Junior Research Paper

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Junior Research PaperCensorship of Literature in America | English III: American Literature(Second to Third Quarter) |

POINT TOTALS: The paper itself is worth 200 points; the components of the process are worth 120 points.

TOPIC: Much of third quarter will be devoted to learning about the process of researching and preparing a final research paper. You will first choose and read a book from the history of American Literature that has been restricted or banned.


1. Read the book over your Christmas break. 2. Research the controversy surrounding the book, that is, why has the book been challenged/banned in the United States at some point. 3. Find information in defense of the novel. The American Library Association is a good place to start for finding this type of information. 4. You will also need to find critiques of the work – good or bad. This will help you present both sides of the issue before coming to your own conclusion on whether or not the book should be banned. Magazines, journals, and online texts will be useful. 5. Ultimately, you are writing a persuasive essay. You will pick a side, and then write an argument for or against challenging/banning this book (no first person!). You MUST incorporate very specific elements from the novel (themes, characters, language, writing style, plot, setting, etc.), and information from your research that supports your opinion.

To accomplish this, select an author and work(s) from the attached list that interest you – the list is limited only to American writers, but there are plenty of them!

Because the number of sources is limited, there will be a limited number of students allowed to write on each author as well as each work of literature. I must approve your choice.

Once you find and read the work by the author you have chosen, then it is time to discover its history: why some people wanted to ban or restrict access to it, and why some scholars and critics see value in the work. This is where your research comes in. Visit your local library or the Nazareth library and use the online databases to find historical sources and literary analyses.

Then, from your own reading, the history of the controversy, and the opinions of critics and scholars, argue whether or not the book should be banned or restricted. Make sure your argument takes into account whom the proposed ban or restriction is applied to. If the historical issue is about whether children or high school students should have access to a particular book, make sure your argument focuses on that target audience. You will also need to include examples from your primary source to prove your point.

LENGTH: All junior research papers in the English department are required to fall between five to six pages in length, not including the mandatory Works Cited page. Your paper must be five full pages (in 12 point Times New Roman font) with one-inch margins on all sides to meet the length requirement.

1. Organization is a crucial factor in your success on this paper. Therefore, you must buy a separate folder for any papers or handouts related to the research paper. Be sure your name and mine are on the outside, so that if it gets lost, it can be returned to you. This should be brought with you to class every day, and is worth points.

2. Be sure you have Diana Hacker’s A Pocket Style Manual. Bring it to class each day we work on the paper in class. Make regular use of the Purdue Online Writing Lab for formatting.

3. You need to find at least 5 secondary sources (critical analysis on the author’s works, background information, historical information, etc.). These will go on your works cited page, in addition to the work(s) actually written by your author. Everyone, therefore, should have at least six works listed on his or her works cited page, AND cited within the paper.

4. Your primary source must be cited from at least six (6)