Michael Delahoyde, PhD

Professor of English

The Love Assignment

Dr. Michael Delahoyde
Washington State University


PROJECT DUE:WEDNESDAY, JUNE 15th, 2011; 10:30 am.

The Objective:

The goals of this course, including the improvement of your skills in information literacy and critical analysis by researching and articulating your insights into a written format, can be met only if a project such as this one reflects your own current thinking and work. A depressing number of the papers submitted for the last assignment did not emerge from the experience of this course, and so amounted to paper shuffling more than anything authentic in what was once seen as an educational context.

On the due date noted, you will be pleased, alleviated, and perhaps redeemed when you turn in the most significant piece of work you will have produced for the semester in this class — a five-page analysis of an artwork, musical piece, poem, or focused aspect of the novel or Harlequin Romance. You are again very welcome to accomplish this as a group involving another student in the class if the aim becomes a somewhat more substantial or impressive project to be turned in.

Finding a Topic:

Once again, select a brutally specific piece to focus on: a single poem or lyric, a particular work of art, a focused aspect of one of the longer prose works. Last time, as predicted, the best writings did this; the less successful allowed in distractions and other components that weakened or shot the focus. Stick close to materials that have been part of our course, vs. recycling a Fine Arts paper or an English 302 essay on Nelly Dean.


Research your subject. When working in collaboration, how you divide up the labor is your choice. Each project is required to include at least three secondary sources this time, and it is certain that the internet is not your salvation. Go to the WSU Libraries web page — http://www.wsulibs.wsu.edu/ — and instead of hitting Griffin automatically, select Find Journal Articles, scroll to either the English Literature indexes or another pertinent topic (Art? Music?), and select the best, often the top-of-the-list bibliography (for literature, the MLA International Bibliography; for others, maybe the Humanities Index). Then conduct a search with some logical keywords. The ideal sources are scholarly journal articles. These articles are sometimes gathered together and published afterwards in books, but you need to demonstrate that you can carry out more sophisticated research than a book search. Encyclopedia-type online resources are embarrassing and worthless at the academic stage in which you should be operating now. The articles do not need to address your subject directly. They should, however, relate to your subject and supply at least some pithy quotations to help illuminate the importance and key ideas within your chosen piece. A significant part of the grade on this project will reflect the quality and pertinence of the resources.

Doing the Bloody Work:

Original insight and analysis should still dominate the entire discussion. Your final revised essay must be a minimum of five full, typed, double-spaced pages containing an intriguing (not underlined) title, an original unified thesis, vigorous analytical work, no extra spacing between paragraphs, all in a clean, effective, illuminating, properly documented presentation (correctly punctuated in-text parenthetical citations — for secondary sources, of author and page). The analysis should consist of microscopic details described engagingly, and interpretive insights explaining their significance, organized logically in a way that supports and explains your thesis vision of the overall piece.

Works Cited:

At the end of the paper, include (not treat and attach as a separate document to be forgotten) a Works Cited list, correctly formatted in MLA style. Replicating some chaotic online catalog format, or relying on programs that promise to do this formatting for you, is 100% guaranteed to fail you. For further instruction regarding format and details of documentation, refer to the web page — https://michaeldelahoyde.org/shakespeare/mla — or ask me ahead of time.

The Deal:

See my snarky comments in this section of the previous assignment description. Again: if you do not submit any work for this assignment, it means you did not meet the requirements of the course (= big final F); late work will not be evaluated but at least you will have met requirements minimally (= little F factored in).

Other writing recommendations about various issues can be found among my web pages,
including my snotty comments regarding rancid phrases
and about generally turning in the project.

I am glad to provide advice and help at any stage, from pre-writing and researching to the drafting, of this project. Ultimately, though, it must be completed and turned in when due; the end-days of our early-summer semester do not allow for screwing around and lame excuses. The project is worth roughly 20% of your final grade for the course.

* * *

PROJECT DUE: WEDNESDAY, JUNE 15th, 2011; 10:30 am.

Love Index