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ENGL 1102 Diebert - They Called Us Enemy

Short Story Research Paper

It never hurts to have the assignment written in more than one place, right?


ENGL 1102/Diebert

Essay 3: researched essay, They Called Us Enemy

5-6 pages (app. 1250-1500 words)

This essay contains several components that distinguish it from your two prior essays:

1. It focuses on an aspect or aspects of the graphic memoir They Called Us Enemy. A few possible starting points are listed below. We will discuss the book over three class meetings (and possibly part of a fourth).

2. It is a bit longer than prior essays.

3. It requires the analysis and incorporation of secondary research in addition to the primary source analysis you’ve done in prior essays.

4. It requires proper in-text citation and Works Cited entries for multiple sources, not just one.

5. It requires submission of a properly formatted annotated bibliography.

6. Your secondary research may also be interdisciplinary, meaning you can bring in other fields of knowledge besides literary interpretation to bear on your main focus: history, political science, psychology, sociology, et al. The essay, however, needs to be grounded in They Called Us Enemy.

As before, your essay should have a clearly delineated introduction, body, and conclusion. Your main argument/interpretation should be defined in a clear thesis statement early in the essay. The body paragraphs should develop and back up that thesis statement, using convincing evidence and supporting details. Your essay can express an opinion, but opinion is not enough—your evidence must build your case if your opinion is to have any weight. (Just because you’re selling it doesn’t mean I have to buy it.)

No plot summary for its own sake. You may detail a small portion of plot only in the service of a larger point or argument. And don’t try to write about or “cover” the whole book—you’re defeating yourself. I recommend you start small—specific scenes, people, dialogue, exchanges, and/or descriptions—and use one or more of these starting points as your way into the larger points you want to make.

Possible starting points:

· Style/layout of TCUE; storytelling strategies

· The graphic novel as memoir: How much is truth? How much might be stylized? How does this book arrange and orchestrate what we learn and how we react?

· A specific aspect of this time in history: Executive Order 9066, construction of Rohwer (or other similar camps); life in Rohwer; the process of internment (“rounding up”); “separate but equal” existence; World War II xenophobia; racism (official and unofficial)

· An aspect of George Takei’s years in Rohwer that influences his later life/career

· Japanese-American soldiers in World War II

· Takei’s involvement in social justice movements, and/or the goals and achievements of a specific movement

· Principles of democracy and/or their absence: human rights; legal rights; innocence and guilt

· Reparations: Can a proper price be affixed to an historic wrong? What do reparations achieve symbolically or practically?

Again, the above are only starting points. You must shape your initial ideas and rough writing into an essay which asserts a main point (via a thesis statement), which can be developed and backed up with specific evidence.


You must cite at least three secondary sources in your essay, in addition to your primary source, TCUE, for a minimum total of four. Secondary material must come from one or more of the following locations:

· GSU library databases

· Print books (critical essay collections, critical biographies)

· Print periodicals (magazines, scholarly journals, newspapers)

· Multimedia (broadcast transcripts, CDs, DVDs, streaming audio/video)

· An Internet search engine (Google, Yahoo, etc.). While there are many helpful sources on the Internet, be especially careful. Look extra hard for evidence of credibility:

· Where the source originates: a known and relevant organization, a university, a library, an archive

· Credentials of the author or organization: is this a source for objective information and research, or a site built by a fan or random person?

· The tone of the material presented: does it seem objective, fair, unbiased, level-headed?

· How often the site is updated, or when it was last updated

Sources you may not cite for this assignment include the following:

· encyclopedias and dictionaries (online or print—Wikipedia included)

· almanacs or other “fact books”

· reader guides (SparkNotes, Cliffs Notes, et al.)

· class notes

Incorporate material from outside sources sparingly and wisely. Pick only the best material that truly supports what you have already written or thought. Only use direct quotations that say it better than you can; otherwise, paraphrase and summarize when you want to borrow. Don’t let secondary sources drown your voice.

Giving proper credit:

Whenever you borrow from another source, you must give that source credit. Failure to do so is plagiarism and can result in your failing this assignment and/or the entire course. Two types of documentation are required for this essay: in-text (or parenthetical) documentation and the Works Cited page, both in MLA style. We will review both of these in class. My rule of thumb is when in doubt, cite your source. Points will be deducted for serious and repeated errors in in-text citation and/or on the Works Cited page; make sure you follow the correct format.


Essay 3 is worth 100 points and will be assessed holistically using the essay grading rubric in the Start Here folder. The essay counts 25% of the project grade.

As questions and/or problems arise during any stage of this process, please see me.