Paper 4 (Shelley)

Due Tuesday, 11 December
7 Pages

For this assignment, you will write a seven-page research paper about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Don’t sweat the “research” part too much, however. After all, we’ve spent a whole semester thinking about how to respond to the writing of other people. Following the patterns we’ve been reading about in They Say, I Say and that we have been practicing all semester, you will position your paper in conversation with an interlocutor…you’ll just have to figure out who that is.

In this paper, you will include citations from at least four different scholarly sources (see RWL 135-136). Remember that your goal is not to find the first four (or five or six) sources you can use but instead to use the best four (or five or six) sources you can find. Of course, the class research guide can help you find these sources.

In writing your paper, one of these sources will be the text to which your paper responds. In other words, that’s the article or book that is the “They Say” to your “I Say.” The other sources you use will help you in establishing evidence for your argument.


Thursday, 29 November     Bring a preliminary bibliography to class, printed out
Tuesday, 4 December     Bring first three pages of your essay to class, printed out
Thursday, 6 December     Bring a complete rough draft to class, printed out
Tuesday, 11 December     Final draft due, emailed as a PDF before 1pm EST

Preliminary Bibliography

Bring to class your “Works Cited” page with the sources you think you will be using. (You can continue to change or add to these sources.) Each source should be correctly formatted in MLA style (see RWL 150-160). Additionally, you should write 2-3 sentences summarizing the main argument of each source. This summary should follow the citation, starting on a separate line.

Assignment Policies (from the syllabus)

  • Assignments are due at the beginning of class.
  • Papers will be turned in electronically. You should send each paper to me as a PDF attached to an email. You should name your file in the following format: Student number-Assignment name. For example, “0879054-paper4.pdf”. Papers are counted as turned in based on when my inbox says they arrived.
  • Late work will not be accepted, except at my discretion (with a significant grading penalty). Assignment deadlines are not flexible.
  • Papers must have titles. Additionally, they must be typed in 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced, with 1 inch margins and must be in standard MLA style format. Furthermore, the pages should be numbered in the upper right corner.


I will focus on seven discreet things while grading:

  1. The They Say, I Say move – Your essay should start by entering into conversation with either one of your sources. You should summarize their view (see TSIS chapter 1 and 2) and then respond to their view using one of the three strategies (agree, disagree, or “okay, but…” [see chapter 4]). Summarizing does not merely happen in the introduction. You might use a paragraph that follows the introduction to make sure you’ve properly communicated your interlocutor’s argument and set you up to respond. But you might also carefully integrate their arguments into the body of your paper through careful voice markers and signaling (see TSIS chapter 5).
  2. Incorporation of quotations – To make your argument persuasive, you need to use quotations effectively, especially quotations from Frankenstein. Each quotation you use needs to be framed or put in a “quotation sandwich” (see TSIS chapter 3). You should introduce the quotation, integrate it into your own language (see RWL 42-49), and analyze or explicate the quotation. For the last of these, it is important for you to make it clear how the quotation relates to your argument.
  3. Incorporation of research – Since this is a research paper, you need to make use of others’ arguments to support your own (see RWL chapter 130, 136-38). Along with citing this material correctly, you also need to make sure you’re integrating these outside arguments into your own writing and choosing the best material you can find.
  4. Planting a naysayer into your text – It is important to remember that you are not just in conversation with previous writers but with your reader as well. As such, you need to be aware that your reader will neither passively nor necessarily embrace every facet of your argument. Your paper should anticipate possible objections, represent them fairly, and answer them (see TSIS chapter 6).
  5. Connecting the parts – Each paragraph / sentence in a paper needs to be connected in some way to the one that came before it, and it must also be clear to your reader what sort of connection exists between them (see TSIS chapter 8, RWL 31). This will help your reader follow your train of thought and see how your new paragraph / sentence relates to the previous one (either agreeing, extending, moving in a new direction, etc.).
  6. Saying why it matters – Arguments are more persuasive when you clearly articulate why your audience should care about them. Throughout your paper, but perhaps especially in your introduction and conclusion, you need to make it clear who should care about your argument and why they should care about it (see TSIS chapter 7). What, in other words, are the larger stakes of your argument?
  7. Prose and organizational effectiveness – It’s a writing class and a writing assignment, so the quality of your writing will be at issue. This means on the level on individual sentences and on the level of essay organization. As I have stated in class, I am concerned with the organization of your argument more than the placement of every comma. Nevertheless, many comma errors or particular comma errors can make it difficult to understand your argument.

Writing Center

Finally, I strongly encourage you to get a draft ready to take to the Writing Center. And make sure you schedule an appointment ASAP as they tend to get very busy at the end of a semester.