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ENG 241 British Literature Assignment #2

Library Resources for students in Professor Snoke's ENG 241 class.
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Research Paper: Literature of the 16th /17th Centuries

Due Dates (Mark your calendar!) :

  1. Essay 2 Prospectus- November 4
  2. Essay 2 First Draft- November 9
  3. Essay 2 Peer Review Feedback- November 15
  4. Essay 2 Final Draft- November 18


The purpose of this essay assignment is to demonstrate an understanding of literature associated with the 16th and 17th centuries. Also, the essay will showcase close reading skills, critical thinking, synthesis, research methodology, and effective source integration.


  • Create an essay ranging from five full pages of text to seven full pages of text (excluding the works cited page).
  • Apply MLA formatting to the essay: 12 pt. Times New Roman font, double-spaced, 1” margins, last name and page number in the upper right-hand corner, and a heading including your name, instructor’s name, class, date, and title.
  • Apply basic composition skills: topic sentences, thesis statement, logical and effective organization, effective integration of sources, transitions, and incorporating appropriate content.
  • Understand and apply standard written English. Use appropriate vocabulary and avoid mechanical and grammatical errors.
  • Incorporate at least three scholarly sources into the essay using MLA guidelines for in-text documentation and for the works cited page. (You should have at least four sources in your text—three critical sources and the primary text under analysis). You must include textual evidence and your research throughout the entire essay. You may use handouts provided in the essay, but you must incorporate three other scholarly sources. Not including the required number of sources will result in a penalty of ten points per missing source.


For the research essay, you are to offer an original literary argument and interpretation of at least one of the assigned readings in Vol. B or Vol. C. These readings include Astrophil and Stella, Doctor Faustus, Twelfth Night, and Oroonoko. You can choose two of the assigned readings if you’d like, but no more than two.

  • Note that your topic must be debatable, such as focusing on precursor texts (influences), drawing parallels between readings by focusing on why a specific theme is prevalent in tragedies, or focusing on the social or cultural criticism offered in a particular reading and the source or motivation for the criticism.
  • I will do what I can to help you refine or revise your argument when I review your prospectus. Also, you can always email, or make an appointment to discuss your ideas via Microsoft Teams.

Suggested Process:

  1. Pick a text you like (or can manage working with) and brainstorm possible areas for research other than the text, such as historical events or literary devices.
  2. Gather substantial research, such as six different sources from credible areas. Having more than enough gives you the chance to put some articles aside without having to research again.
  3. Actively read the research and synthesize the sources in order to narrow your focus to what you know you can reinforce with evidence. Don’t make points and assume you’ll be able to find the research later.


When integrating sources, explain the relevance of the information you integrate to your argument. How do particular quotations strengthen your points? Also, if you cite information that is not about the text under analysis, be sure to apply it to the text. For example, if you cite general criticism about tragic heroes, you must show how that information relates to the text under analysis. Be sure to exclude first person and second person pronouns. Also, you should have research/textual evidence to reinforce your claims in each body paragraph. In order to avoid explication and to focus on analysis, do not use events from the poem or quotations as topic sentences. Your topic sentences should refer back to your literary argument/thesis statement.

Note: The following sources will not be accepted:

  • Wikipedia.org
  • Shmoop
  • Sparknotes
  • Dictionary.com
  • Primary and secondary educational resources
  • Blogs, op-eds, summaries, etc.
  • Any other reference/encyclopedia type sources that are similar to any of the sources listed above.

Instead of relying on basic Internet searches through Google, Yahoo, etc., use the databases accessible through the school’s library. For the best literature-based research, access Bloom’s Literary Reference Center or JSTOR. Your scholarly sources should have credible authors, and they should be published in anthologies, journals, or other sources that are reviewed and edited by fellow scholars.