ENGL 2302 Research Paper Prompt
• You will submit a college-level paper of 5-8 full pages (in addition to the Works Cited page), choosing one of the topic options listed below. You may write about a
topic not listed below, but you must get my approval of your topic before you write the essay. If you need some assistance in brainstorming your topic, I am willing to
• Your paper should put forth an original thesis of your own and should be primarily concerned with an interpretation of a primary text or texts along the lines of the
suggested topics below.
• All papers will be submitted electronically through Blackboard email.
• Any late paper will be penalized a letter grade/day late.
• The paper will be evaluated according to the English Department’s rubric and instructions given in class.
• You must use at least one primary source and three scholarly sources (a minimum of four sources total) other than plot summaries, abstracts, and other sorts of
general reviews as found on the web. Dictionaries, encyclopedias, Wikipedia, Spark Notes, and similar sources, while helpful in beginning research, do not constitute a
• All documentation must conform to MLA guidelines.
• Your paper must focus on a particular idea within and text or texts. The paper is NOT a plot summary of a work.
• (The online librarians stand ready to help you find solid sources if you need them).
1. Contrast Orgon and the king as authority figures in Tartuffe.
2. Discuss the metaphors of seeing and blindness in Tartuffe.
3. How does this play view marriage and relations between men and women?
4. Based upon the text, why does Orgon trust Tartuffe, a complete stranger, more than any member of his own family?
5. Discuss Orgon as a dynamic character in this play—what specifically and significantly changes and how can you tell?
6. Discuss how Pope uses animal imagery in Essay on Man.
7. As your handout on the Enlightenment notes, most Enlightenment thinkers believed in the perfectibility of man and progress. How does Pope counter that particular
8. How does Pope exemplify the use of reason? On the other hand, how does he counter his age’s reliance upon reason?
9. Using Keats’s “Ode to a Grecian Urn” and Wordsworth’s “Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey,” discuss the poets’ concepts of an ideal for humanity.
10. To what extent is man capable of good or evil? Compare Pope’s and Douglass’s respective answer to that question, using the sections of their works that our class
11. Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Confessions is considered an early reflection of Romanticism Discuss how this work reflects the Romantic characteristic of wanting radical
12. How do specific physical struggles in Douglass’s Narrative affect spiritual struggles?
13. Examine the evidence that suggests that Madame Lubov Ranevskaya never intends to save the estate and, in fact, gets exactly what she wants at the end.
14. Contrast Trofimov and Lopakhin in their ability to change the world.
15. There are several romantic (or potentially romantic) relationships in The Cherry Orchard. Why does each fail?
16. Discuss the theme of escape and/or freedom in The Cherry Orchard.
17. This play often alludes to time and the passage of time. What does the emphasis mean?
18. Discuss irony in this play, especially what you consider to be the chief irony.
19. Discuss the impact of the setting(s) and cultural differences in Daisy Miller.
20. Compare and contrast Daisy Miller and Winterbourne, deciding which one is truly the protagonist of this work.
Within the text of your paper, you are required to document quotations with the MLA format for in-text citations. See your handbook, but in summary, you will use:
The relevant page number(s) for the fiction: “her unrivaled beauty” (410).
The relevant line(s) for poetry: “leaping into chaos” (line 37) in 1st citation; simply (28) in subsequent citations.
The relevant act, scene, and line(s) in the play: “the scoundrel must pay” (4.2.37).
You will also document and cite all secondary sources used within your paper.
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