Stories, Myths, & Legends Unit

English 102CD
Dr. Susanne George Bloomfield
University of Nebraska at Kearney
Fall 2007
1. The textbooks required for English 101CD will be Pieces of White Shell by Terry Tempest
Williams and The Concise Wadsworth Handbook 2nd Eition by Kirszner and Mandell.
2. A Home Page for this class has been created within my university Home Page and all of the
class information as well as other resources can be accessed at the follow URL:
2. Grades will be determined by a point system and will include several factors:
A. FORMAL PAPERS (325 possible points)
Students will write four papers in response to reading and writing assignments
discussed in class: the first of 3 pages and one research source (750 words); the second of
3 pages and two research sources(750 words); the third of 4 pages and three research
sources in addition to the text (1,000 words); and the fourth of 6-8 pages and six research
sources (1500-2000 words).
The organization, content, style, and grammar of the essays as well as the quality
and appropriateness of the research in the final memoir will help determine the points
earned. The papers will be worth 65, 75, 85, and 100 points respectively. They must be
typed according to the MLA format in 12 point Courier New font with the word count on
the last page. The essays must be turned in fastened together with a paper clip and inside
a two-pocket folder along with all rough drafts. Points will be deducted for late papers,
missing rough drafts, or inability to follow instructions.
B. DAILY GRADES (42 possible points)
In addition, daily writing assignments, including rough drafts, will be worth either
2(**), 3(***), 4(****), or 5 (*****) points. Asterisks mark when these assignments are
due and how much they are worth. If a student is absent, he or she may hand in the
assignment early, hand it in at the session following the absence, or work out a special
arrangement with the professor if unusual complications arise. Revision is emphasized in
this class, so draft points are crucial.
C. ATTENDANCE/PARTICIPATION (32 possible points)
Participation is an important part of the discovery, writing, and revising process.
As we will be doing group collaboration and individual conferencing during the class
periods, attendance is crucial. Points will be given for every class attended, with 3 extra
points for no absences. After two absences, an additional point will be deducted for each
absence. Only under exceptional circumstances will absences be excused or
modifications made.
The class will meet for 29 sessions. If a student misses one class period, 28
points will be earned and 27 points if two sessions are missed. After that, not only will
students not receive a point for attending that period, but an additional point will be
subtracted. (3 absences = 25 points; 4 absences = 23 points; 5 absences = 21 points, etc.)
This graphically demonstrates how poor attendance could substantially harm a student's
semester grade. Three points will be added for perfect attendance (excused absences will
not count for extra credit but will toward daily attendance). For example, if a student has
perfect attendance, he or she will receive 32 points.
3. Daily writing assignment points, attendance points, and points for the four papers will be
totaled and graded according to an assigned scale that will be available to the students at the
beginning of the semester.
4. My office is in 109D Thomas Hall, and this semester my office hours will be from 12:30-2:00
T-TH. If a student cannot meet with me during this time, I will be happy to make special
arrangements. My office number is 865-8867. Students may leave a message with the English
Department secretary at 865-8299 or contact me by e-mail:
5. Any student who feels s/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability
should contact me privately to discuss your specific needs. Please contact Academic Success at
308 865-8214, Memorial Student Affairs Building, Room 163, to coordinate reasonable
accommodations for students with documented disabilities.
First Paper: 65 points (1 source)
65 = A+
63 = A
61 = A59 = B+
57 = B
55 = B53 = C+
51 = C
49 = C47 = D+
45 = D
43 = D41 = F
Second Paper: 75 points (2 sources)
75 = A+
72 = A
69 = A66 = B+
63 = B
60 = B57 = C+
55 = C
52 = C50 = D+
48 = D
46 = D44 = F
Third Paper: 85 points (3 sources)
85 = A+
82 = A
78 = A75 = B+
72 = B
69 = B66 = C+
64 = C
61 = C58 = D+
55 = D
52 = D50 = F
Fourth Paper: 100 points (6 sources)
100 = A+
95 = A
90 = A88 = B+
85 = B
80 = B78 = C+
75 = C
70 = C68 = D+
65 = D
60 = D59 = F
65 = first paper points
75 = second paper points
85 = third paper points
100 = final paper points
42 = daily points
32 = attendance/ participation points
399 = Total possible points
399 = A+
380 = A
360 = A359 = B+
340 = B
320 = B-
319 = C+
300 = C
280 = C279 = D+
260 = D
240 = D-
English 102CD
Native American/Storytelling
Dr. Susanne George Bloomfield
Fall 2007
8/28 Discussion: Requirements, Assignments, and Expectations
8/30 Discussion: Process/Product; Inductive/Deductive; Native Americans/Navajo/Storytelling
Assignment due: Explore the Terry Tempest Williams or the Navajo Nation websites from the
English 101 Home Page and be ready to discuss them in class.
9/04 Discussion: Essay Writing Overview.
**Assignment due: Read about writing essays (pp.11-35) of the Handbook. In approximately
250 words, describe your own writing experience and explain how much of the reading
assignment is new to you.
9/06 Discussion: Revising Overview.
**Assignment due: Read Drafting and Revising (pp.35-58) of the Handbook. In approximately
250 words, discuss your revising experience.
Discussion: Writing Paragraphs (Preview Handbook pp. 59-77)
Assignment due: Read "Prologue," "Curator," “Rocks, Sand, and Seeds,” and "Turquoise,
Obsidian, and Coral," (pp.1-36) from Pieces of White Shell and be ready for discussion in class.
65 points (DUE 9/25/07)
Write a 750 word (3 page) narrative essay about an object or artifact that holds special
meaning or significance for you. Describe the object in detail. Tell the story behind the object
dramatically and vividly, giving a clear indication of its significance in your life. Experiment
with dialogue if you wish. Use one outside research source. Remember:
(1) Narrow your focus. Do not try to tell too much; zero in on the most important scene or
(2) Organize your narrative chronologically or with flashbacks.
(3) Unify your essay by using only details that will lead up to the significance of the object in
your life.
(4) Be selective. Select specific details that will highlight the significance of the object. Don't
include irrelevant facts or descriptions.
(5) Remember that your classmates are your audience. What would interest them? What
would they like to know?
9/13 Discussion: Narrative Essays (Preview Building Sentences in Handbook pp. 155-169)
** Assignment due: Read "Pieces of White Shell," “Yucca,” and "A Bouquet of Feathers Bound
by Yarn," (pp.39-73) from Pieces of White Shell. Make a list of three objects that have
significance in your life about which you could write an essay.
Workshop: Group collaboration to brainstorm ideas for the narrative essay.
9/18 Editing Focus: Writing Paragraphs in Handbook (pp. 59-77)
Workshop: Peer and Individual Conferencing
***Assignment due: Typed first draft of Narrative Essay due
Section A: 2:00-2:45
Section B: 2:45-3:30
9/22 Editing Focus: Building Sentences in Handbook (pp. 155-169)
Workshop: Peer and Individual Conferencing
****Assignment due: Typed revised draft of Narrative Essay due
Section A: 2:00-2:45
Section B: 2:45-3:30
9/25 Final draft and all rough drafts in folder due of Narrative Essay (60 points)
Discussion: Stories, Myths, Legends. Dreaded Comma (Preview pp. 270-283)
75 Points
(DUE 10/16/07)
Write a 750 word (3 page) essay about a story, legend, or myth that has either impacted or
defined your life. Parallel it with a story about your own life. Tell the stories dramatically and
vividly, giving a clear indication of its significance in your life. Experiment with dialogue if
you wish. Use two outside research sources. Remember:
Narrow your focus. Don’t try to tell too much; zero in on the most important details.
Organize your essay around the significance of the story in your life, perhaps what it has
taught you about yourself, others, or the world.
(3) Unify your essay through your dominant impression. Include only details that will amplify
the main idea you want to make about your subject.
(4) Be selective. Select specific details that will highlight the dominant impression. Don't
include irrelevant facts or descriptions.
(5) Remember that your classmates are your audience.
9/27 Assignment due: Read “Coyote Fur,” and "A Bone From Black Mountain" (pp. 75-97) from Pieces
of White Shell and be ready for class discussion.
Workshop: Collaborate in groups on story possibilities, how to form a thesis, and how to organize
your essay.
Revised English 101CD: Assignment Schedule
Fall 2007
10/02 Assignment due: Read “Deerskin” and “Wool” (pp. 99-119) from Pieces of White Shell and be
ready for class discussion.
**Make a list of three stories you might narrate and a parallel story from your own life.
Workshop: Collaborate in groups on how to form a thesis and organize your essay.
10/04 Assignment due: Read “Potshard,” “Storyteller,” “Home,”and “Epilogue” and noteice how Willams
puts together her Acknowledgements, Notes, and Bibliography (pp. 121-162) from Pieces of
White Shell and be ready for class discussion.
Editing Focus: Commas in Handbook pp. 270-283
10/09 Workshop: Peer and Individual Conferencing
***Assignment due: Typed first draft of Comparison Essay
Section A: 2:00-2:45
Section B: 2:45-3:30
10/11 Workshop: Peer and Individual Conferencing
****Assignment due: Typed revised draft of Comparison Essay
Section A: 2:00-2:45
Section B: 2:45-3:30
10/16 Final draft and all rough drafts in folder due of Comparison Essay (75 points)
Discussion: Literary Analysis Essay; Analyze Student Model Essays.
Editing Focus: Using quotations as support. Read Sample student papers. Preview Using
Quotation Marks in Handbook (pp. 293-301) and Semicolons and Apostrophes in Handbook (pp.
283-293). Discuss handout on Quotations.
85 points (DUE 11/13/07)
Write a 1,000 word (4 page) essay interpreting one aspect of Pieces of White Shell or the
additional stories we read in class. Formulate a thesis and find evidence in the story to support
that thesis. Use three outside research sources in addition to the text. Remember:
Narrow your focus.
Unify your essay through your thesis. Include only points that will amplify the main
idea you want to make about your analysis.
Organize your paper topically. Do not simply retell the story; zero in on the most
important scene or scenes.
Be selective. Select specific details from the text and include pertinent quotations that
will prove your thesis. Don't include irrelevant quotations or descriptions.
Remember that your classmates are your audience.
10/18 No Class: WLA Conference
Read essays by Joseph Marshall On Reserve for this class in the UNK Library. Or critical essays?
10/23 No Class: Fall Break
10/25 Discussion: Read short stories by Joseph Marshall On Reserve in UNK Library and be ready for
Discussion of all of his stories.
10/30 Discussion: Read Stories by Leslie Silko on Reserve in UNK library and be ready for discussion.
**Assignment due: Choose a topic for your Literary Analysis and write a thesis sentence and
three possible points to support it.
Workshop: Polishing and Refining Theses and Points
11/01 No Class: Nonfiction Conference
11/06 Editing Focus: Semicolons and Apostrophes in Handbook (pp. 278-288)
Workshop: Peer and Individual Conferencing
***Assignment due: Typed first draft of Literary Analysis
Section A: 2:00-2:45
Section B: 2:45-3:30
11/08 Editing Focus: Using Quotation Marks in Handbook (pp. 288-295)
Workshop: Peer and Individual Conferencing
****Assignment due: Typed revised draft of Literary Analysis
Section A: 2:00-2:45
Section B: 2:45-3:30
11/13 Final draft and all rough drafts in folder due of Literary Analysis Essay (75 points)
Surf Native American Internet Sites. Hand out copy of Indian Country Today to each student.
Discuss Research Paper topic possibilities.
100 points
(DUE 12/18/07)
Write a 6-8 page (1,500-2,000 word) informative essay about a Native American topic . Use at
least six outside research sources as support. Not all of them can be from the WWW.
(1) Narrow your focus. Choose a topic that can be thoroughly discussed and supported within
the allowed pages. If your thesis is too broad, your essay will only be able to
superficially cover the issue.
(2) Organize your essay topically, with strong topic and concluding sentences for each point
and balanced and well-supported ideas.
(3) Unify your essay through your thesis, be sure that all of your support is not only about the
subject, but also proves your point of view.
(4) Be selective. Select specific details that will support your thesis. Don't include irrelevant
facts or research. Use appropriate reference sources.
(5) Remember that your classmates are your audience.
11/15 Assignment due: Read Writing a Research Paper in Handbook (pp. 347-367).
11/20 Assignment due: Read Library Research in Handbook (pp. 368-391)
**Assignment due: List three Native American topics that you might be interested in for your
research paper.
Workshop: Compare ideas and formulate theses and points.
11/22 No Class: Thanksgiving Recess
11/27 Meet in Library for research. Sign in at 2nd floor table
11/29 **Assignment due: Typed thesis and points for Research Essay
Section A: 2:00-2:45
Section B: 2:45-3:30
12/04 Assignment due: Read Using Research Sources/Plagiarism in Handbook (pp. 391-409)
12/06 Workshop: Peer and Individual Conferencing
***Assignment due: Typed first draft of Research Essay
Section A: 2:00-2:45
Section B: 2:45-3:30
12/11-12 Individual Conferences in Dr. Bloomfield’s office
12/13 ****Assignment due: Typed revised draft of Research Essay
Section A: 2:00-2:45
Section B: 2:45-3:30
Finals Week: Tuesday 12/18/07
Final Research Essay with all rough drafts in folder due
between 1:00 and 1:30 in Dr. Bloomfield’s office TMH 109D
Myths and Legends
Myths, according to the dictionary, are generally a body of traditional stories usually "dealing
with supernatural beings, ancestors, or heroes" that "embody the cultural ideals" or express the "deep,
commonly felt emotions" of a particular society. A myth can also be defined as "any fictitious or
imaginary story, explanation, person, or thing" and often it is "based more on tradition or convenience
rather than on fact."
These extraordinary events are set in a time altogether different from historical time, often at the
beginning of creation or at an early stage of prehistory. Myths serve an important purpose, for they
"revolve around cultural heroes, who made the earth habitable for mankind, or around great beings who
made salvation from earthly existence possible," and they help explain how evil and death originated.
More importantly, myths often serve as models for human behavior and are the basis for beliefs of many
religious or spiritual communities.
A legend seems to be closely connected to myth, for it is defined as "an unverified popular story
handed down" that has become romanticized or popularized in modern times. A legend can also be a
person who "achieves legendary fame."
Legends are also traditional stories concerning a particular person or place. Although a legend at
first referred to a saint, like myths, they, too, may include "supernatural beings, elements of mythology, or
explanations of natural phenomena." They are different from myth in that they are more regional and are
often based on historical facts.
Group Discussion questions for chapters in
Pieces of White Shell
1. What is the thesis of each of the chapters for today? Can you find a thesis statement or is it implied?
2. What is the connection between Williams’s personal stories and the myths in each chapter?
3. Notice the beginning and the ending of each of the chapters? Are they tied together? How?
4. Choose a sentence that you like from each of the chapters. What pages are they on?
5. What did you like about these readings?
6. What did you dislike?
Group Reader Response Questions
for Pieces of White Shell by Terry Tempest Williams
1. What was your first reaction or response to the text? Describe or explain it briefly.
2. Briefly retell the major events (plot) of the reading.
3. What sort of person do you imagine the author to be? Does it match the previous information you
had learned about Williams?
4. If you would be asked to write about your reading of this text, upon what would each of you focus?
5. Are there any paragraphs or sentences that stood out for you that you particularly liked or would like
to use as a model for your own writing? Mark them and read them to the class.
6. Choose one of the chapters and discuss its thesis and organization/structure. Point out the
introductory and concluding paragraphs and find examples of three different kinds of paragraph
development (description, exemplification, process, cause/effect, comparison/contrast,
division/classification, and definition). Also note one or two transitions between paragraphs/ideas.
7. Is there anything in the reading that would be a good topic for a research paper?
Model Object Paper
Susanne George Bloomfield
Professor Bloomfield
English 102
11 September 2007
Daddy’s Diamonds
On the drive to Texas to visit my father for Christmas, I had trouble keeping my eyes open. I-35
through Kansas was just one field of wheat stubble after another on a straight, flat road, and the trip had
hardly begun. Grading fifty freshman composition students’ final papers and writing my own seminar
papers for my two graduate courses had kept me up until two or three every morning with classes to teach
or attend the next day. My son and daughter were both sound asleep already, exhausted from football and
volleyball practices and games on top of their own homework.
“I just can’t do it any more,” I thought as I negotiated Wichita. I had been making the three hour
drive to Lincoln for three years once a week and taking two graduate seminars each semester for my
doctorate, teaching part time at the university in Kearney three days a week, and trying to be both a
mother and father to my children. Frying hamburgers at Burger King was looking better and better. My
life and career had entered a black hole—I had too much experience and education to return to teaching in
the public schools and not enough for a tenure-track job at a college or university.
Once we hit Oklahoma, Tami and Chad had roused, and their joking and stories kept me awake
until we drove into Fort Worth. Dad must have been watching for us, for he was standing on the patio
with a huge smile as we pulled in the driveway. A shock ran through me as I saw how much he seemed to
have aged since our last trip at Easter. His pearl-buttoned, western shirt hung loosely on his frail body,
and he shuffled more as he walked. His hug, however, was as strong as ever although I could feel the
trembling from his Parkinson’s disease.
The days passed quickly, some of them, admittedly, spent sleeping in, and soon the time came for
us to pack the car to return to Nebraska. That last evening, after the kids had both gone to bed, Dad called
me to his side at his recliner. “Your mother always loved jewelry,” he began, “and I never had enough
money to buy her anything nice. I may not make it to your commencement, so I want to give you this now
while I am still able. In his shaking hand he held a small, black velvet box.
But, Dad,” I faltered. “I still have two more years to go. What if I don’t make it?”
“You’ll make it,” he said simply.
I took the box from his hands, and mine trembled, too, as I opened it. Inside sparkled two
diamond earrings set in gold. “Wow,” I said in shock. My dad had always been generous, but his gifts
tended to run on the practical side, like new tires, a winter coat, or a pair of boots.
“Put them on. I want to see how you look.”
“I don’t deserve them yet,” I said guiltily, remembering how seriously I had been considering
quitting school.
“Yes, you do,” he said. “I am so proud of you.”
His smile literally stretched from ear to ear as he viewed his gift, living proof that giving is as
good as receiving.
On the trip home, I glanced at my hands on the steering wheel and my mother’s engagement ring
that my father had given me at her funeral. The diamond was about a third the size of the earrings, more
of a chip, really, but it had been deceptively set in silver so that it appeared larger than it really was. They
were married during the Depression of the 1930s, and that was all they could afford. I remembered
watching Mom at the kitchen table gluing red rhinestones into fake gold jewelry that came in do-ityourself kits. As a child, I had thought it was beautiful, but now it just made me sad.
Luckily, when I registered late for the second semester, none of the classes I needed had filled,
and I resumed the long trips to Lincoln. I set the black velvet box with the diamonds on the top of my
computer, vowing never to wear them until I put on my cap and gown. They must have brought me luck
because that semester I applied for and received a fellowship that would allow me enough money so that I
would not have to teach the whole last year of my program. I could concentrate on my graduate courses,
finish my dissertation, attend all of my children’s games, and still pay the bills if we were careful. I was
going to make it after all.
In May 1988, Tami, Chad, and I made a triumphant trip to Lincoln where I donned my black robe
with its black velvet bands on the sleeves, the beautiful black hood trimmed in red satin and blue velvet,
and Daddy’s diamonds. Although his health had degenerated to the point that he had had to be placed in a
nursing home, he was right there with me that day. (859 words)
The American Dream
(Model Paper by Dr. Bloomfield)
One belief that has inspired people around the world since the days of the Pilgrims is the myth
of the American Dream. In 1931 James Truslow Adams wrote in The Epic of America that the American
Dream was "that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with
opportunity for each according to ability or achievement” (Dolan). In the eighteenth century, many
people believed that if only they could immigrate to America, they could escape poverty and tyranny.
In the nineteenth century, many people believed that if they could file on a homestead, they could
achieve economic independence, could even become rich. All wanted to achieve the American Dream
for themselves and their family.
To achieve this dream, however, our ancestors had to come to terms with myths about the
frontier. One was that the West was the Garden of the World. They saw themselves as the New Adam,
whose role was to transform the wilderness into an American Eden (Mogen 100). Like Lewis and Clark
on their 1804 expedition, they believed their manifest destiny was to explore and claim these “empty”
new lands, naming rivers and strange new animals and surviving on the abundance of nature. However,
when Stephen Long led an expedition in 1823 across the plains in August, he declared the region a Great
Desert and “uninhabitable by people depending upon agriculture for existence” (Quantic 38). Myths, as
we know, are stories drawn from historical experience, and in the case of my own family, these myths
changed their destiny. They decided to invest in the American Dream and to believe that they could
make the frontier their own Garden of Eden.
My great grandfather Henry J. Flack and his wife Kate, a nurse’s aid whom he met in a
government hospital while recuperating from a battle wound received during the Civil War, decided to
leave their friends and family in Illinois in 1890 to pursue the American Dream. Like so many other
pioneers who emigrated to the West, they believed that the virgin land of the Great Plains was the
American Garden of Eden where they could find cheap and plentiful land, and with hard work and
perseverance, accumulate an estate that they could hand down to their children (Flack 9). Although
much of the best homestead land had already been claimed in the 1870s and 1880s, many of the
original settlers could not endure the snake and lice infested sod houses or the grasshoppers, prairie
fires, and extreme weather that devastated their crops, so they turned their prairie schooners east and
headed home, selling everything they owned at auctions attended by others facing the same plight.
Meanwhile, Great Grandpa Flack headed west, first to some rented ground in Firth, Nebraska,
and then to Norman, where he eventually acquired three farms of 160 acres each, one for each of his
sons. After seeing each of them comfortably settled on his own place, he and his wife moved into town.
Soon thereafter, in 1900, my grandfather, Thomas William married the local country school teacher and
set up housekeeping—only to have his mother and father move back in with them when big city life in
Holstein disagreed with them. Interestingly, my great-grandfather did achieve the American Dream
despite arriving on the Great Plains at the beginning of a world-wide economic depression and a
drought to rival that of the 1930s. He made a garden out of a desert.
My grandparents stayed on the original farm until 1910 when they purchased land near Minden.
I do not know what prompted my grandfather to purchase the Minden farm that remains in the family
today, but he, too, achieved the American Dream. If I parallel his life with what I know of American
history, I realize that his decision to move to town in 1922, keeping the land but selling the machinery
and livestock, in order to manage the Minden Mill and Elevator was a wise one. In doing so, he was able
to have outside income during the terrible drought and Depression of the 1930s, when the dust blew so
thick that it drifted in fencelines, thus insuring that the land would remain in the family.
After World War II., my father and mother returned to the land after serving in war industries in
Cleveland. They became Adam and Eve in their garden, with a thriving dairy and flowers that my mother
planted everywhere. When my father put down one of the first irrigation wells in the area in 1956, he
felt that he could hold the desert at bay. However, when the government passed new dairy inspection
laws closing many processing plants, he had to sell his cattle and depend solely upon the land. Then, in
1959, a fourth of July hailstorm wiped out their crops. That November, my mother died unexpectedly.
Like his father before him, and many of the early settlers, my father sold everything at auction but the
land and took a job in Kearney.
When I married a farmer in 1968, my first husband and I took over the family farm, this time
adding pivot sprinklers to help the crops flourish on our little piece of the American Eden. Our dream
was to raise our children on the family land, add to it as my great grandfather had, and pass it down to
them. However, the farm crisis of the 1980s devastated us as badly as the droughts, grasshoppers, and
prairie fires had ruined many new early pioneers. Fortunately, I was able to hold on the Flack land for
my own children.
Today, my son is the fourth generation attempting to achieve his dream of making the Plains
fruitful. Ethanol factories and world trade opportunities are helping him to realize his vision, but the
cycle of garden and desert that has followed my family through the generations haunts me. However,
one reality reassures me that my son will succeed. Through two severe depressions, two great droughts,
and two world wars, the land remains in the family, and we will continue to dream. (1,015/ 911 words)
Works Cited
Donlan, Leni and Kathleen Ferenz. “What is the American Dream?” America Memory. Library of
Congress. 1997. 20 September 2007 <
Flack, Floyd. A Genealogy of the Flack-Burling Line of Descendants. Ames, IA: Art Press, 1967.
Mogen, David, Mark Busby, and Paul Bryant. The Frontier Experience and the American Dream: Essays
on American Literature. College Station: Texas A&M Press, 1989.
Quantic, Diane Dufva. The Nature of the Place: A Study of Great Plains Fiction. Lincoln: University of
Nebraska P, 1995.
Native American Research Paper Guidelines
Write a 6-8 page (1,500-2,000 word) informative essay about a Native American topic. Use at least six
outside research sources as support. Not all of them can be from the WWW. It is due December 18,
1. Be sure that the topic interests you. Don’t choose one because you think it will be “easy.” Perhaps,
find a topic that corresponds to your major.
2. Narrow the subject. “Pawnee Indians” is too broad. “Pre-Contact Pawnee Agriculture” would be more
appropriate. “Indian Weapons” is huge. “Sioux bows and arrows” or
“The importance of guns to Sioux warfare” would be better.
3. Ironically, the more narrow your subject, the easier your paper will be to research and to write. The
information will not overwhelm you.
4. Finding a subject is not enough. After researching, come to some sort of conclusion about the subject
that you wish to prove. It may or may not be argumentative or persuasive. The subject PLUS the
“Conclusion” forms your Thesis. It should be stated in one simple sentence:
“Pre-contact Pawnee Indians practiced sophisticated farming practices.”
“For the Sioux, guns made them even more formidible warriors.”
5. Next, subdivide the thesis into appropriate parts. For this length of paper, have no more than 2-4
points. If you have too many, your subject needs to be narrowed, perhaps to one of your points.
6. Choose the “best” point to work on first. You may find enough information to make it the whole
subject of your paper.
7. “Sandwich” all of your research information; transition into and out of your research so that it flows
smoothly with your own sentences, your own understanding and interpretation of the subject.
8. Cite the source for all information that is not “common knowledge,” whether you quote it directly or
paraphrase it. If it doubt, cite. Use Internal Documentation according to MLA format.
9. List all of the sources you actually use in your paper in the Works Cited at the end of the paper. It
should be on a separate page. It should be formatted according to MLA.
10. Number your pages; use the standard first page heading—do not use an extra title page; secure
pages with a paper clip; and include all drafts in a two pocket folder.
Research Tips
 If you are looking for a subject or want to learn a little more about one you know very little
about, do some preliminary searching on the internet for general information. This will help you
narrow down the topic into more specific parts. Be careful about Wikipedia for the information
there is not necessarily reliable (Double check it elsewhere?). Be careful not to waste too much
time surfing.
 Next, go to the library resources for more detailed, in depth, and trustworthy information.
o Books
 keyword—Indian Education
 subject—Indians of North America Education
 Note list of subject entries
 Notice date of book publication—publisher
 Use Indexes
 Use bibliography in books for more places to search
o Online Reference Resources (general references)
 Gale Virtual Reference Library—(Sioux religion/Lakota Religious
Traditions, Tricksters; Indian, Weapons, Warfare)
o Online articles
 Bloomfield Class Home Page Journal & newspaper links
 Consult, if possible, both primary and secondary sources
 Interlibrary Loan
electronic article delivery
 Internet
Good sites: ending in gov, org, edu
 If possible, make copies of chapters, articles, web sites with ALL bibliographic data as well as
where you found it.
 Compile a working bibliography—keep track of possible research sources
 When using information in drafts, cite everything beginning in the first draft so you don’t have
to go back and find it—especially page numbers.
Final Revision Checklist—Informative/Persuasive Essay
The following is a summary of what we have been working on this semester in writing and revising
Organization (25)
 Is there a strong thesis sentence with a subject and a point of view or attitude?
 Divide the paper into its parts. Is there a clear introduction and conclusion that tie together and
signal to the reader what the paper is/was about?
 Does each part have a clear sentence that signals the topic to be discussed?
Content (50)
 Are the parts balanced? Do any need to be condensed or cut? Do any of the parts need extra
supporting evidence or comment?
 Are there any paragraphs that veer of the subject and do not specifically support the thesis?
 Is the thesis supported by strong research material? Is it appropriate? Are there personal
opinions that need more research support?
 Is the opposing viewpoint represented? Is there too much? Not enough?
 Is the research material “sandwiched” into the text? Is the material introduced or set up
correctly with good transitions? Is their an explanation of how the material supports the thesis?
 Is the information too general? Does more specific information need to be added?
Style & Grammar (15)
 Is the paper too wordy and repetitive?
 Are the sentences short and choppy with the same words repeated frequently? Do they need to
be combined to be more mature and effective?
 Has the paper avoided the errors on the “Hit List”? (get, there is, it is, you, etc.)
 Are there any NS (Incomplete Sentences) or ROS (Run-on Sentences?) And AWK (Awkward
Sentences) that are confusing?
 Are there transitions between parts? Between ideas within parts, and into and out of research
 Is there variety in sentence types and lengths?
 Are there any spelling errors? Are there any incorrect words due to spell check?
 Is the punctuation correct, especially comma rules #1 and #2 (coordination and subordination)?
MLA Format (10)
 Is the entire paper and heading in the correct MLA format? Is the final draft held together with a
paper clip? Are the pages numbered?
 Are the quotes cited correctly, both in-text and parenthetical? Are they punctuated correctly?
 Is there any material that needs citation to avoid accusations of plagiarism?
 Is the Works Cited page set up correctly in alphabetical order with hanging paragraphs?
 Are each of the entries cited correctly? Is there a period after each one?
 Are the long URLs broken to fit on two lines and the hyperlinks removed?
Dr. Susanne Bloomfield
English 101—Spring 2007
Works Cited* MODEL
Marshall III, Joseph. “Oliver’s Silver Dollar.” The Dance House: Stories from Rosebud. Santa Fe: Red
Crane Books, 1998. 1-25.
Ortiz, Simon. “The Killing of a State Cop.” Nothing But the Truth: An Anthology of Native
Literature. John L. Purdy and James Ruppert, eds. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2001.
Silko, Leslie Marmon.
“Lullaby.” Storyteller. New York: Arcade,1981. 43-51.
Silko, Leslie Marmon. “The Man To Send Rain Clouds.” Nothing But the Truth: An Anthology of Native
American Literature. John L. Purdy and James Ruppert, eds. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice
Hall, 2001. 358-361.
Silko, Leslie Marmon. “Tony’s Story.” Nothing But the Truth: An Anthology of Native
Literature. John L. Purdy and James Ruppert, eds. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2001.