A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner

Goal of this assignment:

Student Learning Outcomes:

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Students can distill a primary purpose into a single, compelling statement.
Students can order significant points reasonably and convincingly based on that purpose.
Students can develop their ideas using appropriate rhetorical patterns (for example, narration, example, comparison, classification, cause and effect, definition).
Students can employ correct diction, syntax, usage, grammar, and mechanics.
Students can manage and coordinate the necessary information gathered from multiple sources.

Incorporating Research:

The skill of synthesizing different sources allows you to see a variety of arguments—this is a transferable skill you will use for the rest of your life beyond your English courses. For this assignment, you may choose to use your sources in a variety of ways, such as background evidence, support for your main argument, or as the opposition to your argument that you then refute. However, you choose to approach research; you will use a minimum of one primary source and one secondary source in this research essay.

The approaches that you can choose from:

To Begin:

Choose one or two of the five approaches listed below, create a thesis statement, find support for your argument, and write a 3-4-page paper synthesizing these sources with your own argument. Be sure your overall topic is narrow and fits the scope of this course.


Critical Approach
Review the following link:

Critical Approaches: Types of Literary Criticism from Jenny Reyes

To take a critical approach, you could choose from a variety of literary criticisms such as feminist criticism, Marxist criticism, post-colonial criticism, and so on. For example, An essay using post-colonial criticism could discuss William Shakespeare’s Othello by analyzing the roles of race, power, and struggle in the play.

Historical/Cultural Context
Review the following link:


A historical or cultural context approach could include research on the history of the time period or the larger cultural context. For example, An essay using historical context as the basis for research could discuss Henrick Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and research various histories of women’s suffrage or more significant ideas of women’s roles during the Victorian Era.

Biographical Details:
Review the following link:


A biographical approach could include research into the author’s biography and a discussion of how these biographical details contribute to the poem, play, or short story. If you are writing about Jamaica Kincaid’s Girl, you might research Kincaid’s Caribbean childhood and create an argument about how her childhood affected/inspired the short story and/or her writing style.

Review the following link:


To create a literary argument discussing form and/or genre, you want to start by looking up the origins, beginnings, or history of either form or genre. For example, if you are analyzing a sonnet, understanding the different types of sonnets as well as the history of the sonnet may help you understand why the poet would choose that particular form.

There are various ways to consider this approach, including but not limited to: A comparison/contrast between written text and live performance, the physical creation of a primary source, or even audience reception and reviews.

Things to Remember:

Seek out a variety of perspectives and sources regarding your primary source; do not merely use the first secondary source that references your chosen piece of literature.
State your argument in a clear, argumentative thesis statement.
Correctly quote, cite, and explain both secondary and primary sources.

The Assignment:

Your essay should be organized in a clear manner that develops each of the claims you present.
Use transitions between paragraphs and ensure that every element of your essay supports your focus.
You must use at least one primary source and one secondary source.
What is primary and secondary? https://library.ithaca.edu/sp/subjects/primary
To ensure that your secondary sources are valid, it is best to use the library webpage:


This essay must be 3-4 pages long (not including the works cited page), typed, using standard MLA formatting and citations.
You must include a Works Cited page that lists your references, including your primary text. This Works Cited page does not count toward your final page count.

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