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ENG 241

British Literature I

Essay #2 - Assignment

English 241 - British Literature I

Due Date: November 23

Length: Five to seven pages (not including the works cited page)

Format: MLA Style

This paper must analyze and produce a well-focused discussion of one work we have read this semester. It should be on a topic of your choice and should make use of your own insights. As far as approaches go, yours must be analytical—in other words, it would be unacceptable to produce a short biography of a writer, and it would be inappropriate to simply trace a work’s critical reception. Put another way, you need to use your analytical skills to explore the work in detail. You also need to show that you are aware of the critical discussion surrounding your subject. This paper is your own conclusions based on the research you use, but you should begin by showing the conversation your paper is responding to and by having a clear thesis statement that illustrates your own argument (without using “I”). Simply put, your paper should be argumentative—again, it should have a thesis—and its organization should be clear to the reader.

Throughout the paper, you should include at least four direct quotes and incorporate them smoothly, point out possible objections to your argument, and use appropriate transitions. These papers should exemplify your skills at thinking, writing, and editing. You should have a specific title indicating what your thesis is (example: “Macbeth’s Desperate Haste”).

You need to refer to at least four sources that address the subject (though feel free to refer to more – no more than six sources total sounds like a reasonable target). At least two of the sources must be book chapters or articles that CANNOT be found on JSTOR. All of the sources you use should be peer-reviewed and academic. In other words, Joe Schmoe’s website on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is not an appropriate critical source. You should cite these sources appropriately in-text with parenthetical notes and on a works cited page. 

You might begin by brainstorming how you will address your chosen text, what your argument is, how you will structure your argument, and/or how your argument differs from or aligns with those of other critics. Final papers should be five to seven pages long (again, not including the works cited page). The grade on this paper will be based on how clearly focused the thesis is, how organized the analysis is, how well examples and quotations are handled, and how technically smooth the writing is.

As always, late papers will not be accepted, and you need to submit a final copy of the essay to SafeAssign via Blackboard prior to 6:30 pm on November 23. Two printed full rough drafts of the essay are due in class for peer review on November 16.

How to Be Successful for This Assignment

Welcome to the ENG 241 guide, a place to get the research you need to complete your assignment.  You will find pages to help with your research.


ENG 241 Assignment Topics 

"Bede and Caedmon's Hymn"


"Beowulf Fights Grendel's Mother"

"A Dream of the Rood"

“The Wanderer” 

“A Wife’s Lament” 

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 

“Epithalamion” by Edmund Spenser 

Astrophil and Stella 

“Hero and Leander” by Christopher Marlowe


Utopia Book I by Thomas More 

Utopia Book II by Thomas More

Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe 

“The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd” by Sir Walter Raleigh

Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

“The Flea”

“The Canonization”

“A Valediction: Of Weeping”

“The Bait”

“A Valediction:: Forbidding Mourning”

“Holy Sonnets” 

“A Hymn to God the Father” by John Donne 

“To My Book”

“To John Donne” 

“Song; To Celia” 

“To Heaven” 

“To the Memory of My Beloved,”

“The Author, Mr. William Shakespeare” 

“Ode to Himself” by Ben Johnson

“Milton Introduction” and sonnets

“How Soon Hath Time” 

“When I Consider How My Light Is Spent” 

Paradise Lost Books I and II

“John Dryden”

“Absalom and Achitophel: A Poem”

“Mac Flecknoe” 

“Jonathon Swift” 

“A Modest Proposal” 

“Alexander Pope”

“An Essay on Criticism” 

“The Rape of the Lock” 

“Samuel Johnson”