Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

ENGL 1102 Mitchell - Short Story Research Paper

Short Story Research Paper

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


Short Story Research Paper

You will write a research paper of between 1,500 and 2,000 words on one of the following short story: “Cathedral,” "The Lottery," "Brownies" by ZZ Packer, "The Sky is Gray," "A Jury of Her Peers," "Spunk," "The Shawl," “Story of an Hour,” “The Things They Carried,” “Two Kinds,” “Everyday Use,” “The Yellow Wallpaper,” or “A Wall of Fire Rising.” However, you cannot use the story that you analyzed in the short story essay. For this paper, you will make and support a focused argument about how the author comments on a specific historical event, movement, or issue from the time period in which the work was written. This argument must be in a thesis statement at the end of the introduction. A weak thesis for this paper would be “Alice Waker in “Everyday Use” comments on the Black Power Movement.” A stronger thesis would be “Alice Waker in “Everyday Use” comments how the focus on African culture by many in the Black Power movement in the 1960’s and 1970’s caused them to be blind to the positive aspects of African American heritage.”

You must cite at least five scholarly secondary sources in your paper. You must also have your primary source in the works cited and use concrete evidence from it, but it does not count toward your five secondary sources. You should use most of your secondary sources more than once. For your secondary sources, you can only use books or articles from academic databases. General internet sources are not allowed. If you have any questions about whether a source is acceptable, please come talk with me. These sources can be about the historical event, the literary work, the author, or what others have said about how the author comments on the historical event. The important thing is that you use sources that support your thesis and you explain how they support your thesis. You must use a mix of paraphrase, and quotes. You must use one and only one block quote, a quote of four lines or more in the paper. Do not just summarize your primary or secondary sources. Briefly present your sources and focus on analyzing how they support your thesis. Research often takes time, and you will not have to chance to revise this paper. Because of this, it is extremely important to start your paper, especially your research early, and have several people, including me, look at it to make sure you have a polished draft for conferences. If you start the research early, it will be easier for me to help you if you have problems. Also, remember that I will give you a zero on the essay if you blatantly plagiarize, and I will submit I report to my department chair saying I did so.

An Effective Paper:

  1. Correctly incorporates research and clearly explains how the research supports the thesis.

  2. Has a clear, complex, argumentative thesis.

  3. Contains logically organized paragraphs with topic sentences, claims, specific evidence, and analysis of that evidence.

  4. Correctly incorporates evidence for a primary source, the literary work itself, and connects this evidence to the research and explains how this evidence supports the thesis.

  5. Contains correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, and correctly formatted works cited page and in-text citations.


Double spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font, MLA 9th edition format, with in-text citations. In addition, you must include a works cited page properly formatted. The works cited does not contribute toward the word count.