I am needing a critical analysis research paper over the meaning of Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont's fairy tale, "Beauty
and the Beast
." I had to submit a thesis prospectus the other day and this is what I submitted:
Don't judge a book by its cover. This is a phrase that we are taught as children, but takes us years to fully comprehend its meaning. Throughout "Beauty
and the Beast
," Mme Le Prince de Beaumont emphasizes the Beast
's sympathetic nature, kind actions, and soft nature despite his wretched exterior. This is a classic fairy tale that stresses the importance of looking for the good within a person instead of coming to a conclusion based off of what one can see on the outside.
This does not have to be the introduction to the research paper, but it must be extremely close and relate to the "Don't judge a book by its cover" theme as this is what was submitted and approved.
Warning: Failure to follow instructions about topic approval and using sources will result in a grade of zero for this paper. Read the instructions carefully, and let me know if you have any questions.
You will write a four to five page researched essay (not including the works cited page) on a children?s literature topic of your choice. The format, including heading, margins, font, etc. is the same as it was on your previous essay assignment, which means the essay should be in MLA format.
The purpose of research papers is not to collect information on your topic, cutting and pasting it together from encyclopedias and National Geographic. Your goal is to render an analysis of your topic in much the same way that you analyzed two versions of a fairy tale for your first paper. Use your research to defend and support your analysis like you used quotations and plot events from fairy tales to show that what you say is accurate. The paper should be primarily composed of your views; the research shows that you are informed on the topic. Avoid over using sources; a short quotation or paraphrase is using a source, and there's no need to cite the same source repeatedly to show me you are using the sources. Avoid using sources for your thesis statement and topic sentences; use these high-profile spots to emphasize your ideas.
Do not ignore sources that differ from your own views. You may present opposing viewpoints to critique the views of those who do not agree with you. In other words, you may present views that differ from your own if you then state why these views are wrong, misguided, or inaccurate. Make it clear that the opposing views are clearly marked as ideas you do not support. For example: "According to Richard Slotkin, The Searchers concerns American fears about communism." "Slotkin claims . . . However, it is more likely that the film responds to the Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. The Board of Education because . . ." Notice that Slotkin's views are marked as belonging to him, and the writer's views appear without any phrases like "I think" or "I believe" because the reader understands that views presented without attributive tags are the writer's.
Topic Selection / Thesis Prospectus :
The topic must be a critical analysis that explores meaning or significance. Ask why it is significant, how it works, and why it is important. Ask what it means (whether "it" is a character, a setting, an idea, a symbol, a reference to another literary work, a sentence, a piece of architecture, a monument, or whatever). Short references to biographical information may be used to make a critical point about your topic, but do not write a biographical paper about an author or a paper that only summarizes the events of any story, play, poem, etc.
Topics can range from a paper that uses the elements of fiction to analyze the theme of a story to an essay that compares and contrasts two stories or poems that address similar themes. Papers may focus on characters, symbols, setting, theme, etc. Essays can compare the literature to a film that was based on or influenced by the work. Papers can discuss and explain how the work has impacted the "real world." They can also apply a psychological, sociological, religious, scientific, or economic theory to analyze the work(s) you write about. The possibilities are almost infinite. Find something that interests you, and analyze it by asking what it means and how it works. Topics must relate to children?s literature, but, other than that, the goal is for you to find something that interests you and say something meaningful about it instead of simply answering a question that interests me, but may bore you to tears!
You will have your topic approved by submitting a thesis prospectus through Blackboard email. This prospectus should inform me of your topic, how you plan to analyze that topic in the paper and the primary sources that you are using in about five to seven sentences. Do not, however, address the reader directly or use phrasing such as "my paper will be about" or "I am going to write on." Instead think of this assignment as an early draft of your introductory paragraph, and include a statement about the importance of your topic; explain why the topic is worth considering. I will respond by approving the topic, asking some questions, or recommending that you select another topic. All topics must be approved by me; papers on unapproved topics will not be accepted. Your topic must be analytic in nature and cannot simply gather information from sources.
What if you decide to change your topic after you have an approved topic? You may change your topic, but you must also submit a new prospectus. Also, keep in mind that changing your topic gives you less time to write the paper for the new topic. Get started early.
Research and Sources:
Once you have a topic, you should ask yourself what you know about the topic, and what you need to find out. Then, you are ready to do some preliminary research. Primary sources are the works that you are analyzing, and secondary sources are materials that you research to help you make your analysis. For example, if you choose to write a paper on Peter Pan, then Peter Pan is your primary source, and anything you use other than Peter Pan is a secondary source. You will need a minimum of four, but no more than six secondary sources. Primary sources (the literature your paper focuses on) are not counted in the four to six source count, but you do need to cite them.
Also, dictionaries and encyclopedias are not acceptable secondary sources. Wikipedia and similar encyclopedias offer only the most basic information on a given topic and are not acceptable in a college level paper..
Not all sources on a given topic are equal. In terms of newspapers, the Enquirer is not nearly as credible and reliable as The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal, and the first sources you find are not necessarily the most reliable. Do not stop when you find three publications that mention your topic. Look for more sources than you need, and use the most reliable, informative, and persuasive ones. How can you evaluate your sources to check for quality? Here are a few tips:
$ Use recent sources: Unless you are working on a topic requiring historical documents, it is best to use the most recent sources you can find because these sources will incorporate past views along with the current ones.
$ Use sources affiliated with universities: Many colleges and universities publish journals (a fancy word for a magazine or periodical). Most of these publications are peer reviewed, meaning that the articles in these journals are written by people with graduate degrees in the field (whether it is art, English, or engineering), and other experts in the field critique the article before it is published. The article is published only with the approval of several professionals. Similarly, many universities have book presses, and the books published by these presses go through peer review.
$ Use materials with a Works Cited or a Bibliography: Another benefit of using research from universities is that these publications, unlike many newspapers and popular magazines, cite their sources, which helps ensure the quality of the source. Also, if you are having problems finding enough sources, you can check the sources used by another writer. Then, you can find those sources.
$ Be cautious when using the internet: The internet allows you to access information quickly and conveniently, but much of this information has not been evaluated or screened. Anyone can say anything on their web page; there is no accountability. I, for instance, could post instructions for performing heart surgery with common household items on my web page. I am not qualified to give such instructions, but there is no law to prevent me from posting them on the web. If you use these instructions to perform surgery on your little brother, you are responsible for the consequences. I am not. If you use a web page, make sure it is associated with a known and reputable organization. Avoid using websites like sparknotes.com that are designed to help high school students cheat on essays.
How do you go about finding quality sources? Use the NMJC library and / or the public library to find hard copies of books and articles, and use electronic databases to find digital sources. Electronic databases are not the same as using a web page; these databases contain citations and sometimes full text articles for materials previously published in paper format. You can find more information on these databases at: http://www.nmjc.edu/library/inforesources2.asp
First Search and Expanded Academic ASAP are databases you will find helpful. JSTOR is another excellent database, containing full text articles from hundreds of journals. Also, Net Library contains complete books in electronic format. Additionally, with Net Library, you have a reasonably sized electronic library that features complete books, and you can search an entire book for a word or a phrase
If you are having problems finding sources, please contact me. Be prepared to spend time doing research as you write this paper.
You need to document your sources. Things are a bit more complicated now because you will be citing a wider variety of sources. Consult The Little, Brown Brief and the resources in this learning module for information on citing. If you cannot figure out how to cite a source, ask me for help!
Cite both material that you paraphrase and direct quotations. You are not just citing the words; you cite the information and ideas. Changing the wording and grammar does not relieve you of the need to document the source.
Sources must be used and cited in MLA format to avoid a zero on this essay.
Your paper should be presented in MLA format and should also consist of:
$ a title
$ an introduction with a thesis statement
$ a body that starts each paragraph with a topic sentence that connects to the thesis
$ a conclusion.
1. This is not a book report. Do not simply summarize the contents of your sources. Your purpose is to analyze. You should present an idea about the topic's importance, meaning, affect, or function in each topic sentence, using multiple sources to provide evidence and justification for your idea.
2. Your essay must have a title, an introduction that ends in a thesis, a body, and a conclusion.
3. Ask yourself what each paragraph and sentence adds to your thesis.
4. Make sure that each paragraph has a topic sentence.
5. Do not use abbreviations or contractions. This is a formal essay.
6. Do not use phrases such as "I believe," "in my opinion," "it seems to me," etc. These phrases only take up space. This is your paper, and if you don't believe it, then you shouldn't write it.
7. Find the least amount of words possible to communicate the maximum amount of ideas.
8. Use MLA format. See pages 196-199 of The Little, Brown Brief for help using MLA format.
9. For every quotation and/or paraphrase, cite the author and page number.
10. Write in present tense when referring to a work of literature such as a poem or story.
11. Save the essay as a Microsoft Word file (.doc) or in Rich Text Format (.rtf) with a file name of your first and last name followed by Research (BobSmithResearch.doc).
****The primary source that must be used for this research paper will need to be as follows:
Le Prince de Beaumont, Jeanne-Marie. "Beauty
and the Beast
." Classics of Children's Literature. Ed. John W. Griffith and Charles H. Frey. 6thth ed. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005. 22-29. Print.
I will need 4 additional sources that match the guidelines as specified above.
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