Research Essay Prompt
– The requirements for English 111 stipulate that each student must write a Research Essay. This means, basically, that you must write an essay that
incorporates scholarship, most likely from both academic and popular sources. For my course in particular, you can write about anything that falls within the
conceptual landscape of the class, i.e. any issue, theme, topic, idea, or question that has arisen from the readings. Note that it is possible, though not likely,
that you select a topic that scholars haven’t written about yet; in these rare cases, it is permissible that no scholarly sources be included.
Topic: As far as topics are concerned, you have two general options:
1) The first option is to write a comparison of Ninety Days with another addiction narrative. Remember that list of addiction movies we watched in class one
day? A comparison of Ninety Days with any of those films/narratives would be a great project. Here is that list, in case you haven’t seen it yet.
2) The second option is for you to come up with your own topic related to the texts and/or materials of the class. If you want to do this, you must get the
topic approved by me before you begin researching and writing the essay. If you’d like, you can read ahead to the essays from next week to come up with
other potential topics (I’m thinking specifically of Rebecca Solnit’s “Casssandra Among the Creeps,” Download “Casssandra Among the Creeps,”which will
bring an entirely new topic of discussion to our course and will make possible a lot of different research possibilities). You might also think about comparing
This Is Our Youth to another movie or text in the same wasted-youth genre, or with some of Lonergan’s films; or, even, thinking about This Is Our Youth as a
statement on toxic masculinity. Finally, you might think about comparing representations of suicide, faith, or nihilism in The Sunset Limited with another text.
The essay may not, however, be about anything of your choosing. Remember, it must be related to the texts of the class or the set of questions/ideas that we
have been discussing in class. Thus, you may not write about gun-control, the legalization of marijuana, or climate change–all important topics, but none are
relevant to the work we are doing in this course.
Details: The essay must be a) 8-10 pages long; b) contain at least four sources; and c) two of those sources need to be drawn from academic sources (we
will review the difference). The essay is due on Friday, April the 22nd at 11:59 pm. Obviously, no late submissions will be accepted. This is the firmest of
Final Suggestions: You should approach this essay as the most important piece of writing you will do for this course. In that light, the essay should be free of
errors and it should contain a clarity of expression that your other essays did not strive for because you did not revise and develop them as much. I
recommend that you revise this essay four or five times before turning it in. As 25% of your grade, you cannot afford to risk turning in an error-strewn,
grammatically troubling, and loosely-formed piece of writing, which will get you a C minus at best, and only if you are extremely deft at bullshitting. I love you
though. Good luck.