Oedipus Rex, Research Paper
Assignment Sheet for Drama Essay
· Formatting requirements: Use standard MLA document formatting requirements. Google “OWL Purdue MLA documentation style” and click on the first link for a sample and detailed information.
· Length: 1,000 to 1,500 words, not including the Works Cited page
· Due Date: See your syllabus.
· Submission Directives: Submit your essay as an attachment to the Assignment dropbox in the designated Learning Unit. (See your syllabus and the Learning Units).
· Assignment Objectives: Your goal is to apply a critical strategy to a work and to develop and support a specific thesis. Your essay should be unified, developed, organized, and coherent. In addition, it should use sophisticated sentence style while meeting the demands of standard English. I’ve given you specific topics to get you started thinking, along with plenty of handouts elsewhere in this Learning Unit to help guide you.
· Rubric: Be sure to read the designated rubric carefully so that you have a clear idea of what criteria I will be using as I grade your essay.
This essay should be about four to six typed, double-spaced pages long and should include three to five sources of documentation. You are required to submit your essay to the tutor in Smarthinking before you submit your revised essay to me.
This essay should be based upon one of the plays that we’ve studied during this portion of the term (see your syllabus). Some are available in film versions, if you check the web, although the quality and accuracy of the film versions vary.
About the research:
You need at least three sources beyond the play itself, although you can add more if you’d like (Using additional sources will not count for or against you).
There are plenty of sources available online at http://www.galileo.usg.edu. Always click full text to access complete sources. The databases you want are under the letter “L.” Both “LION” and the “Literary Reference Center” will give you plenty of sources. Type in the author’s last name for a number of sources. You can also type in the author’s last name and a critical perspective as well. For instance, “Glaspell” and “Feminism.”
To do the Works Cited notes, you may want to use http://www.citationmachine.net. You can also search Google for “OWL Purdue MLA” and follow the models that are there. Or you can search “Zotero” in You Tube to get information about a free plugin that will work with the Foxfire browser to help you format your Works Cited page. Use the sample research paper in your text in Chapter 30 as a model. Also, of course, take a look at the sources that I’ve given you in the current Learning Unit.
About the paper’s content:
Like your other papers, you are simply trying to explain to the reader a way of understanding or interpreting the play. To a degree, you are arguing that your way of seeing the work is a more reasonable way than some other.
For Trifles, there are many options. You could examine how the play reflects stereotypes of gender, and how Ms. Glaspell works against those stereotypes. Or, you could look at feminism and the play, suggesting how the husband (and the other men) dominate and denigrate the women and how the women bond together to struggle against that mistreatment. Or, you could look at audience and consider how an audience of today would respond to the play’s ending and how that response would likely differ from an audience who watched the play when it was originally produced.
For Oedipus Rex, there are also many options, especially if you consider formalist approaches involving character, irony, theme, setting, etc. You can also think about Queen Jocasta’s role in the play. Does she play a subordinate or a dominant role, or somewhere in between? Or you could think about Oedipus. Is he a good king or a bad one? Why?
For A Doll’s House, certainly a formalist, Marxist, Feminist, or Gender approach could work, although you are not limited to any of these. Since we are doing research for this essay, you can also use a biographical or historical approach with any of the plays. However, keep in mind that your goal should be the same as in the other papers (to shed light on the meaning of the work as literature); don’t get sidetracked into writing primarily about biography or history.
Whatever approach you take, remember that the “research” is minimal and should be used in one of three ways:
- to provide additional authoritative support for your ideas
- to provide a context or background for your ideas
- to provide a clear explanation of a point of view that you will argue against
Attempt to work in your quotations smoothly, rather than dropping them into the text without any introductory material. For instance, use transitional phrases, such as “In Emily Dickinson, Harold Bloom argues that….” and “Unlike other critics, Bloom in Emily Dickinson suggests….”
Remember to help your reader see where someone else’s ideas begin by using these transitional phrases and where someone else’s ideas end by including a page number or other indicator at the end. Here’s a complete sentence quoted and cited: “Literary critic Harold Bloom asserts, ‘The image here of a woman and her escort, Death, meditating on the prospect of eternity, is neither one of despair nor loss nor outrage, but of resignation’ (37).”
Finally, don’t make this assignment into more than it is. Like your other writing assignments, this one just asks you to express your opinion about what a work of literature means. Do that, and you’ll be fine.
As always, let me know if you have questions or concerns.