Research Project: Maus

This will be the major research component of this course and it is worth the largest percentage of your grade.The text at the center of your research project is Maus. I expect the final draft of this project to remain in sections. Do not spend your time/energy in crafting transitions—I’d rather you focus on each section’s content and analysis.

The Proposal

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It can look like this:

Paper #3 Proposal



Source #1 title and author:

Source #2 title and author:

Source #3 title and author:

Final Draft Structure and Instructions

Part 1: Introduction

What is your argument? What claim are you making about Maus? How are you using a theme or metaphor to help your readers understand something new about the novel? The .pdfs in the course library should be utilized. This section will include your thesis.

***This section should explain:

1. novel (how does this novel speak to the theme or metaphor you’ve selected)

2. theme (why does this theme or metaphor speak to the novel as a whole)

3. “so what?” (why/how should your reader care about the argument you’re making)  

Requirements: 400 words, at least 1 outside source.

Part 2: Critical Context

1. Give me an overview of the critical conversation around your theme/topic.. You could consider several of the following: politics, history, economics, society, culture and science/technology. 2. Relate this critical context to your theme and the novel. 3. Cite at least two reputable sources.These reputable sources should be critically focused and do not have to mention the novel. It is your job to make the connections between the critical context, novel, and your argument for the reader. Requirements: 400 words, at least 2 reputable sources.

Part 3: Criticism and Response

Find one critical piece that examines your theme and the novel. The “piece” may be either a peer-reviewed journal article or a chapter from a scholarly monograph. Journal articles can be accessed via the library search engines.  The article must have been peer-reviewed.  If it is a book chapter, the chapter must be focused on the novel, not just mentioning it in passing. The “piece” must be working with a certain theme in the novel. Read the article. Write a detailed summary (about 300-400 words) and then respond to it (about 100 to 200 words). Your response, whether you agree or disagree, should refer to specific examples from the critical work. Requirement: 400 words; one source, a peer-reviewed journal article from a library database OR a chapter from a scholarly monograph.

Part 4: Close Reading

Sticking with the particular theme from your thesis, pick a passage from the novel you’ve selectedto close read. The selection of text should not be longer than a page. You will close read that theme into the passage, which will serve as the best example to prove your thesis. Then you must make a claim about what that theme does for the novel as a whole. Requirements:  400 words; no sources needed, but you should make frequent references to the novel.

Part 5: So what?

You’ve done a significant amount of analysis so far. Now you must further answer the dreaded so what? question that plagues English papers. What does all of this matter, why did you tell the reader this analysis, and how can you connect this reading to outside of the text (or our current lives)? Requirement: 400 words, no sources.

(Total word count: 2000 words)

Your works cited page also has requirements:

1. MLA format

2. No hyperlinks anywhere

3. At least five sources: Part I’s 1 source, Part II’s 2 sources, Part III’s 1 source, and the novel

In the past, I’ve had a few students who have missed the mark on this assignment in ways that severely impacted their grades. Below is a “do not” list to prevent any major slip-ups.

1. Do not write less than 400 words per section. You will lose many, many points.

2. Do not use Wikipedia or other non-academic sources. Ever.

3. Do not choose a book review for any of your sources.

4. Do not confuse your own analysis with quoted material. It should be clear to the reader where the source ends and your analysis begins. Use in-text citations in MLA format.


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