This is a research paper, including Heading and Works Cited (using correct MLA style and format, 12 point Times Roman font), investigating a compelling
topic in young adult literature.
Headings and Works Cited should not be included in the page count. Your paper may discuss how YA literature incorporates ideas of race, class, and gender.
Or you may look at comparisons in an author’s work who writes for both children and adults. Another option might be to approach YA literature thematically,
studying several novels across one theme (such as eating disorders, death, sexuality, disabilities, racism, etc.).
You may choose to do an author study, reading at least three books by the same YA authors and discussing themes, characterization, social concerns, etc.
For instance, consider Rowling’s use of good vs. evil in the Harry Potter books. Or an author’s development of the independent woman character in his/her
Discuss potential influences on the young reader and be sure to address the “So what?” factor, indicating not just your observation about a book or books, but
also WHY it is important to explore your point in an academic essay. Try to incorporate outside sources where possible without just filling out word count
with overly-long block quotes.
*Be sure to include textual support in the form of quotes from your primary text(s). Think of using interviews with the author and book reviews to help round
out your discussions. You may want to investigate censorship (book banning) in YA literature, both presently and historically, using a specific YA text. You
may want to identify and analyze YA literature that has crossed over into mainstream fiction, again using one or more YA novels.
You must use at least one primary Young Adult literature text (perhaps as a case study) and at least two secondary critical articles or some sort of related
article that will strengthen your argument. If you are unsure of what a good secondary article is, you need to talk to me about this. Sparknotes and other
“cheating” sites are NOT acceptable, nor are “fan websites” produced by non-scholars. Official author websites do, however, work in most cases. Also, avoid
Wikipedia as a source as it is not vetted (anyone can post to it although they often have links to solid sources).
I expect this paper to have a strong thesis and not just be a review of a topic. For instance, you wouldn’t just talk about “sexuality in YA novels” but, rather,
how you feel the topic works in YA novels. Does it drive the plot? Educate? Caution the reader against it? Battle against societal conventions? Think of the
paper as an “argument” where you present your claim and support it with scholarly “evidence.” Keep in mind that this class is at the 4000 level. Please avoid
writing a sociology paper where you address the characters as if they were real people. You want to write an English paper, complete with literary theory and
close readings from your primary text.
You want to follow these steps:
Craft an arguable thesis (not just a topic) that you will support throughout your paper.
Conduct library research to locate critical material (secondary texts) related to your primary text. You must use at least one YA novel as your primary text. It
does not have to be one on the syllabus this semester.
Choose TWO critical/scholarly essays (from a book or journal) that you believe bring up important points of discussion about your primary text. If you are
unsure if about an article, please consult me. Some of our books may not have articles written specifically about them. You should, however, be able to find
helpful sources related to your ideas.
Compose an 1850-2000 word essay that addresses your chosen topic, using the outside sources to help stress and develop your points. It is fine to quote or
paraphrase these authors but be sure to properly document this. Avoid overly long quotes in a paper of this length. Do not count your heading or Works Cited
in your word count.
Use MLA format throughout the project. Include a Works Cited page with primary and secondary sources listed. I would suggest consulting the most recent
edition of the MLA Handbook which is available at the reference desk of our central library and online. Double-space papers, 12 pt. Times Roman font, 1 inch
Use parenthetical documentation in the body of your work if you quote or paraphrase from the essay or primary text. Short quotations and paraphrasing are
encouraged as a means to introduce or explain a point in your analysis. Remember, it’s better to have an author’s name leading into their quote and then have
the page reference at the end of the sentence. Use the “quote sandwich”