LTWL 124 Paper Assignment

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    For each paper, devise a topic and thesis from

    one of the subject areas below. Think of

    your topic as a question you are trying to answer, and your thesis as your potential

    answer to that question. Whatever your subject, you will need to take advantage of

    outside sourcesarticles, books, other critiqueto support your argument, and you

    must append a list of these sourcesroughly a handful (4-6), not counting fiction. See

    further advice on research below.

    Each paper is about 1500 words, approximately five pages double-spaced in 12-point

    font. Further advice on producing a good paper is attached as Words for the Wise.

    Ignore these attachments if you don't care about grades. I will be happy to help anyone

    with topics theses and ideas during office hours.

    Choose from these topics for both the midterm and final papers:

    1)

    Read and analyze a novel (not assigned) from the New Wave period, roughly 1963-

    1979. It need not be classifiable as New Wave itself, though you should think about it

    in terms of the trends in science fiction at that time, whether technological, political,

    cultural.

    2)

    You may focus on an author read in class, looking at other work by that authora

    novel or short storiesin comparison with the assigned work.

    3)

    Consider a handful of short stories, either by one author or by more than one on

    similar themese.g., nuclear war, alien contact, feminism, environmental disaster. Do

    you see distinct differences in approach by the different authors?

    4)

    Analyze a movie or TV show from this period. You may consider it from the

    standpoint of theme and other literary values, or as a work of cinematic artistry, or

    consider its influence on the subsequent direction of science fiction onscreen.

    5)

    If you have a topic that does not fit any of the above categories, discuss it with me.

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    Some students will be allowed to turn in one

    long project instead of the two short papers. This project should be 3000 words long or

    the equivalent in other media. It can be on one of the assigned topics or one of your

    own choosing. Before signing the long project permission sheet, you must:

    1)

    Offer a topic that can best be presented in the longer form;

    2)

    Make the case for your experience in producing projects of this length and depth;

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    3) Agree to turn the project in on the last day of instruction.

    Long projects turned in

    later will be graded as late.

    The Fine Print:

    The university and the department have stringent regulations regarding cheating,

    plagiarizing, and turning in papers copied off the Internet. We are asked to inform you that we have

    access to the same online sites and term paper services as you do, and means for comparison and

    identification. Past offenders can be visited in the cadaver vaults at the medical college.

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    In the age of the Internet, an increasing number of students have come to believe that

    research means Googling for half an hour. While there are now more excellent

    resources than ever online, you need to know how to find them or evaluate their

    usefulness. Besides, as students at UCSD, you are paying a lot for your education, some

    of which goes to support a superb library/research system on campus. Get your

    money's worth: take advantage of this university's facilities and its reputation for higher

    learning. As UCSD students, in fact, you may even access much of the university's library

    and online resources from the comfort of your own home.

    Not all research materials, whether in print or in photons, are created equal. For

    example, Cliff Notes, SparkNotes, and their equivalent are for high school students who

    haven't done the reading, not for university students supporting critical arguments.

    Likewise, most general encyclopedias are so

    secondary school. That includes Wikipedia,

    which is simply an online encyclopedia. It may be useful for background and inspiration,

    but it is not a quotable resource, though at best it can point you to quotable resources.

    Instead, begin by turning to the many excellent reference works or databases available

    through the library website. Fortunately, UCSD offers access to many electronic journals

    and other potential research materials alongside the non-virtual books and periodicals

    in the library building itself.

    Despite the many useful online sources, books and articles in print have information

    that is not available online. Don't take short cuts that will hurt your grade: use research

    in many media.

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    1. Make sure you have a firm grip on your thesis or overall purpose. State or imply

    somewhere in your first paragraph the main point you are trying to argue and

    then stick to it as your argument develops. By the way, a mere list of three points

    is not a thesis; in fact, in a paper of this length you should have more than three

    points. Your thesis is an answer to a question you are asking, so treat the thesis

    as an assertion that needs proof. For that reason, you can't just say, In this

    paper I am going to analyze

    The Kite Runner

    because that doesn't actually

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    assert anything. Your topic can't be too broad, and it must propose something

    that is neither obvious nor inherently unprovable. A poor thesis is the most

    common reason for a C or worse.

    2. Your organization must be orderly and coherent, each paragraph or point

    following logically from the one before it, each related in some way to your

    thesis. Do not introduce paragraphs of irrelevant history, biography, or other

    digressions. Don't waste time with unnecessary generalities in your introduction,

    such as reprising the entire history of science fiction; get to your topic as soon as

    possible. Each paragraph should handle a logical unit of your argument. Place

    related points in relationship to one another; avoid redundancy and recycling

    (e.g., as mentioned before or to go back to the first point ). In your

    conclusion do not merely summarize your entire paper but provide additional

    insight and closure. This is a five-page paper not a five-paragraph paper. A

    paragraph is on average 100-200 words long and your paper is 1500 words

    long. Do the math.

    3. When discussing literary plots, always use the present tense. Use the past tense,

    however, with historical or biographical facts.

    4. Quotations must be properly tied in to your text. Don't leave them standing

    alone. Introduce them with appropriate tags, for instance, According to

    McCaffery, or As one critic observes, or weave them seamlessly into

    statements of your own: Campbell and his followers 'felt that man was

    progressing in mastery both of his environment and of himself (Gunn 9).

    5.

    As demonstrated immediately above, citations can be placed parenthetically in

    the text after the quotation, followed by a period. You need only the page

    number if you have already mentioned the author; otherwise, use the form

    (Gunn 9), without commas. Full references should be in your bibliography or

    Works Cited list at the paper's end. Review a standard stylesheet like the

    MLA's for proper form. Every item in your Works Cited should actually be

    quoted or cited in your text.

    6.

    Underline or italicize the titles of long works, like movies or books (Ender's

    Game);

    put short works, like short stories, single chapters, poems, and essays, in

    quotation marks ( Johnny Mnemonic ).

    7. American usage dictates that commas and periods go

    inside quotation marks,

    semi-colons outside, and single quotation marks inside double marks when you

    have a 'word or more' quoted inside a quotation. British usage is opposite, so

    follow it only if you use non-American English. Don't confuse commas and semi-

    colons; they have different functions.

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    8.

    Avoid using it, this, these, there is, when nothing specific is being

    referred to. In fact, always use the most precise, least ambiguous language

    possible. If in doubt, have someone trustworthy read your paper before you turn

    it in.

    9.

    Phrases to avoid: I think, I feel, I believe, In my opinion. We know you

    are presenting your judgments; reminding us merely sounds as if you're unsure

    of yourself. You want to sound as objective and authoritative as possible.

    10.

    For a succinct reference on other fine points of English/American usage, consult

    a standard writer's reference like Strunk and White's

    The Elements of Style

    or

    The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.

    MLA formatting is

    preferred in literature papers. Fortunately, these resources are available online.