Analytical Research Paper

Research Paper Prompt,

Assignment Summary: Students will write an Analytical Research Paper of 1700-2000 words (approx. 5-6 pages, double-spaced) using one or more literary texts from our course readings on the Gothic in which you will select one of the prompts on the next page and incorporate at least 2 outside sources. The minimum word requirement must be met. Papers that do not meet the 1700- word minimum can earn at best a B+. Students will submit a prospectus (about half a page, double-spaced) of their ideas and plan for the essay for me to review. The prospectus (or abstract) should let me know what literary text(s) you will analyze, the prompt you have chosen, your initial thoughts about what ideas or elements you plan to explore, and an estimation of the outside sources you think you might use. You can include a working thesis if you like, but this is not required. I encourage each student to schedule a conference with me at some point in your writing process to discuss your research paper.


  • To conduct a literary analysis that integrates research to make a cohesive, persuasive argument
  • To indicate the relevance of your conclusions to a larger audience (the so-what element: Why should readers care? What is the significance of your research?).


  • Your essay should be typed, use double spacing, 1” margins, include page numbers, and append a Works Cited page using MLA Style for all materials cited and referred to in the paper. We will review this specifically in class.
  • Your final copy will be a Word or PDF file submitted to Blackboard by the deadline


  • Students will submit a half page prospectus (abstract) for me to review.
  • You’ll spend four weeks researching and drafting your analysis.
  • In the week or so leading up to the final submission deadline, we’ll work through specific revision techniques to shore up and improve your work as you prepare to submit the final draft.

The work you do for this research paper:

  • Allows you to dig deeper into one or more texts on your chosen topic
  • Provides you with instruction in analyzing content and presenting others’ ideas in a standard academic genre of writing
  • Affords opportunities to work through revision techniques beyond sentence level editing
  • Directs you in constructing clear, evidence-supported arguments that include research and that persuade general audiences

Prompts (choose one):

  1. How does the Gothic define monstrosity? Discuss in relation to one or more texts.
  • In what ways does Gothic literature address fears of gender, class, and/or race?
  • Analyze the Gothic’s tendency to destabilize and transgress boundaries (such as between good and evil, life and death, sanity and insanity, safety and danger, etc.) and why
  • Explore the role of landscape in one or more Gothic texts and explain how it contributes to the creation of terror and/or horror in the text
  • Examine how Gothic texts use science as a way of revealing obsessions with beauty, perfection, and personal glory rather than progress, healing, and well-being
  • Evaluate how and why the past in Gothic texts is so crucial to inspiring fear, paranoia, or insanity
  • Investigate how one or more Gothic texts portray a descent into mental, physical, and/or architectural collapse
  • Analyze the role and significance of spectral presences in one or more Gothic texts
  • Examine how haunted houses, rooms, castles, hovels, and/or other domiciles reveal our darkest fears, anxieties, manias, and/or violent tendencies
  1. Evaluate how Gothic texts create a sense of entrapment, claustrophobia, or paralysis
  1. Compare and contrast the brutality, criminality, appetites, and/or passions of Dracula and the Crew of Light
  1. Explore how the Gothic presents masculinity and femininity in one or more texts as something to be feared or that inspires dread
  1. How does the Gothic explore what it means to be human?

Questions? Ask!

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