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DO NOT cite Wikipedia in academic essays.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. 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 good material. There's more about how to use the databases below, on this page, and also on the Writing About Literature page.

How to submit your work

Your essays will be submitted to me via e-mail. Write your assignments in your word processing program. PLEASE SAVE YOUR FILE AS EITHER A WORD FILE OR AN RTF FILE. Then attach that file to your e-mail message. When sending assignments, your e-mail message should include your name, the class number (English 102), and the name of the assignment which is attached.

Use correct MLA format for the appearance of your essay and your documentation.

Eliminate spelling, grammar, and other mechanical errors from your writing.

Send your e-mail to me at annw708@gmail.com.

NOTE: always keep copies of all of your assignments. If there is a problem with e-mail, you will need that copy to re-send for credit.

Writing Assignment 1--The Short Story

Choose one of the following topics and write a complete, considered answer. Your thesis statement must be clear, precise and explicit. Support your thesis with specific details, examples, and direct quotes from the stories. An essay which does not include direct quotes from the story cannot receive a grade higher than a C. Required length: 2-5 pages (500-1250 words). Be sure to include a Works Cited list. Use correct MLA format and citation techniques in your essay and your Works Cited list. Maximum points possible: 100.

This assignment is due Tuesday, January 9.

1. Choose one of the following stories. What is it saying about the difference between reality and perception?