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Eng  2 23 5
Final Paper


Your term paper, also known as the final project, is worth 20% of your total grade. To pass the course, you must pass the final paper.   The purpose of this final paper/project is not just to grade you on what you have learned, but also--and more importantly--to give you a chance to stretch the wings you have been growing in this course and to really dig more deeply into a specific subject--and theory--in which you are interested.  For this reason, there are fewer reading assignments in the final weeks, little or no homework, and thus extra time to work on this paper/project. 

This term paper is a big deal: 1/5th of your grade for the class. So, you should treat it as a big deal by giving it plenty of time. The schedule allows for about a month of work on it.  If you follow the steps properly, which allow for this one-month period--and read and reread all the directions--it is possible to do very well on this term paper.



--------Links to Useful Interpretive/Argumentative Theories Online--------





NOTE: You must use Microsoft Word (or Office) Software.  If you need it for your home computer, please purchase it immediately if ordering by mail because it may take 2-3 weeks to arrive.  If you are an IHCC student, you may buy Word for a low price by going to www.inverhillsbookstore.com and, at the bottom of the page, clicking on "Microsoft Promo."
You must use Word or Office to write and send me the term paper by attachment, to read my comments that I send back, and to make your revisions on the term paperYou can NOT use an ".rtf" attachment to send your manuscript, as this will not retain page number inserts, it will not show my comments and markings properly, and it will not let you make revisions as I require them.  Word is a common and expected software program in almost all 3000 and 4000 level classes in college and in many online classes at any level  Again, as long as you are an IHCC student, you may buy a new copy of a recent version of Word for $66 (as of 4-09) by going to the bottom of the page at  www.inverhillsbookstore.com and clicking on "Microsoft Promo."


This final paper is meant for you to both enjoy a research project and learn better how to write the most important type of college literary paper--an interpretive literary thesis.  This web page provides a clear and extensive checklist of requirements for writing your papers.  Your final revised paper will be given a letter grade and awarded X's or points as follows:

A+ = 20 X's/points
A   = 19 X's
A- = 18 X's
B+ = 16 X's
B   = 15 X's
B-  = 14 X's
C+ = 12 X's
C   =  11 X's
C- =  10 X's

You should develop your paper from one of your weekly rough-draft "literary/interpretive thesis papers."  Use a theory/idea from Campbell or use another theory. (See "Theories.")  NOTE: The theory cannot be something very broad and general, like "psychology," economics," or "feminism"; rather, it must be  a specific theory from a specific author and a specific article or book about that theory: e.g., Campbell's Hero, Freudian psychology, Weber's economics,  Esther Harding's feminism, etc. 

Your rough-draft lit thesis paper that you decide to use will be called your Draft I of your final paper.  You don't have to write a new Draft I--your Draft I simply will be the rough-draft weekly paper that you choose.  However, if you want to start on an entirely new reading, you can do an Interpretive Thesis (IT) on it as part of your homework, and this Interpretive Thesis (IT) then becomes your Draft I.  (If you want to write on something you've read in a previous semester, you'll still need to read it again and treat it like homework this semester--you can reread it during the the independent homework time allowed to you around the time you are starting to work on your term paper.)  However, you must make up your mind about what Interpretive Thesis will become your Draft I--and do so no later than the time when you give me your Draft II.  

Whatever you choose, you must start with two situations:

(1) an entirely separate theory that stands on its own

from a theory book, theory article, or theory author, and 

(2) a good-quality selection of mythic literature.

The first (1) means, for example, one or more of Joseph Campbell's ideas, like the hero's journey, the definition of a hero or a helper, etc.; or any other specific theory from a book or article discussing that theory in such fields as psychology, philosophy, history, culture, sociology, or anything else theoretical.  If you have any doubts, ask me way in advance.  If you don't use Campbell, then you may see the list of links to "Theories" for a starting point. However, Campbell's ideas are a safe and natural choice.  Anything outside of Campbell should be okayed with me before you even start writing it so that you don't waste your time writing something that you can't use.   Above all, you should not choose a theme that comes from the myth itself--i.e., do not choose something inherent/embedded in the myth that most people who have read it a couple of times would agree is present in it.

The second (2) means that you may use one or more classic myths or modern ones.  You do not have to ask permission if you decide to use one of the course readings.  If you choose something else, and especially if you choose something modern, be sure that you have okayed it with me--again, do this before you start reading it so that you do not waste your time on something that can't be used.  Also, as you choose, you should remember that you can't just choose any old myth; instead, because this is a literature course,   you must choose mythic literature and examine the myth as quality literature.  However, the I tend to take an expanded view of what "literature" is, and I have accepted papers about critically well-received graphic novels and modern, well-received twists of fairy tales.  But do ask me first.

        There are three drafts due at the times shown on the schedule, and these drafts MUST BE ON TIME.  There are almost no exceptions to this, as the value of having multiple drafts (and in getting a consultation form me about one of them) is significantly diminished if one or more drafts are late.  

        The purpose of this term paper is not just to grade you on what you have learned, but also--and more importantly--to give you a chance to stretch the wings you have been growing in this course and to really dig more deeply into a specific subject in which you are interested.  For this reason, there are independent reading assignments during the period of time when you are working on the first three drafts so that you can choose something of your own, even something somewhat long, if you wish.

        See below, "Grading Requirements," on how you will be graded on (1) your contents, (2) your supports and details for your contents, (3) your organization of your paper using an interpretive thesis, (4) your use of orderly, well connected, thoughtful, and cohesive units of ideas and paragraphs, and (5) your mechanical presentation--grammar, spelling, punctuation, and typing   Each of these five elements will be graded separately and equally.  Again, see below--go over the "Grading Requirements" below carefully.
Methods for Interpreting (8-09)

            Many people, when trying to write an interpretive literary thesis paper, make the mistake of starting with themes, lessons from the story, or morals of the story.  The main reason that these do not work as an interpretive argument is that they are not really an interpretation, and they are not an argument.  Instead, they are just simply a recitation, analysis, and explanation of something that most people who read the story carefully can get out of it or learn from it. 

            An interpretation is a very different creature--very different--and it needs a theory, point of view, or belief system behind it, one that is often entirely unrelated to the story or myth itself, or at least would seem entirely unrelated until someone forces it to be related  Your interpretive theory, point of view, or belief does not at all come out of the story or myth naturally: it is not a lesson in it or a moral from it.  It is something from a different part of life, a different walk in life, or at least it seems so until you start applying it. 

            The whole idea of bringing a new interpretation to a story—be it myth or some other kind of literature—is to carry something different, unique, unusual, unrelated, or otherwise new or even surprising from one area of life and thought to another.  Another way to look at it is that you must be—or pretend to be—a believer in a certain belief system.  It can be a type of religion, a philosophy of life, a form of psychology, politics, or sociology, or any other system of belief from any other discipline (economics, science, medicine, et al.) 

            It is like bringing a liquid of your choice to the flour of your story.  If you bring milk to wheat you will get one result, water to corn flour will give you another result, and whisky added to chocolate powder yet another.  Or it is like choosing what artistic tool you will use, on the one hand, and what material on which you will use it on the other—paint, watercolor, a chisel, or a knife on canvas, wood, clay, or paper.  Choose your interpretive idea, concept, or point of view to be entirely separate from—and different from—the story or myth on which you will use it.  The theory or idea you choose is your garden tool, and you will use this garden tool to dig around in your chosen story or myth, take the story or myth apart, and see what it is made of.


-   Take one idea or concept—or a series of related ones, like the heroic journey or a specific heroic type—from Joseph Campbell's Hero and apply it to something specific in the week's reading.

-   Take a part of one theory or system of thought.  For example, take the concept of the "id" from Freudian psychology, the "collective conscious" from Jungian psychology, "learned response" from behavioral psychology, or, for example, Esther Harding's psychology of myth and feminism.  Or, for example, take from philosophy the concept of Nietzche's "free will," Kierkegaard's "leap of faith," or Kant's "categorical imperative"; or, from economics, the concept of laissez faire capitalism, free market forces, or union labor; or, from religion, the concept of fate, karma, yin-yang harmony, spiritual justice, reincarnation, or even a whole branch of a religion such as Roman Catholicism, Sunni Islam, Mahayana Buddhism, etc.; or concepts from any of hundreds of other fields, disciplines, systems, beliefs, etc. If you have a specific article or book and/or author from which you can quote important parts of the theory, it probably will be acceptable--but ask me first. 

-   Take a part of the point of view of a very specific type of person who fits into a very specific category.  Thus, for example, you would not just choose a "working person" but rather, perhaps, a "left-leaning, union-membership, hardworking male steampipe fitter.  Or, for example, rather than just choosing an "alcoholic," you would choose, instead, a "white, female, 30's, lower-middle-class practicing alcoholic with two young children and no husband."  Or, for example, a very conservative, unmarried, white, female Lutheran minister.

-   Or take an entirely different story or myth—one that appears to be quite different—clearly not alike in any noticeably significant way—and/or one from an entirely different historical time.  Then argue how the two are alike in some unusual, unexpected, or hitherto unseen way.


-   A theme.  A theme is a factual meaning that almost everyone who reads the story closely or repeatedly can see or get out of it.

-   A generic or general theory so broad its ideas could come from anywhere. (You must be able to quote your theory's ideas from a specific source.)

-   A religion or religious belief in general. Especially avoid religious scripture such as the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, Buddhist or Hindu scripture, etc.

-   A moral of the story.  The moral of a story is generally just a common theme.

-   A lesson to be learned from the story.  That's the same as a moral of the story—a theme.

-   A point of view of someone in the story itself.  That's too close to the action.  An interpretive theory works better, usually, especially if it has little to do with the story itself.

-   A common viewpoint of most readers of the story, then or now.  That, too, is just yet another theme, lesson, or moral of the story.

-   A simple comparison/contrast with another myth.

-   The viewpoint of one or more average people.  “Average” means a regular person who has not developed a specific theory.  On the other hand, if it helps you to apply, say, relativity theory by saying, “Albert Einstein would say, ‘___,’” or perhaps “Sigmund Freud would say, “___,’” then by all means go ahead.  (Then in the final draft, change these phrases to “Relativity Theory would say” or “Freudian psychology would say.”)

For more on how to start an interpretive thesis paper, see Interpretive Thesis in the Homework page or "Chapter 47" of www.WritingforCollege.org

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Starting Your Paper

Read all of this Web page carefully and, preferably, print it out.  Consider what subjects you most would enjoy developing.  Talk with me and/or others to develop ideas or ask for comments on your initial ideas.  Here are directions for the first two drafts:


The Draft I

The Draft I of your graded paper is a rough-draft IT (“Interpretive Thesis”), 300+ words in length (see "Interpretive Thesis" in "How To Do Papers”).  This IT can be from a previous, current, or future reading in the course, or a reading of your own choice (with permission from me).  If you have already received X's for it as a previous or current IT, then you may simply remind me in 50+ words what your main argument (1 sent.) and 3-5 reasons why (3-5 sentences) are, or you may send me back the "X'ed" version with a note at the top stating it is your Draft I.  If your IT is new, please tell me that, too.  Send it labeled in the subject line as "Draft I Term Paper."  This Draft I must be on time--it cannot be a week late like regular weekly papers.        

NOTE ABOUT SCRIPTURE: Please do not choose, as your literary selection, something from a religion's scripture: e.g., you may not critique Bible, Koran, or other scriptural stories by any kind of value system (no good nor bad, no true nor false, no holy or nonholy, etc.).  And do not try comparing scripture to scripture--this is not a religious criticism or religious studies course, no matter whether you are discussing Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, or any other religion.  This is a mythology class, and structures of mythic beings and patterns are the subject of this course.

However, if you get the subject matter and argument okayed by me first, it is okay to use a specific theory--Campbell or otherwise--to critique mythic structures in religious literature: e.g., applying Campbell's theories to the story of Noah or, perhaps, to the story of Daniel in the Lion's den.  

Draft II

The Draft II is in two parts, both of which must be in on time:

Part I should be a simple outline of your paper composed of nothing more than your thesis sentence for the entire paper and your three to five reasons why it is true (your three, four, or five main topic sentences).  Please have at least four-six complete sentences, and write them with the thesis argument/interpretation first (so I clearly understand this is your main argument), and then the three or four reasons why (again, so I can clearly understand these are your three or four supporting reasons).  

Please use this or a similar formula or outline pattern:

"My argument is _____. 
There are three [or four] reasons why this is true.  First, ____. 
Second, ____. 
Third, ____. 
[Fourth, ____.]"

Part II should be an expanded, 3+ page (1000 w. or more), typed (double-spaced) version of the Draft I (sent by attachment or surface mail, or dropped off).   Hopefully, this draft should be starting to look like the graded paper.  Again, it should be typed.  It, too, must be on time.  How do you make this Draft into 3+ pp., double-spaced?  Add quotations.  If you're having trouble expanding, reading the "Draft III" requirements below, where there are a number of ideas.  Then start adding quotations.  You don't necessarily need outside sources, yet, for the Draft II--you may simply use just your reading--but if you want to start using outside sources, that's fine, too.  In any case, do use a lot of quotations from your reading.   

Why should you have a lot of quotes from your reading?  The idea is that in Draft I you mainly just summarized or mentioned what you read in your reading, but in Draft II and III you now need to show me the details--by adding direct quotations that prove, exemplify, and detail what you say is there.  A typical good interpretive literary thesis may have as many as three, four, or five quotations per typed, double-spaced page--occasionally short (less than a line), most medium (1-4 lines), occasionally a few long (over 4 lines and indented on left)--most of it from the reading that is being discussed.  

Pretend your audience is someone else in this class (other than me), and you must provide quotations to remind them of exactly what the reading says in order to gain their trust that you are understanding it logically and interpreting it in a reasonable way.  For the Draft II, do this adding of quotations enough to fill out each of your three to five sections a bit more, until you have your required length (or more--which is okay, too).

Here is a "map" of how the term paper should be laid out.  You can organize your paper in this way for both Draft I and II, or skip doing it in Draft I but aim for it, definitely, in Draft II.



Brief, Descriptive Title 




          1 paragraph only, 1 strong new
          quote--one of your best





          1 paragraph only, no quotes

          (summarize person, problem,
           solution, and main characters)




Section 1 Subtitle

               1st sent.: Topic sentence for section.         

         4+ paragraphs, 2-4 new quotations per page


Section 2 Subtitle

               1st sent.: Topic sentence for section.         

         4+ paragraphs, 2-4 new quotations per page


Section 3 Subtitle

               1st sent.: Topic sentence for section.         

         4+ paragraphs, 2-4 new quotations per page


Sections 4/5 Subtitles

               1st sent.: Topic sentence for section.         

         4+ paragraphs, 2-4 new quotations per page




          1 paragraph only, 1 strong new quote
          --one of your best




Map of Literary Thesis with More Details


Brief, Descriptive, Original Title 

Do not use the type of paper or the name of your readings for the title!




          1 paragraph only, 200 w. max., 1 strong new quote--one of your best.

          Summarize your thesis (your theory and what story/part of a story to
which you are applying), and a statement of your three-five main body
          body section proofs, in one or several sentences.  Underline each so
          they can be easily found.

          Typing of paper: - Use 12-point "Times New Roman" font.

                                   -  Use 1" margins all around.
                                   -  Double space (not 1½ or ¾ space)--nothing

                                   -  Indent 1st line of each parag. ½ inch ("0.5").

          Subtitles  --
          Use Underlined Subtitles even with left margin on a line alone:
          Introduction, Summary, and Conclusion. Do not use "First Reason" or
          "Reason 1": do use key words from the section's beginning topic sent.
See the "Grading Requirements" further below for more details on
          exactly what is required.




          1 paragraph only, no quotes
          100 min., 200 w. max

           Write a 100-200 w. "EA"--Expanded Analysis: summarize the person, 
           problem, solution, and main characters, & main symbol(s).


Section 1 Subtitle

        1st sent.: Topic sentence for section summarizing the whole section. 
        Then in one or several sentences, announce the part of your theory you will use, explain it
        if you want/need to, and the part of the story to which you will apply it.

        Develop 4+ parags./sect.: length, 2 sents.-200 w.; start each with parag.'s topic.


        Use 2-4 new quotations/typed page: start quote w/author's name & end with page
               number like this:

               Campbell says, "Quote" (16).
          According to Campbell, "Quote" (16).

You must have 3+ sources with min. of 1 quote from each in your paper: no Wikipedia or similar, no "famous quotes" sources, and no critics' quotes from critical reviews.

        Please label quotations in Bold so they are easy to find.

         See "Grading Requirements" below for more details on what is required.

Section 2 Subtitle              

        - See above, "Section 1 Subtitle," for how to develop each section.

        - Remember to have 4+ paragraphs and, on each page, 2-4 new quotations.


         - See "Grading Requirements" below for more details on what is required.

Section 3


        - See above, "Section 1 Subtitle," for how to develop each section.

        - Remember to have 4+ paragraphs and, on each page, 2-4 new quotations.


         - See "Grading Requirements" below for more details on what is required.

Sections 4/5 Subtitles

      At least three body sections are required.
      You may have four or five body sections (no more). 
      But all sections must be fully developed--with 4+ parags. and 2-4 quotations per page. 



          1 paragraph only, max. 200 w., 1 strong new quote--one of your best


          Repeat thesis sent. and 3-5 topics in a concluding way. Underline each again.


          See "Grading Requirements" below for more details on what is required.



Works Cited

        Bibliog. must have 3+ sources w/min. of 1 quote from each in your paper: no Wikipedia or similar, no "famous quotes" sources, and no critics' quotes from critical reviews.

        Use Noodletools or Son of Citation Machine to make correct bib. entries.

        Use hanging indents, double spacing; alphabetical order; in each entry, correct order and punct. of names/titles; et al.--use Noodletools or Son of Citation Machine. 

        See "Grading Requirements" below for how to access Noodletools.


Developing a Body Section

Here is a discussion and example of how to form a typical body section from above. 

First, imagine you are writing a paper using Joseph Campbell’s theories, and you are trying to prove that Beowulf is a shining example of the typical, classic mythic hero as defined by Campbell. You should start each section—and each paragraph—first with a brief statement of what the section or paragraph is about.  Then you should provide the theory with a quote or two.  Then after you have provided the theory, you should provide examples of it from the work itself that you are examining, in this case, Beowulf. 

Second, you’ll want to have your best info first and last in the section, and the least interesting info in the middle of the section, if possible.  And add your very best quotes from your theory—in this case from Campbell—in the very beginning and very end of the body section, too, if possible.

Third, the basic formula for a typical paragraph in a paper like this is as follows:

Typical Lit Thesis Paragraph

(1)   A statement summarizing what the paragraph is about or does

(2)   A quotation or paraphrase from the author of the theory         

(3)   One or a few sentences of explanation, if needed                   

(4)   A quotation—from the literary work you are examining—showing/exemplifying the theory

(5)   A summary sentence about how the quote applies to the theory.                                     

(6)   If useful, some additional quotations or paraphrases and explanations of how they apply (or additional paragraphs doing this).

(7) A final summarizing sentence stating what all these quotations prove about how the theory applies.                                      

Fourth, here is an example of the actual organization.  It shows what you might do if your second major body section were on Campbell’s “heroic courage” in the book Beowulf.  You might start your second major body section and each paragraph in it something like this:

Example of How to Develop A Body Section
Heroic Courage
[Underlined Subtitle at Beginning of 2nd Body Section]

        [Introductory paragraph of 2nd body section:] A second way in which the character Beowulf in the book Beowulf represents the nearly perfect image of a mythical hero is his courage.  Campbell refers to the courage of the mythic hero when he says, “________” (145).  Seamus Heaney, translator of Beowulf, also talks of the hero and his courage.  Heaney says, “________” (19).  [And then add a few more sentences summarizing how you’re going to explain this concept of courage in the rest of the body section.]
[2nd paragraph of section:] One of the ways in which the character Beowulf exhibits heroic courage is his brash manner.  Concerning such brashness, Campbell says, “______.”  In fact, Beowulf is very much like Oedipus in the Greek play Oedipus Rex in this regard.  As Campbell points out (161), Oedipus approaches the stranger at the crossroads as if he (Oedipus), a younger and unknown man walking on the road, has just as much right to be there as an obviously royal and much older and more respectable man riding in a carriage using several horses; Oedipus, of course, does not know that the older man is his true father.  In a similar fashion, Beowulf shows us the title character, Beowulf, being brash on several occasions.  Beowulf says, “______________” (128).  His brashness is evident in that he _______________.  On another occasion, he is brash when he _______.  This is illustrated when Beowulf says, “_________________” (179).  To summarize, Beowulf’s brashness in ___ and ___ and many other instances makes him, like Oedipus, a classic brash hero.
[3rd paragraph of section:] We also can see Beowulf’s courage in his risky behavior, being afraid of little or nothing.  Concerning risky behavior as courage, Campbell says, “______________” (139).  Heaney mentions this, too.  He says, “___________” (18).  [And then one or a few more sentences summarizing the concept of risk and the hero.]  For example, in one part of the story, Beowulf says, “__________.”  This is a hero’s risky behavior because _________.  In another place, Beowulf “__________” (210).  And in another, Beowulf “_______________” (101).  All of these risky behaviors are typical of Campbell’s and Heaney’s definitions of a hero with courage.
[4th paragraph of section:] A third way in which a classic hero demonstrates courage is ____.  [Etc., etc. for one or more paragraphs.]
[Final paragraph of section:] In conclusion, courage is an important trait of the typical or classic hero.  Courage means, as mentioned above, brashness, risky behavior, and ____.  Campbell says of courage and the hero, “____________” (213).  Clearly, Beowulf demonstrates these typical hero’s marks of courage.

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Developing Your Paper for Draft III

Your Draft III is the one you turn in to me for actual grading.  For expanding it, first read the above about "Draft II, Part II," and consider how you can expand your paper quite a bit just by having a lot of quotations from your reading.  There is some very important and helpful information in this section above.

Second, you may use Campbell as much as you want.  You also may use summaries of his steps in the "heroic quest" that he defines in Hero and can be found in summarized form in several Web sites I've listed in the "TEXTBOOKS & RESOURCES" page of our Web site (go there and look under "Other Online Resources").

Third, you can and, in fact, must have quotations from at least two other sources (or more, if you wish).  If you are working with a particular theory, discipline, professional area, or the like, you may be able to go--in any library--to a "subject encyclopedia" or "subject dictionary," which means not a general dictionary or encyclopedia but rather one specific to a profession or discipline--e.g., Dictionary of Psychology, Encyclopedia of Theories, or Encyclopedia of Economics (none of which are real but rather fictional examples).  The only general encyclopedia that is really acceptable, sometimes, for an academic or professional paper is the Encyclopedia Britannica, which I will accept as a source, too.  You also may use textbooks on academic subjects.  In such books, you can look up your theories you are applying, whether from psychology, politics, sociology, religion, etc., and see if there is a particular definition or pattern you can quote and apply to your literary reading.  In addition, histories, biographies, and autobiographies may be useful for background information.  Librarians are very glad to help with such searches, too, if you just explain what you're trying to find and why.  In addition, you can do a similar search of your own online by Googling (www.Google.com) using the right kinds of word combinations.  Try several different word combinations in several different searches to see what is available: e.g., "U.S. President Greek myth interpret."  Be careful that the source you choose is legitimate and academic/professional; it's fine to "borrow" ideas as long as you give the Web source/author the credit in your bibliography and paper.

Fourth, you must use NoodleTools Bibliography Maker.  Thanks to the English Department, the College has a subscription to this bibliography-making tool.  It helps students make excellent bibliography pages.  If you want to be sure you get a great grade on your bibliography, use NoodleTools.  You just simply type in your entries by answering the questions you are asked.  Then it forms each entry for you.  And you then copy the entry (or all of them as a group) to your bibliography page.  I use it myself for professional English papers.  See the directions for using NoodleTools: choose the "MLA" format.

And if you really feel you are still floundering, definitely make a trip or two (with assignment printed out, in hand, along with your main reading) to the Writing Center, 2nd fl. above the library.  It has some of the best Writing Center tutors in the whole state (because we pay enough to attract more highly educated tutors), and they love helping students figure out how to develop and expand upon a subject.  You can call for an appt., too, or even do online tutoring.  See the Web URLs and ph. # at the end of the next paragraph.

Given that this is a 2000-level literature course, the assumption is that you have had at least one 1000-level writing, composition, or literature course.  If you have not (or even if you have), the IHCC Writing Center may be of great benefit to you.  You can see tutors in person or receive online tutoring help.  To get help, copy this assignment (in the colored box below) and take it or send it to your tutor.  You also can use a national service for which Inver Hills has a contract, a service called "SmartThinking."  Here are four possible resources:

 - IHCC Writing Center in person: appts.: Call 651-450-8598. (In Finals wk., only walk-ins might be allowed—no appts. (this varies from year to year): for more info, see IHCC Writing Center.
 - National Tutors (Free through IHCC): Smarthinking Tutoring Services
 - Someone you know with a master’s (M.A.—a graduate degree 2+ yrs. beyond a B.A.) in English

As you develop the final draft of your paper, use the five grading standards and requirements listed immediately below (Contents, Details, Organization, Units of Ideas & Paragraphing, and Presentation) as a detailed "map" or set of guidelines for what your paper must have in its finished form.  I will give you a separate letter grade for each of these five standards and then average the five letter grades.  All five standards are equal to each other: i.e., each is the equivalent of 20% of the term paper's grade.  For example, if your five grades for these five parts are "B, A, C, A, C," they would be averaged to give you a strong "B."

However, you should be aware that if you really have done a horrible job of doing something, or effort appears completely absent, you can receive not just an "F" for that part, but rather an "FF."  An "FF" is twice as bad.  While an "F" is the equivalent of about 40-60%, an "FF" is equal to 0%.  For example, an "F" and an "A" average to a "C"; however, an "FF" and an "A" average to an "F."   For this reason, if you might have trouble, especially, with grading standard #4 (paragraphing, grammar, and typing), you would be wise to get the help of a writing tutor to fix such things.  The steps in doing so are easy: (1) Have a copy of these requirements and the most recent typed copy of your paper.  (2) Make an appointment or just walk in to the IHCC daytime Writing Center (directly above the library). (3) Specify for what you want help: if it is just grammar, ask for help with just that; if it is for paragraphing, as for that.  Be sure to point out the specific grading requirements below with which you want help.  If you do not ask, your tutor may start you from scratch, make recommendations for content changes, and thus not have time to help you with grammar or paragraphing.

There are thorough directions about how to deliver the paper at the bottom of this page, below.  Before you send it, please label your parts as mentioned in my emails to you.  If there is no mention of labeling, then at a minimum, please label your quotations/paraphrases either by placing them in bold type or, if you are turning the paper in physically, in bold type or with "X's" in pen or dark pencil in the right or left margins. 

Next, please read the "Grading Requirements" very, very thoroughly.  Preferably, print them out and use them as a checklist.  An easy way to print them is to copy them with your cursor, paste them into an email or MS Word file, and then print the email or file:

Printable (Older Version) Copy of "Grading Requirements"

Interpretive Literary Thesis--Grading Requirements (5-14)  

You will be graded on these actual requirements, step by step.  Each of the five sections is worth 20% of your paper's grade, or up to 4 points.
You are expected to meet all of the requirements in a section to get all four points that each section is worth.
I start the grading with 20 points and then subtract points in each section for problems (but never more than 4 points in a section).


1.    CONTENTS: Are the contents as follows?  

  • Interpret using one main argument, a main interpretive theory/system--or theory idea--that you can quote from legitimate academic sources, and several sections showing supportive reasons why your interpretation using this theory is sensible.  State it in the intro and conc.  Throughout your paper, sound logical, balanced, and academic.  Imagine & explain it all to an audience of intelligent students not in this course.  Use clear, sensible reasoning. 

  • Develop 2000+ w. min. (6+ full--not partly--typed pages; bib. counts as part of the 2000 w. Note: you will lose 1 point for every missing 10% or 200 w.)

  • No scriptural stories: interpretation using scriptures from religious books like the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, Hindu or Buddhist scripture, etc. is not allowed. (There are several reasons why. First, people tend to try to prove or disprove the truth of scripture, but this is not the point of an interpretive thesis, which merely offers an alternative way of seeing a story.  Second, people tend to try to argue the reality of scripture, whereas that is not the point of this course--the point is to see mythic elements in the reading, regardless of its reality or lack of it.  Third, people tend to try to use a belief about scripture, rather than taking an outside theory and logically applying it, step by step.)

  • Mention or quote your theory source near the beginning of every paragraph (not just every body section), and in your intro and conc.

2a.   SUPPORTING DETAILS: Are the paper's details as follows?   

  • Intro and Conc.: two strong quotations – one in each.

  • Each section: average of 2+ quotes per page (e.g., one page may have 1 quotation if the next has 3), mostly from literature you discuss.  (2+ paraphrases may replace 1 quote.)  You must also have min. 1+ quote from your theory/comparison source (e.g., from Campbell) in the first paragraph of each body section.

  • All quotes: all quotes meeting mins. above must be substantial (not 2-3 w.). Do not start or end a paragraph with a quote.

  • 3+ sources: (1) your lit reading, (2) Campbell or another source of theory, & (3) one other academic source (see below).  (You must use Campbell's Hero or another source describing your theory.)  For "(3)," find an additional outside source(s) as backup for what you are saying, but they can ONLY be a history or other background of the author, background about a period of time, or background about an interpretive theory: please do not use Q's from official literary interpretations the author or literature you have chosen.  Also, please do not use literary interpretations by professional interpreters/reviewers--instead, use your own interpretations and avoid others' interpretations/reviews. 

  • Mention or quote your theory source and also your mythic story you are analyzing often: near the beginning of every paragraph (not just every body section), and in your intro and conc.

  • 2-3 bibliographies and 3 types of sources:  If you write 2-3 shorter papers, then you must have 2-3 separate bibliographies, each with 2+ sources: your lit reading and a source of theory.  In addition, one of them MUST have a third source as described just above in "(3)." 

  • Backup sources should be serious academic library/book/journal resources: no religion’s scripture counts, even if you use it for comparison/contrast (because one can prove almost anything from scripture, and it is not considered a purely academic source).  No dictionaries or general encyclopedias are allowed, either, like Wikipedia (except Britannica is okay).  However, subject dictionaries and subject encyclopedias are okay (e.g., Encyclopedia of Literature, etc.), as are histories, autobiographies, and biographies.  Campbell & additional general theory/textbooks are just fine.

  • Images: Charts (such as Campbell's hero's cycle), pictures (such as from related books or movies) and other images will earn extra credit IF they are integral and helpful to the text and IF they are clearly titled above them and the source given credit afterward.  The source must ALSO appear on the bibliography page as a works cited entry like any other.  (They cannot count, however, as one of the three required sources.)

2b. WORKS CITED: Does your Works Cited page use the following?  
Use an official MLA "Works Cited" page.  Make it using "NoodleTools" (1st-time password—"Research"), or use "Son of Citation Machine": see
NoodleTools at http://inverhills.edu/Departments/English/GrammarCitation.aspx.  (Or you may use a grammar handbook or www.onlinegrammar.org.)  You must also cite the sources in the same way for any images.  For this page, you must use

  • a separate page

  • Works Cited as the title

  • double spacing from the "Works Cited" title to the very last line, with no extra line spaces between entries

  • hanging indents

  • alphabetized entries

  • correct order and punctuation of elements within each entry (use Noodletools or Son of Citation Machine)

  • 1" margins all around

3.      ORGANIZATION: Does the organization have these parts? (See all below.)

  • Title: Make it original, centered, and not the type of ppr. or reading title.    

  • Introduction: Only 1 parag. under 200 w.  (Subtitle optional).

  • Summary: After intro., before body.2 parag. with one Undr. Subt.
    1st parag.
    : Summary of mythic story as below, 1 parag. of 100-200 w.
    2nd parag.
    Summary of theory you are using, name of author, and source book/article name, 1 parag. of 100-200 w.

  • Body: Original Subtitles + topic sentences, & 4 parags. min. per section.

  • Conclusion: Only 1 parag. under 200 w.  Underlined Subtitle.


Author, Title, “Quote”; story subject; interpret. + its source.  1 par.


Summary.  Summarize the person, problem, solution, & main characters. (No Q’s). (Remember subtitle!) 1 parag. 100-200 w.


3-5 sections.  Each section: (1) Underlined Subtitle on line alone, (2) 1st sent. stating section's reason/proof, & (3) 1st parag. describing theory/idea/ comparison with 1+ quote from theory/comparison source.  You must write a min. of 1 typed page (320+ w.) per body section.  Each sect.: 4+ paragraphs.


Conclusion.  Author/”Title,” “Quote”; story subject; your interpretation.  (Remember subtitle!) 1 parag. under 200 w.


Works Cited title centered 1" from top on SEPARATE PAGE, alphabetically-ordered sources (3+) using double-spaced, MLA style entries with "hanging" indents.


4.      UNITS OF IDEAS/PARAGRAPHS: Are idea units/parags. well formed?

  • Does each major body sect. start w/1+ parags. explaining theory from source?

  • Are major ideas organized using one or more full paragraphs?  

  • Logic, clarity, and flow: Are major idea units logically ordered, are they introduced and concluded clearly and succinctly, and do they flow well from one to another using transitions?

  • Are there 4+ paragraphs in every body section, with each paragraph at least 2 sentences long but less than 200 words in length?  

  • Each paragraph’s topic sents. & concl. sents.: Does each paragraph start with a topic sentence stating the paragraph’s purpose/content, and end with a concl. sent.—its outcome or point? To do this, add to the 1st & last sentence of each paragraph a key word or phrase from the Subtitle of its body section.

  • Have you mentioned or quoted your theory source and your mythic story near the beginning of every paragraph (not just the beginning of every body section), and in your intro and conc.?

  • Do you avoid starting or ending each paragraph with a quotation? Start/end each parag. with a sent. of your own.

5.      PROFESSIONAL APPEARANCE: Have you edited and printed well?

     5a. MECHANICS (grammar, spelling, punct.):

     Use proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation.  Especially watch these:

  • You/your” & “I/my/me/mine”: change/delete, except if in “quotes.”

  • Present tense: Keep to the same verb tense as consistently as reasonably possible.  Generally when writing about literature, you use the present tense to describe what the author is saying: e.g.,
    “In Hamlet, Shakespeare is arguing about the soul.  In Hamlet’s opening stanzas, for example, Shakespeare shows him questioning deep personal meanings.  Hamlet says, “….’”

  • Topic sents.: The 1st sent. of each main body sect. must sum up whole section.

  • Quote correctly: Lastname says comma "Quotation" (page) period: for example, 
         Smith says,  "Find  freedom"  (16). 
         According to
    Jones,  "Can we be free"  (17)?
    The character exclaims,  “Don’t go”  (Smith 16)!   

  • Don’t use author’s name both before and after a quote--just once, usually beforehand using "Author says," or "According to Author,".

  • Do not start or end a paragraph by quoting! Add a sent. of your own.

  • Leaving words out, use spaces AND dots, or a word in brackets:
    - Middle of sentence, 3 dots and 4 spaces:
               “Xxx xxx... .. ..  xxx xxx.”  
    - End of sentence, a period, 3 dots, & 3 spaces:
    .... .. ..
    “xxx .. .. ..” (6)
    - Beginning of sent., use no dots & spaces:
       Tolkien says that “a fine time was had by all”
             Tolkien says
    , “[A] fine time was had by all.” 

  • Sandwich quotes with lead-in and lead-out explanatory or "point is" sents. (See "Sandwiching" in "Ch. 40" of WritingforCollege.org.) 

  • Don’t start/end parag. with a quote. Use summary sents. (indented "Q" end OK).

5b. PRINTING: Have you typed the manuscript formally for academics and/or professionals, according to the following standards?   

  • Use Word to type. AVOID MSWorks and Google's version of Word (their final drafts get formatting problems)!  Buy Word cheap: see “Microsoft Promo” at bottom of www.inverhillsbookstore.com.

  • Margins: 1" margins equal on both sides, and about equal top & bottom

  • No Extra-Large Bottom Margins: in Word, highlight whole ppr., right click, click on “Paragraph,” click on “Line & Pg. Breaks,” & uncheck all boxes.

  • Page #s: Use MS Word number system: “Insert” numbers on right of page.  Place the p. # inside the margin.  Do not hand type it before/after the margin.)

  • Page breaks: At beginning of bib. or 2nd ppr., use "Insert/Break/Page Break." Do not make page breaks by spacing everything by hand--use Word's "Insert" function! (Otherwise, you will get this wrong, as I will notice it because I add spaces on my own at the beginning of each paper to grade it.)

  • True Double Spacing: 15-20 double-spaced lines per every 6". Do not have extra space before and after paragraphs, subtitles, and bibliography entries. (How to do it: Mark whole paper; then right click, choose "Paragraph," & set "Before" and "After" to "0 pt" and "0 pt.")

  • Parag. & subtitle spacing: parags. w/1st-line indent 8-10 spaces.  No extra line spaces between parags. or around subtitles (just double space throughout).

  • Bibliography: Use a separate page. Title it “Works Cited.” Alphabetize. Double space in, before, & after each entry.  Use “hanging” indents (not parag. indents or numbering)—mark the bib. & go to "Format/ Paragraph/Special/Hanging."

  • Indent all quotes over 4 normal lines by 1" (not ½") on left (not on right)—twice as much as the indent before a paragraph--and double space consistently.

  • Subtitles: Underlined alone on line; no bold, italics, or colons (“:”); must be even with left margin.

  • Paper: 20# bond (standard printer paper)

  • Style of Print:
       - Use a clean, dark, ragged-right, letter-quality, 12-point font.
       - Use
    Times New Roman or Garamond (fonts w/serifs or "flags").

(Grading Guidelines: A = excellent, B = very good, C = acceptable, D = substandard, F = unacceptable, FF = no credit whatsoever.) 

Point Guidelines: A+ = 20 X's/points, A = 19 X's, A- = 18 X's,
B+ = 16, B = 15, B- = 14, C+ = 12, C = 11, C- = 10.

You cannot pass the class unless you
receive a C- or higher on the term paper.


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When Are Drafts Due (and How Do You Turn Them In)?

(1) Graded paper (Draft I, Draft II, and Draft III): All drafts of  the term paper, rough or finished, must be turned in exactly on time, or you lose some credit. If you are late in turning in one of the rough drafts for the term paper, then I will deduct about 1/3 of your letter grade from the term paper for each rough draft that is late. If you don't turn in the rough drafts at all, then you will lose another 1/3 of your letter grade from the term paper for each rough draft not turned in. And if the term paper itself is late, here are the penalties:

  • During the semester: you lose one letter grade per week that the graded paper is late, and above penalties for rough drafts still apply.

  • End of semester: turned in past due date but still on time for me to get grades in: you lose one letter grade, and above penalties for rough drafts still apply. 

  • End of semester: turned in past the time that I must turn in grades: you lose two letter grades, and you must make a special request for me to change your grade on your grade transcript.  In addition, above penalties for rough drafts apply.

  • Not done at all: you will get 0% for it, which is twice as bad as getting an “F” (which is equal to roughly 50%)—this is like getting a double F, or a regular F for 40% of your work.  In addition, above penalties for rough drafts apply.

        When is a graded paper due? It is due on the first due date given. Even if you miss or skip class, the paper is still due that day.  You should try to bring it to class.  However, if you don't have the paper, still show up at class.  You can, instead, turn it in anytime before midnight using one of the following options.  If you use one of these options, please remember two things: (1) You must still be able to prove that you turned the paper in by midnight the due date, and (2) you still must do any labeling or other special additions I have requested.  

            (Will you lose credit for not doing the labeling?  Yes, you will, if it is the end of the semester and I won't see you again--you'll lose a letter grade for not labeling the parts of a paper if I have requested labels.  No, you won't, if it's not the end of the semester; instead, I'll hand you your paper back the next time I see you and ask you to label it--but with no loss of credit.)  

            To prove that you have finished and turned in your paper by the required time and due date, see my emails to you about it.  In general, unless my email says otherwise, you will need to do one of the following (the following instructions are generic for any year in which I am teaching the course; for detailed due dates and times, see my emails to you):

a.   First, BEFORE turning in your paper, label the parts.  Please label the following parts:

      (1) Put all quotations in bold so I can find them easily.

      (2) Please underline both your main thesis sentence and your statement of your 3-5 topics in your introduction, and underline it/them in the paper's conclusion, as well.

      (3) Double check one last time: Do you have (i.) a summarizing topic sentence for each major topic/body section, and (ii.) that it is mostly using the same wording as your 3-5 topics in your introduction?  (iii.) Does each of your 3-5 section subtitles also have a main word or phrase from its topic sentence?  (iv.) Do you have enough subtitles, at least 4 parags./section, and an average of 2-4 quotations per page?

b.   You may place it under my door or in my mailbox BEFORE I LEAVE SCHOOL on the day it is due.  My office is Business 136 (B-136), and my mailbox is in the Business building, right across the hall from my office.  (My office, B-136, is in a group of offices accessible through a doorway just a few feet inside the front doors of the Business building, on the right as you enter the building.  My mailbox is inside a workroom that is just across from my office; feel free to enter the workroom, look for all the mailbox slots, and stick your paper in the slot above my name.  Or, easier yet, just stick your paper under my office door.  

c.   If I have already left, then on the day the paper is due, you may take it to my secretary, Michelle and have her sign and date it before she leaves at 4 pm.  She sits at the front desk in the group of offices I am in.  Her desk is in the front open area, just before my office.  If Michelle is not there, you may try to find an instructor in the same group of offices and ask him or her to sign and date the manuscript.  This is only necessary if I have already left for the day.

d.   You may mail it to me by USPO before pick-up time for that day so that there is a postmark on it with the due day's date.  If you choose this option, regular mail is okay on papers due during the semester but occasionally can take up to ten days; for this reason, I recommend "Priority Mail" ($3-4), which takes three days or less.  And if you're mailing a final draft at the end of the semester, you must send it by "Priority Mail" or "Overnight Delivery" ($12-14) because I have to get grades in by a certain time.

d.   If you are experienced with sending attachments by email, you may send me your paper in an MS Word email attachment.  (However, don't do this if it is revision of a draft I've marked with pen marks, and on which you have made editing changes by pen or pencil.)  Definitely do not send an attachment by email unless you’ve already done it and know how to do it.  And be sure to ask me to send a note back saying I got it, as occasionally such emails get lost in hyperspace or come to me untranslatable.  Your email and attachment should be dated by midnight (unless I have told you otherwise by email), so send it well before midnight, especially in case the Internet is slow (which it can be at mid-term and in finals week, even near midnight) or you make an error and receive a not-sent message.  Deadlines still apply, according to the exact time I receive it, not the time you sent it. 

e.   You may take it to my condominium in Minneapolis, 410 Groveland Ave., in Minneapolis.  Before nine p.m., just come to my condo.  After nine p.m. (but before twelve midnight) you may take it to my condominium association's 24-hour security desk at 400 Groveland Ave., hand it to the desk clerk, and ask him to sign and date it.  Then you will need to let me know by phone or email the next day that you delivered a package for me to my security office.  Groveland Avenue is in South Minneapolis, near the Walker Art Museum and Loring Park, not far from Uptown, and I'm right at the intersection of I-94, I-35W, and I-394.  However, it's hard to find my place.  Use the directions in www.richardjewell.org in the tab "OFFICE/EMAIL/PHONE" to find my condo: be sure to actually print them out, as 20% or more of people get lost for the first 10-30 minutes of searching for my place, even with Google directions or with a car direction finder, and some never are able to find it.    

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)      

Contact Richard


Useful Tips for
Taking This Course


How To Use This Page:

(a) There is a lot of useful information here, so read this page carefully, some of it 2-3+ times. 

(b) If you are process oriented, like a majority of people, you can simply start at the top of this web page and go step by step.

(c) However, if you are product oriented, then you may want to start with the exact standards by which you will be graded - see Grading Standards.

(d) Pick a topic you'll enjoy--the writing usually is better as a result. 

(e) You must use a "thesis" style of paper, so be sure you do that--and do NOT pick a mere theme to write about; rather, pick a real, debatable argument..

(f) There are three different due dates, each worth something, so plan your writing so you can meet or beat all of them.

(g) Use the Grading Standards on the final draft.

Writing a Term Paper or Project:
This final project is worth quite a bit of your grade, so it's worth getting right.  Fortunately, this page not only tells you what is expected in this term paper, but it also tells you, in many ways, how to write any term paper.  I have even had several students tell me they learned more about writing in this class than in their regular writing class!  Following the directions for this paper carefully will have its rewards.  As a result, you will be able to transfer the types of papers - and the standards expected - in this course to other courses, too, so that you will come out of this class knowing how to write most any term papers better.

Updated 19 May 2014



Contents and page design: Copyright (©) 2005-2013 by Richard Jewell

Images courtesy of IHCC, Barry's Clip Art, Clip Art Warehouse, Clip Art Universe, Clipart Collection, MS Clip Art Gallery and Design Gallery Live, School Discovery, and Web Clip Art

First date of publication: January 1, 2005.  Graphics redesigned Aug. 1, 2013
Home-page server's URL:  www.umn.edu/home/jewel001/composition/1108/home.htm
CONTACT RICHARD: See www.Richard.Jewell.net/contact.htm.  Office: Business 136