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* English Research: Dr. Brown English 102 E & F (Spring 2011)

Use this guide as a starting point for researching literary topics.

Essay 1 Assignment

Due Dates:

Essay 1 Draft Due for Workshop: Monday, 1/24

 Essay 1 Revision Due: Friday, 1/28

 Length: 3-4 pages



Please choose one of the following options.


1.     At the beginning of A Doll’s House, Nora seems to love Torvald devotedly but she does not fully understand him.  What does Nora come to understand about Torvald’s character through the course of the play?  In your argument, select and analyze specific scenes that seem to you to be especially revealing about Torvald’s character.  Be sure to consider as well passage toward the end of the play that show Nora’s new-found understanding.


2.     Written in 1879, Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House in some ways seems to be very much a play of its time.  Indeed, the central dramatic tension of the play stems from Nora’s disregard of a nineteenth-century Norwegian law that prohibited a married woman from borrowing money without her husband’s consent, a law that is largely irrelevant to contemporary audiences.  One might argue, however, that despite the fact that our society and legal system differ from those that Ibsen portrays, Ibsen’s central thematic concerns remain relevant to an American audience in 2011.  If you agree that the play remains relevant to a contemporary audience, write an essay in which you explain its relevance.  To support your thesis, you will need to analyze the play itself in order to show how its theme is developed, and you will need to refer to some aspect of our contemporary society in order to show that the theme is still relevant.  (Note:  While the play has multiple themes, for the purposes of this short paper, you will likely be most successful if you focus on just one main theme.)


Research Summary and Response

 Due: Wednesday, 2/2



This part of the assignment involves locating one journal article that is relevant to some aspect of the essay you complete for Essay 1.  We will spend a day in the library identifying relevant databases and covering strategies for searching for articles.


Once you have located an article that seems relevant, please complete the following:

  1. Read the article carefully and annotate it. 
  2. Briefly summarize the article’s key argument.  Two to three sentences should be sufficient.
  3. Discuss how the article is relevant to your own paper.  If you were to revise your paper to incorporate research, where and how would you include a discussion of the article you located?
  4. Complete a works cited entry in MLA style.
  5. Submit a paper of approximately one page that begins with your article summary and continues with your response to #3 above.  Complete your short paper by including the entry for the work cited. (Note:  In MLA style, the works cited list is normally a separate page; however, for the purposes of this assignment, you may place your citation immediately following the end of your paper.)
  6. When you submit that paper, please attach the article citation printout from the database.


 NOTE:  Please remember to print off the full citation page, as well as the PDF article.  (click on article title, then click on Print)