Thesis paper / Final Essay (1500-2500 words, which is usually about 6-10 typed, double-spaced pages)

1 page proposal (intro/thesis paragraph; and topic outline) - DUE 11/26

  • Please include a working title
  • Your proposal must make a clear, arguable claim about value.
  • Your proposal should allude to specific criteria..

Complete Rough Draft (3 copies printed for class); DUE 11/29

Revised (and rough) Draft to Prof; 12/3

Conferences 12/5-7

Final draft (with revision, rough draft, peer-edited drafts, and cover letter) due one week after your conference

Relevant course objectives:

  1. Write well-argued essays using purposefully selected and organized textual evidence from literary texts
  2. Develop higher order reasoning skills by synthesizing ideas from several points of view and from multiple texts – higher order reasoning skills must be derived from the selection and organization of specific examples, particularly through attention to patterns of thought that emerge from extensive and thoughtful quotations from course texts

These papers will go through a peer-editing process and at least one revision before being submitted for my evaluation. During our conference, we will discuss revision strategies. You must revise your draft after our conference, and your revisions should be purposeful and effective. Content, Organization, Mechanics and Revision are equally weighted. You will also compose a “Revision Cover Letter” to be submitted with the final version of the Essay. This one-page, single-spaced document addressed to me will narrate how you addressed your professors’ and classmates' suggestions for improving the final product. You must also include multiple, marked-up drafts showing your revision process for any revision credit (the absence of which would reduce your final essay grade by one quarter).


Style - MLA style header, with title centered, followed by introductory paragraph(s). Sources - quote and paraphrase appropriately from 2 or more course texts. Use MLA style in-text citation and a Works Cited page at the end to credit sources.


  • How many sources should I use?

This is not a research paper. You should draw on two or more class readings. You may quote, paraphrase or summarize other sources if needed. But you should not think of this as a research paper where a certain number of sources are required. Rather (see course objective 1 above) the focus should be on your argument and your use of sources to explore your ideas. It is crucial that you integrate your sources into the flow of your own argument.

  • When is everything due?

Intro and outline on Friday.

You must bring three (3) copies of a complete draft on Thursday 11/30

You must bring your classmates' drafts back on Friday for class discussion

Revised draft due to the Prof on 12/4 Final draft due for a grade one week after your conference with me.

  • Is “I” O.K.?

“I” is O.K. (But remember, any writing move loses its effectiveness if it becomes repetitive. In an argumentative, persuasive, or evaluative essay, just about everything you write could be prefaced with “In my opinion, …” or “I believe….” So be judicious. )

  • How do I address the Core B question?

Don't try to resolve the abstract question of the good and bad in a universal sense; rather, frame an argumentative claim in specific terms. For instance, write about the value of one or a few works from the Electronic Literature Collection of Against Expression. That is, use an example or case study, ex.: Shelly Jackson's “My Body” demonstrates how a born-digital text can achieve recognized literary values of expressiveness, audience engagement, and artful use of language by exploiting the unique dimensions of the hypertext format.

Alternatively, you can form a broader claim about a specific mode/genre of E-lit or conceptual writing. But your approach should be persuasive and your purpose should include evaluation. There are many options here. For instance, you don't have to argue that hypertext is a superior literary form to the novel; you could, instead, argue that teaching hyperext writing would be useful for H.S. creative writers. Or you could argue that good interactive fiction has value in encouraging critical thinking – i.e. it's a “good” teaching tool, even if you don't want to argue it's great art, etc.

  • How many sources should I use?

I recommend at least one critical source (Goldsmith, Hernstein Smith, Greenblatt, Cage, etc.) and one creative work. I strongly discourage essays from taking on more than two literary examples or more than two or three critical sources. Depth is more valued than breadth.