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The Literature ReviewPurpose This assignment offers students the opportunity to: Analyze and interpret assigned readings.Communicate ideas effectively through writing.Demonstrate knowledge of the assi

The Literature ReviewPurpose This assignment offers students the opportunity to: Analyze and interpret assigned readings.Communicate ideas effectively through writing.Demonstrate knowledge of the assi

The Literature ReviewPurpose

This assignment offers students the opportunity to:

  • Analyze and interpret assigned readings.
  • Communicate ideas effectively through writing.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the assigned readings.
  • Practice the critical and analytical methodologies of the Humanities and Fine Arts.


Literature Review:

    • You must follow MLA formatting guidelines.
    • Your Literature Review is a writing assignment that demonstrates your general knowledge of the assigned literature and should be 3 to 5 pages long plus a Works Cited page.
    • In the future, you will expand your Literature Review as part of the submission of your Research Project assignment.
    • For this writing assignment, you will be giving a descriptive overview in paragraph form of at least 3 works of literature assigned as required reading during the first half of the course and at least 3 scholarly secondary sources (1 for each of your 3 works of assigned literature). In your description of each of the the literary works, you should establish the context of the time period in which the literary work was written, offer a brief summary of the author, and discuss the major themes present in the work.
    • You will need at least six total sources; although, you could have more if you choose, but at minimum, you will need:
      • 3 Primary Sources: Pick any 3 selections of literature assigned from Week 1 to Week 7. The book is "The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Shorter 9th edition, edited by Robert S. Levine, Norton, 2017." Be careful not to confuse the assigned readings of literature with the editorial sections of the textbook.
      • 3 Secondary Sources: For each of your 3 selections of literature you chose, you will need to find at least 1 scholarly article or other scholarly work (a book or chapter of a book or content learned from any of the Supplemental Materials videos) that discusses the work of literature.
        • While you can use the editorial sections of the textbook as a source, the textbook editorial sections do not count toward your required 3 secondary sources. Be sure to cite the textbook if you quote from or paraphrase from the textbook.
    • Your Literature Review will need a brief introductory paragraph, a body of several paragraphs, and a brief concluding paragraph.
      • Introduction:  Your essay introduction should establish some context of your exploration of American literature. You can be fairly general in the introduction, but consider using the introduction to discuss American literature in a general sense by answering a few of the following contextual questions: 
        • Who colonized the portion of North America that becomes the United States?
        • Why did colonists come to British colonies in North America?
        • What struggles and conflicts arise in America during colonization? After Colonization?
        • When does American literature begin?
        • What are the tenets of American culture?
        • If there are specific themes or topics driving you toward an exploration of your chosen works of literature, be sure to touch on those themes or topics briefly in your introduction, but you can be fairly broad.
      • Body: Your goal in the body of your Literature Review is to establish your general knowledge of the literature you have chosen. Your essay body should be several paragraphs that give a broad overview of each of your chosen works of literature. For the purpose of this assignment, organize the body of your literature review in chronological order in which the works were published.  Be certain to offer at least one direct quotations from each of your chosen primary sources. Explain how your evidence demonstrates the these or topics you see represented in your chosen sources. Be certain to cite the source of any evidence you use in your literature review, but the body paragraphs are a great space to discuss:
        • when and why the literature was written
        • connections to historical events, political changes, major arts movements
        • the author's biographical history
        • any specific themes or topics evidenced in the work of literature
      • Conclusion: The conclusion to your literature review should summarize key points your reader should learn when they read your literature review. You could briefly remind your reader of the key themes or topics that were revealed throughout the body of the essay.
    • Some general comments:
      • Do not write statements in first person (I, me, my, or mine).
      • Do not write statements using "we," "us," "our," or "you."
      • Be formal.
      • Avoid vague pronoun use. Sentences are rarely made better by using the word "it."
      • Use specific language. Put a noun after "this," these," "some," "many," most," "others," and "one."
      • Be careful to cite direct quotations and paraphrases using MLA formatting guidelines for research.
      • Be careful to include a complete Works Cited entries that follow MLA guidelines.
    • The Purdue OWL offers an excellent resource to help develop your Literature Review: Purdue OWL Literature Review.

Criteria for Success

  • 3 to 5 pages plus a Works Cited page
  • Establish a thesis statement
  • Demonstrate good essay structure with the inclusion of well written:
    • Introductory paragraph
    • Body paragraphs
    • Conclusion paragraph
  • Demonstration of knowledge of assigned works of literature by including at least:
    • 3 sources of literature from the assigned readings from Week 1 to Week 7
    • 3 secondary sources focusing on your chosen works of literature
    • Inclusion of at least one quotation from a source in each body paragraph of your essay
      • Explanation of your quotation is required
  • Demonstration of MLA formatting guidelines
  • This assignment will be graded following the English Department Standards for Evaluating Written Work.
  • All work must be submitted to the assignment dropbox in Microsoft Word format
  • Late submissions are not accepted
  • Incidences of plagiarism will receive a zero and will be reported for misconduct
  • Use of AI generated responses will receive a zero