ; for more specific help, feel free to e-mail me with questions.


Writing Assignment 2

Choose one of the following topics and write a complete, considered answer. Be sure to support your statements with evidence from the text, and be sure to document correctly. You MUST use direct quotes from the text or your paper will not be eligible for any grade higher than a C. Required length: 3-5 pages (500-1250 words).

This assignment is due Friday, November 3.

1. One of the predominant themes of Modern literature is the meaninglessness of life--the idea that underlying all the social conventions and niceties is nothing. Choose ONE author from the following list and analyze his or her work in detail, in relation to this issue. Do you see this theme reflected in his or her work? Robinson, Frost, Eliot, Stevens, Williams, Hughes, Anderson, Hemingway, Faulkner, Parker, Fitzgerald, West, Hammett, or Chandler.

2. Both Hammett and Chandler comment, directly or indirectly, on social issues. Choose ONE of these two writers and discuss his work: what issues is the writer exploring? And what devices does the writer use to draw these issues to your attention?

3. The Great Gatsby is considered one of American literature's masterpieces. Yet every attempt to turn it into a film masterpiece has failed. Why? Has this been a failure of the individual producers and directors involved, or is there something inherently "uncinematic" about the novel?

4. Choose ONE of the following authors and discuss his use of symbolism in ONE of the works we read: Frost, Eliot, Stevens, Williams, Hughes, Anderson, Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, West, Hammett, or Chandler.

5. Dorothy Parker did not take her work seriously, comparing it unfavorably with the work of Hemingway and Faulkner and dismissing it as "wisecracks." Read a selection of her stories and poems and then argue for or against her evaluation.

6. If none of the above topics appeals to you, choose your own topic which relates to the Modern works we read. Check it with me before you write.

For information on using MLA format to cite and document correctly, see The Writing Tutorial Services at Indiana University, or The Purdue University Online Writing Lab.

For help writing this assignment, go to Writing About Literature ; for more specific help, feel free to e-mail me with questions.


Writing Assignment 3

Choose one of the following topics and write a complete, considered answer. Be sure to support your statements with evidence from the text, and be sure to document correctly. You MUST use direct quotes from the text or your paper will not be eligible for any grade higher than a C. Required length: 3-5 pages (500-1250 words).

This assignment is due Friday, December 1.

1. A predominant theme of literature in the last 50 years is the fragmentation and isolation of contemporary life. Choose one of the writers from the list below and discuss the ways in which this theme is (or is not) reflected in his or her work:

Brooks Roethke Lowell
Ginsberg Plath Baraka
Baldwin Silko Lahiri
Bass Bloom Cisneros
Desaulniers Doerr Yarbrough
Auster Frazier Diaz

2. Choose one of the short stories we read from the Modern era (by Anderson, Faulkner, Hemingway, or Parker) and one story from the Postmodern era (by Baldwin, Silko, Lahiri, Bass, Bloom, Cisneros, Desaulniers, Doerr, or Yarbrough) and compare their themes and techniques.

3. One of the recurring themes of contemporary literature is the unstable nature of "Truth." How is this theme addressed in The Book of Illusions, Thirteen Moons, or The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao?

4. One of the recurring themes of contemporary literature is the relationship between the past and the present. How is this theme addressed in The Book of Illusions, Thirteen Moons, or The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao?

5. Choose your own topic. Clear it with me before writing.

For information on using MLA format to cite and document correctly, see The Writing Tutorial Services at Indiana University, or The Purdue University Online Writing Lab.

For help writing this assignment, go to Writing About Literature ; for more specific help, feel free to e-mail me with questions.


Final Exam

Of the works we have read this semester, which one have you liked the best? Explain. Which one did you like the least? Explain. Suggested length: 2 paragraphs (although you may write more if you wish). (Maximum possible points: 50.)

This assignment is due Monday, December 11th.
NO LATE FINALS WILL BE ACCEPTED, as I must turn in grades immediately!!!