English 202: Children's Literature
Due: 5-7 pages (1500-2500 words)
Dates: proposal (1 page): due in class on Dec. 7; must cite at least 1 source
rough draft (minimum 3 pages): due in class Dec. 14; must cite at least 2 sources
--print and bring 2 printed copies to class for peer review
final draft: due on Blackboard* before class on Dec. 21; must cite at least 3 sources
*To submit, attach your file in Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) or Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format to the appropriate assignment link on our Blackboard site, under "Assignments."
Your major writing project for this course will be an essay for which you will: select one of the examples of children's literature we are reading in the second half of the semester and develop your own thesis about the work, drawing on library sources to enhance and support your discussion. "Research" in literary studies generally means finding and reading other essays, articles, and book chapters by critics and scholars (professors) about the book you are studying. In other words, I am not asking you to consult government data or conduct lab experiments or field interviews!
Literary research means reading other experts' opinions about your chosen text -- or about texts related to it
, like other books by the same author,
other books in the same genre,
or works that explain aspects of the author's historical or cultural context.
We will be visited in class on Nov. 30 by a WCC librarian who will review for you the college library's resources for finding relevant materials, with a special focus on children's literature. Many materials these days can be accessed from home or off-campus through the library's collection of research databases; but the library has unique resources on site as well.
You can choose any one of the books we are reading. You may want to read ahead in an exploratory way to see if an upcoming reading is the one that interests you most. (If you have a strong desire to write about one of the readings from before the midterm, we can discuss it.)
As for a topic, so far much of our discussion has been on the issue of genre: what categories tell us about a work of literature, but also how each work revises our understanding of the genre seems to belong to, and how many works draw on multiple genres. We have examined the genres and subgenres of fantasy literature; we are now turning to works of realism and historical fiction. Additional genres we will study are: picturebooks and graphic novels. In upcoming weeks, we will discuss representation of race, ethnicity, and gender in literary works, as well as historical representation. But there are many more worthy topics you can develop independently. Use your textbook (which you are free to cite in your essay, though it will not count toward your required number) to think through the concepts that you find most interesting in the topic areas relevant to the book you would most like to write about. The textbook also cites many recommended critical sources, usually books, which the WCC library may own or, if not, should be able to borrow for you, if you give them enough time.
You will build your essay in three stages. Your proposal should take a few paragraphs to identify the book you want to write about, why you want to write about it, and a source (article, book, or book chapter) you have found that you think will be useful for your essay, saying why.
Your rough draft should be a provisional attempt at the essay, working toward a thesis, but focusing on discussion of the text (citing specific passages and analyzing them), and citing at least 2 sources for support.
Your final draft should be a polished essay, with a persuasive thesis, developed structure, and at least 3 sources cited for support. Your thesis should be introduced and stated in the first paragraph (introduction), supported and developed in the body paragraphs, and summarized and reflected upon in the conclusion. The last page of your essay should be a list of Works Cited, in MLA format. You will submit the final draft to an assignment link on our Blackboard site.
All drafts of your paper should use MLA style, which basically means: 1-inch margins on all sides, a 4-line heading, double-spaced type in a standard, 12-point font, last name and page number in the upper right corner. See your writing handbooks or an online guide like the OWL at Purdue for more information: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/section/2/11/ with a sample paper here: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/13/
The proposal and rough draft will be ungraded. Only the final draft will be graded, up to 200 points, following the attached department-standard rubric. Late work will be penalized 10 points, in all three stages of the assignment.