Final Research Essay

ENG 2800: Great Works of Literature I

Final research essay

Due date: December 17 by midnight. Submit via Blackboard

Guidelines: 7 pages in length, with one-inch margins. Please use parenthetical citations including line numbers throughout. Include a bibliography of your outside sources (in MLA format) at the end.


The goal of this assignment is to craft an original, argumentative analysis of a maximum of two texts from our course, comparing them on the basis of a shared topic or idea. The texts you select do not need to treat your chosen topic in the same way. In fact, it is sometimes more interesting when two texts differ with regard to a single idea. If you would like to write on one text instead of two, you may do so, as long as you are able to sustain an argumentative analysis for 8 pages. I will expect to see the following in your essay:

  1. A clear focus on a specific idea, theme, or motif, paying close attention to the author’s use of figurative language.
  2. Argumentative thesis statement. A good thesis statement explains not only what an essay is about but also how and why it is important. [See this step-by-step guide for reverse engineering your thesis if you are having trouble getting started]
  3. Evidence in the form of quotations.
  4. In-depth analysis. Each of your paragraphs should engage closely with the details of the text.
  5. Finally, this final paper should include two peer-reviewed electronic sources as evidence of outside research.

This research will most likely take the form of a scholarly article about your text and/or topic. Please do not use Google. Instead, I would like you to use the Baruch library website to conduct research. Note: in-person research is currently not allowed due to the pandemic. If you are unfamiliar with using scholarly sources, I have put together a research guide to help you navigate the library website.

How to Use Scholarly Sources:

Outside sources can be used in a variety of ways. Here are a few of the ways you might try using scholarly sources in your essay:

  1. The source provides a useful counterpoint to your argument. For example, “Although Stephen Greenblatt claims […] in his article on Paradise Lost, I claim the opposite.”
  2. The source helps you to clarify or frame your intervention. For example, “Similar to Roxane Gay’s argument in Bad Feminism, I argue that ‘feminism’ in the Wife of Bath’s Tale is […].”
  3. The source helps you to survey other relevant responses to a particular topic. For example, “Building on the arguments of Edward Said and others on the topic of English colonialism, I show that Milton, in Paradise Lost, critiques the colonial project by […].”

Please include all relevant bibliographic information at the end of your essay using MLA format.