Guidelines for Paper #4
ENGLISH 112W -- Nel
 
Due Date: Friday, April 17 (6 pp.)
 
Develop an argument about one set of poems listed here. The thesis may foreground similarities and differences between the poems' formal elements (e.g.: meter, rhyme, diction, tone, and imagery) in order to discuss their themes, or you may choose to address the poems' formal qualities during a discussion that compares and contrasts the poems' themes. So, do not feel compelled to account for any or all poetic devices in your thesis statement; instead, make use of them during the discussion itself. Choose one of the following options:
 

1.

Hardy's "Hap," Crane's "A man said to the universe:" [X], and Fenton's "God, a Poem"

2.

Millay's "Spring," Dickinson's no. 328 ("A Bird came down the Walk"), and Stevens's "The Snow Man"

3.

Hughes's "Let America Be America Again" [X], Brooks's "kitchenette building" and "my dreams, my works, must wait till after hell"*

4.

Bradstreet's "The Author to her Book" and Atwood's "Spelling" [X]

5.

Dickinson's no. 505 ("I would not paint -- a picture --"), Ashbery's "The Painter," and O'Hara's "Why I Am Not a Painter"

6.

Hayden's "Those Winter Sundays" and Komunyakaa's "My Father's Love Letters" [X]

* Denotes that you may not choose this option if you have already written on this poem.
 
 
Guidelines:
 

1.

Read and Reread. Read and reread the poem you've decided to write about, with a mind to the topic you have chosen. As you take careful notes (underlining all relevant words, phrases, and images), make use of the "What Is Close Reading?" handout and the discussion on versification in the Norton Anthology or in Abrams.

2.

Formulate a thesis. Make sure your thesis is specific enough to be covered adequately in the space of your discussion. Remember: merely noting a difference or similarity does not constitute a thesis. There must be a point to your comparison or contrast, an argument that links the works in question. Refer to the handout titled "Thesis vs. Topic."

3.

Brainstorm. Formulate ideas and collect quotations that will prove and develop your thesis.

4.

Organize your argument logically. Be sure that each paragraph has a controlling idea and that each paragraph leads logically to the next. Do not introduce ideas that will distract your reader from your central point.

5.

Prove it. A quotation should be used as evidence to prove your assertions. All general statements should be supported with evidence from the text. Be sure to analyze the quotation and discuss its significance.

6.

Be specific. Stay away from vague generalizations.

7.

Conclusion. Your last paragraph should synthesize, not summarize. You should resolve -- and not merely repeat -- your argument.

8.

Revise and edit. Read your paper out loud to yourself. Often you will hear what your eyes will miss.

9.

When in doubt, get help. My office hours are TR 1:00-2:30, W 3-4, and by appointment. My email address is Philip.W.Nel@Vanderbilt.Edu philnel@ksu.edu. And please make use of your Bedford Handbook and (if you bought a copy) The Elements of Style.