“Desiree’s Baby” by Kate Chopin

Assignment: You will write a research paper that analyzes how a literary work is influenced by and comments on its historical context. Choose one short story or poem from the list below as the subject of your research paper. These are all available in the Research Paper Readings folder in the week 10 module. After critically reading, annotating, and forming ideas about the story or poem, consider the contexts below, and decide which seem to be addressed in the piece. Then develop a research question based on the connection you hope to find (Chapter 30 in the OER gives a great example of a research question using Mary Shelly’s Frankenstien.). The question will likely evolve as you read sources and new ideas are sparked. Ultimately, your answer to the research question will be your thesis statement. When the essay is complete, it must be 4-6 pages or 1000-1500 words in length (the minimum is 4 full pages of text, not including the works cited page). Here are some important contexts to consider: Social structure—race, class, and gender roles. Cultural climate—how did people live, what was important to them, and what was the common family structure like? Political status—wars, political leaders, and political conflicts. Economic structure—depressions, recessions, and divisions between classes. Religious status—religious leaders, religious conflicts, and the importance of religion. Intellectual history—sciences, education, and philosophies. Language of the time period. Other literary works from the time period. Specific references to historical events or people. See page 2  Sources: Your Works Cited page must have at least 5 sources listed, which means you’ve quoted, summarized, or paraphrased from each of these in the paper. This includes the story or poem that is the subject of your paper—your primary source. Use current MLA style for the documentation (see New MLA Guidelines 2016 and chapter 36 in the OER textbook). The sources must all be reliable and preferably scholarly, meaning they are credible, reputable, and academic. Read the links on evaluating sources in the week 10 module to help you make this distinction.

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