English 2100 Fall 2023:  What Goes Unsaid?


English 2100

Fall 2023 – Professor Sylvor

Essay #3 What Goes Unseen:  Community Problems and Solutions

Final Project: Analytical Research Paper + Presentation

Analytical Research Paper

5-7 pages, 12pt type, double-spaced, with one-inch margins

This is an analytical research paper.  This means that you will not simply be collecting information about your topic; you will also be interpreting your research findings and drawing conclusions about your topic.

Topics:  Your first and most important task is to identify a PROBLEM that you’d like to explore.  This problem must be a problem that is affecting a COMMUNITY that you consider yourself to be part of.  In order to make this project meaningful, I encourage you to identify an issue that you yourself genuinely feel strongly about.  Ideally, this will make the research and writing experience less burdensome because you will be working on something that is important to you.  The problem you select should be one whose solution is not clear or obvious; this is where your own analysis will come in.


  • By Sunday, November 19th, post three possible topic ideas to our class blog.  All three should be issues that you are genuinely interested in.  You can identify three different problems in a single community or share ideas that relate to different communities that you consider yourself to be part of.
  • On Monday, November 27th, you will bring your selected topic with you to class in writing either in the form of a one-paragraph articulation of the topic, a traditional outline, or some combination of those two formats. This should include a description of the problem you will be researching as well as an explanation of your particular interest in this problem.
  • By Wednesday, November 29th, you will submit a preliminary list of sources via Google Docs, by placing your document in your individual ENG2100 folder. 
  • Monday, Dec. 4th – Drafts Due:  Bring three hard copies of your draft with you to class
  • Presentations:  You will be sharing your research with the class in presentations on Wednesday, December 6th and Monday, December 11th.
  • Essays Due: NO LATER THAN Friday, December 15th.   You will be submitting your finished essay by placing it in your English 2100 folder and giving it the title “Your Name Research Paper”.

Additional Information:

Essay Organization

Your essay should be organized simply, using the following basic structure:

  1. Description of the problem.
  2. Identify source(s) of the problem.
  3. Possible solutions.
  4. Your recommendation.


In researching this paper, you must draw from a minimum of four sources.   You will cite your sources in accordance with the MLA guidelines (9th Edition).  We will be reviewing the guidelines together in class, and you will receive a separate handout with more detailed instructions about using and citing sources.   One of your sources should be a source that you access through the Newman Library Databases (I will be showing you how to use these.)  and one of your sources should be a “non-traditional” source.  (This could be a personal interview, a social media post, a photograph – anything other than a typical written text.)

The last page of your essay will be a  Works Cited page that lists all the sources you refer to in your paper.  (This page should say “Works Cited” at the top of the page.) This is different from a bibliography; a bibliography lists all the works you’ve consulted, but a Works Cited list includes only those sources you’ve actually quoted or referred to in your paper.  You will be following MLA 9th Edition (2021) guidelines in formatting your entries.


You will be sharing your research with the class in presentations on Wednesday, December 6th and Monday, December 11th.  We will be picking names from a hat to determine the order of the presentations.  You should be prepared to spend no more than five minutes sharing your research findings with the class in whatever format you think will be most interesting and effective.  Do not worry about creating fancy slides or sophisticated audio or video.  Your presentation should describe the problem you’ve researched, share some of what you have learned about this problem, and offer your recommendations about how the problem ought to be addressed. These presentations will happen before you have submitted the final version of your essay, so you may get information from the presentation that will help you with your revisions.  Attendance at both of these sessions is mandatory.  

Essay #2: Literary Analysis

4-5 pages, 12 pt type, double spaced

Choose Text: Start by deciding which text you’d like to write about. Your choices are: 

Jamaica Kincaid, “Girl”

Junot Diaz, “Fiesta, 1980”

Z.Z. Packer, “Drinking Coffee Elsewhere”

Tim O’Brien, “On the Rainy River”

Draft Due: In class on Wednesday, November 1st  (Bring 3 hard copies with you to class.)

Essay Due: Sunday, November 12th (by midnight).  Give your file the name “Your Name – Literary Analysis” and place it in the Google Docs folder you shared with me earlier this semester.

In a thoughtful, focused analytical essay exploring any one of these texts, respond to one of the following prompts:

1. In all four texts, we encounter characters who are struggling to figure out who they are, either in terms of what it means to be a man or woman or in some other sense.  Explore the relationship between gender and identity in your chosen text.

2. Use the title of your text as a lens through which to approach its main concerns.  What, in your view, is the central significance of the title?  How does it instruct us to read the story?

3. We come to understand ourselves better through our relationships with others.  Each of the texts you’ve read features important encounters between two people.  Choose one of these relationships and explore its significance. 

If none of these prompts speaks to you, you are welcome to formulate your own paper topic.  Please share it with me before beginning to work on the essay! 

These prompts are your starting points.  Once you have chosen a prompt and a text, find a way to articulate your topic in the form of a question. (It can be very simple, like “What does “Fiesta, 1980” have to say about masculinity?”)  Then think about the body of your paper as an attempt to answer the question you’ve posed.  Once you’ve written your draft and figured out what it is that you have to say in response to your question, you may find that it makes sense to go back and rewrite your introductory paragraph in a way that lets the reader know where the paper is headed and what your central claim is.

Successful papers will do the following:

  • Use  the introduction to lay out the question you’re asking and provide a road map to the rest of the essay.
  • Start each body paragraph with a topic sentence that expresses an idea about the text.
  • Use direct quotation and paraphrase in order to illustrate your ideas.
  • Refer to the text you’re writing about using the present tense.  (i.e. Dina meets regularly with Dr. Raeburn.)
  • Have a main idea/central claim/thesis that is analytical, rather than descriptive.  One way to test whether your claim is analytical or not is to ask, “could a reasonable reader conceivably disagree with what I’m saying?”  You want the answer to be, “yes!”

NOTE:  These essays should be close readings, based solely on your own ideas about the text and the conversations we have had about them in class.  Please trust your own ideas and resist the temptation to consult any online resources for help with your essay.  This includes, but is not limited to, scholarly secondary sources, study-aid websites, online term paper sites, and artificial intelligence platforms like Chat-GPT.  Keep in mind that submitting work that contains any words or ideas that are not 100% your own without crediting them to their source is a violation of Baruch’s code of Academic Integrity and has serious consequences.