ENG 330 Final Paper Topic Research

The topic I will be researching for my last paper in this class is:

The child’s perspective or the narrative voice in two or more of the following: Motl the Cantor’s Son, “The Calf,” “The Story of My Dovecote,” “Bridal Veil,” “Shoes,” “Breaking the Pig”

Lenght: 6-8 pages.


Resist the temptation to begin with a broad or general introduction about Jews, Jewish literature, Jewish history, etc.  These sorts of introductions rarely contribute to the work of the essay, and are usually so general as to be inaccurate or irrelevant.  Begin by setting forth the task of your essay and why this task is interesting.  It usually takes a few drafts to figure out what this is and why it’s interesting, so give yourself enough time to go through a few drafts.

The emphasis of your paper should be on the literary aspects of these works first and foremost.  Show us how the text works, and focus your attention on short, significant, and representative passages and motifs.  Subjective, personal response and moral-historical reflections should be kept to a minimum and used only when earned in the context of a well-written literary analysis.  Persuade with textual evidence and accurate readings.  Read the texts carefully and don’t take things out of context.  Anticipate rather than ignore counterarguments or alternate readings.  Keep material from course lectures in mind to make sure your readings are accurate and plausible.

Avoid plot summary.  We’re all familiar with these texts, and the paper is too short to retell the plot at any length.  A sentence or two is fine.

Make sure all quotations are included grammatically and deftly into your discussion.  Block quotations should be used sparingly and only for quotations of more than 4 lines.  Block quotations do not receive quotation marks but are instead indented and set apart from the main text.

Use a standard style guide (MLA preferred) for citation and formatting.  For MLA or parenthetical citation, punctuation follows the parenthesis.  Examples:

 Zalman Shneur writes that, at the beginning of the mass migration from Eastern Europe, the thought of going to such a Jewishly profane place as America was entertained only by “the ignoramuses, the rabble, the wretched tailors and unskilled cobblers, those who had nothing to lose by leaving their place of origin with its many strictures and little sustenance” (Shneur 487). 

 In the essay “Trans-National America,” which appeared in 1916, Bourne argued that America was to be a “federation of cultures” (115), while in his 1917 essay “The Jew and Trans-National America,” Bourne even claimed that Zionism was the quintessence of the “new spiritual internationalism” (128) he was advocating. 

For texts on the website, use the bibliographical information presented in the discussion questions documents when available.

Titles of books are italicized or underlined.

Titles of poems, chapters, stories, essays, etc. are neither italicized nor underlined; they are placed in quotation marks.  E.g., The Brothers Ashkenazi by I. J. Singer; “The Story of My Dovecote,” by Isaac Babel.

Give your essay an apt and interesting title that reflects its argument.

Papers will be assessed on the following criteria:

Argument.  The quality and clarity of the claims you make.  Are they thoughtful, accurate, noteworthy?

Evidence Does the essay persuade the reader with accurate readings of and evidence from the texts?  Does the essay take into account alternative readings that might contradict its arguments?  Avoid extensive plot summary; assume your reader has seen/read these texts and contextualize episodes or plot elements succinctly.

Presentation Is the paper free of grammatical and spelling errors and awkward constructions?  Does it read nicely when read aloud?  Are quotations incorporated into the text deftly and grammatically?  Have you correctly used a standard style guide (MLA preferred) for citations and formatting?  Are titles either italicized (in the case of book titles) or put in quotation marks (in the case of poems, chapters, and stories)?

Wish me luck!


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