The Literary Analysis SENIOR PROJECT - mr. bodell's class

AP Senior Project |1
The Literary Analysis SENIOR PROJECT
For your final project, you will be selecting a novel, poetry, short stories, artwork, music, and nonfiction in an effort to create a thematic unit of your own. You will also compose a 5-8 page research
paper that utilizes one (or more) literary criticism theories to analyze significant literary elements of
the novel (such as character, setting, symbolism, metaphor, irony, etc.) and how these develop a
universal theme that you have identified from the work.
It is your job to prove that you have mastered the course objectives:
1. How to analyze literature and its various elements in connection to a work’s themes, historical
importance, social commentary, and author techniques.
2. How to locate, evaluate, and use legitimate research
3. How to connect different mediums thematically
4. How to annotate effectively
5. How to effectively and creatively organize research and analysis
6. How to use MLA format correctly
7. How to write a well-organized, well-researched, multi-sourced, deeply analyzed paper
8. How to use the elements of grammar to write an effective paper
9. How to use a wide vocabulary
10. How to create and organize a portfolio
11. How to create and execute a professional presentation including the use of visual aids such as
12. How to manage and organize your time efficiently and effectively
Step One: You will choose a novel from the list below (you may have to buy a copy because
I have a limited supply). The novel is the foundation piece for everything else you will do to
create your unit (themes, historical connections, social commentary, and literary
Hamlet by William Shakespeare (if not read in class)
Macbeth by William Shakespeare (if not read in class)
Othello by William Shakespeare
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (if not read in class)
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo (if not read in class)
Crime & Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (if you did not read it with Mr. Carroll)
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut (if you did not read it with Mr. Gansky.)
Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (if not read in class)
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey (if not read in class)
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
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For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
The Stranger by Albert Camus
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
The Awakening by Kate Chopin
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
By special permission:
The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok
Beloved by Toni Morrison (challenging, anachronistic, symbolic ghost story)
Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot
The Cocktail Party by T.S. Eliot (if not read in class)
The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (must be compared and contrasted with another short story, novel,
or drama)
The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
George Washington Gomez by Americo Paredes
The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois
Step Two: Choose a literary criticism theory to apply to your novel. You may need to research the
historical background and author’s information related to the novel, so that you can come up with
important themes, historical ideas, and information about the author that can lead to a more
informed understanding of why and how the work was written. You may benefit from researching
more about a particular literary criticism theory. (Remember the Dorian Gray presentations?) Print
out and annotate every bit of research you find. You should have a minimum of three credible,
academic sources. You may not use Cliff’s notes, sparknotes, shmoop, blogs, online
encyclopedias (Wikipedia), student papers found online, etc. You may, however, use some
of these sources to launch a search for credible sources. You must also create an annotated
bibliography for each of these sources (see sample on pp. 5-8). As you annotate, use three
differently colored pens to annotate: one color for all vocabulary and definitions (including terms
and ideas you are unfamiliar with); one color for questions; and one color for connections, themes,
historical ideas, social commentary, and literary techniques. Create a key for your instructor to
follow and stay consistent with your color-coding.
If you are exploring a formalist, biographical, or historical approach, you may wish to focus your
preliminary research on answering questions like:
AP Senior Project |3
What is the setting of this novel? Why did the author set it in that time period?
How does that time period relate to issues brought up in the book?
What was happening in the world during this time period? Is that relevant to the content?
Why did the author write this book?
Are there any interesting facts about the author’s life that might help you understand the
What ideas or beliefs does the author hold? What philosophical, religious, and/or cultural
beliefs or ideas are espoused by the author and which are criticized throughout the novel?
Is there anything typical about the genre of your novel?
What are some common themes or ideas that are encountered in books like this?
What are the common literary techniques and styles found in most novels of this time period
or genre?
Step Three: Develop a format for a reading journal based on your preliminary research. In other
words, look for the things that you learned about the novel prior to reading it, so that you can have a
focus for your journal while you are reading that novel. The reading journal, of course, is the
foundation for your final essay focus. The more ideas you investigate for your reading journal, the
more choices you will have for your final essay. YOU MUST HAVE A MINIMUM OF 30
COMPLETE YOUR RESEARCH. Also keep a vocabulary log. Choose 30 words to define and
use in a sentence of your own. You have control over how useful this is to you. Choose frequent,
loaded, or challenging words and expand your vocabulary! It can also give you more details
regarding the author’s style.
Step Four: Draft a working thesis statement and an outline of the logical progression of ideas for
your final paper. Your working thesis statement should express a universal theme from the novel or
drama you have read. Then, think of instances in the novel or play that support your chosen theme.
These will become the Roman numerals for your essay outline. (See the example below on p.9.)
Step Five: Write an essay (5-8 pages) in MLA format with a works cited page (with the sources you
accessed throughout the entire project, including the preliminary research you did prior to reading)
and internal citations addressing all that you have learned about this book and the related readings.
Your essay must include a literary analysis of the novel using at least one approach to literary
criticism that we have covered in class and how the aids in the development of a universal theme.
You need at least three research sources: these sources can be those you used as primary research,
but they are not the related readings. Since you are creating the actual writing prompt for this
essay, you need to be sure you have a really strong thesis and intro paragraph that make that prompt
and the purpose of your essay clear to me. You should have at least three embedded quotes from
the novel or from your research in each paragraph. Your essay is a literary analysis paper primarily
(not a historical analysis paper), so the historical or other source information you use in your essay is
there to provide support for your literary analysis. You will not need to use the art or music in your
essay unless it is relevant historically or as a direct representation of the novel. If you do choose to
include some analysis on music or artistic pieces, they can be analyzed using the same tools we apply
to literature. If you embed an image into your paper, there still needs to be a minimum of five pages
of written analysis. A completed paper will be due ____________. This draft will receive an AP
rubric score and feedback. You will have a chance to revise your essay and turn that in with your
AP Senior Project |4
Step Six: Develop a thematic unit topic. Find other art, poetry, non-fiction, music, and short
stories that fit into this thematic unit as if you were teaching this novel as part of a thematic
unit to a high school English class. You will need at least two poems, two short stories and/or
non-fiction pieces, and two pieces of art (paintings, sculpture, film, music, etc.) that relate directly
to the novel thematically or historically. You may find some of these related readings in your purple
lit book. You must then annotate these pieces in a manner of your choosing that clearly illustrates
why you chose them and how they are relevant to your novel and overall thematic unit (in terms of
the historical ideas, the societal commentary, the use of literary techniques and styles, etc.). You may
reference some of these pieces in your actual essay if they serve to introduce, illustrate, or explain
your thesis. Please type your annotations on a separate sheet of paper if you cannot handwrite
legibly. Finally, draft a Proposal Letter (see p. 11 below) explaining the unit theme you would
include this novel in and briefly explain what works you have chosen to include in the unit. If you
were teaching this novel to high school students, why would you include these other related pieces
of poetry, art, non-fiction, etc.?
Step Seven: Build your portfolio.
Obtain a new three-ring binder for your essay, your annotated bibliographies, your reading journal
and vocab log, your proposal letter, and copies of all of your research, poems, non-fiction, art, short
stories, and everything else you have come up with over the course of this assignment. (See the
rubric below.)
How will you be graded?
1. Your essay will receive a grade based on the 9-point AP scale. Significant errors in grammar
mechanics (more than four errors per page), MLA formatting, and essay formatting will
result in a grade penalty. It is expected that you will exhibit proficiency in embedding quotes
and paraphrasing sources as well as utilizing legitimate sources to support your essay focus
and analysis. (Using a legitimate source once is not enough.)
2. Your annotations will be graded based on effort, depth and complexity, thoughtfulness of
the comments, and the significance of the thematic, historical, social, political, religious, and
3. Your reading journals will be graded on the effort, the critical thinking, the depth of analysis
of the novel, the organization of the log, and your choice of focus topics.
4. Your research will be graded on your ability to choose legitimate sources, use them
effectively in your paper, and annotate those sources in deep and meaningful ways.
5. Your portfolio will be graded on your organization, completion, and presentation.
AP Senior Project |5
Due Dates
Between 11/20-2/29
Choose and Read a Senior Project Novel
On or before Feb. 5
Annotated Bibliographies (100 pts.)
On or before February 29
Working Thesis Statement & Outline (100 pts.)
On or before March 21
Reading Journals (90 pts.) and Vocab Log (60 pts.)
On or before April 8
Initial Draft of Final Paper (10 Writing pts.)
On or before May 13
Final Portfolios (300 Misc. pts.) w/ revised essay (30 Writing pts.)
Annotated Bibliography
An annotated bibliography includes an MLA Works Cited page listing of your sources (check
out followed by a summary, evaluation, and/or reflection of each of those
sources. The purpose of the annotated bibliography is to inform your professor of the relevance,
accuracy, and quality of the sources cited. Depending on your project or the assignment, your
annotations may do one or more of the following:
Summarize: Some annotated bibliographies merely summarize the source. What are the
main arguments? What is the point of this book or article? What topics are covered? If
someone asked what this article/book is about, what would you say? What insight does it
provide on your novel? What is it helping you to look for or think about?
Evaluate/Assess: You need to legitimize your source for your teacher/professor. Is the
information reliable? Is this source biased or objective? Is the author qualified in his/her
field of study? Is the publisher reliable and qualified? Does the source offer a works cited
page or other bibliographic information?
Reflect: Once you've summarized and assessed a source, you need to ask how it fits into
your research. Was this source helpful to you? How will it help you shape your analysis?
How can you use this source in your paper? How does it compare with other sources in
your bibliography? This is the place where you need to specifically explain the way the
source actually addresses your research question/topic.
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Your college annotated bibliography may include some of these, all of these, or even
other elements. If you're doing this for a class, you should get specific guidelines from
your instructor.
Here are some samples of annotated bibliographies that cover all three of the
elements above. This should be typed in a 12 point font, Times New Roman
with regular margins.
Gallagher 1
Havanna Gallagher
Mr. Bodell
AP English IV, per. 6
13 February 2015
Annotated Bibliography #1
Rosenbaum, Ron. "He’s Not Holden! The One Big Mistake People Make About Catcher in the
Rye." 12 Sept. 2013. Web. 06 Feb. 2015.
Ron Rosenbaum’s article “He’s Not Holden!” tells his readers that J.D. Salinger is not the main
character in his novel, The Catcher in the Rye, and that Holden Caulfield is a satirist who hates phonies.
Rosenbaum makes the point that readers of Salinger should not look to far into the text and it’s author and
that the work should speak for itself not the author. He believes that characters are supposed to be
different from the author: maybe someone they wish to be. He thinks that making a novel too complicated
only diminishes the meaning. He begins to talk about Salinger’s characters and how they may not relate to
Salinger, but they do relate to the young women he has dated. According to Rosenbaum, reading
Salinger’s work from different perspectives is the only way to create a full understanding of who Salinger
The publisher Slate is a pretty good source and the article has its own works cited page, so that I
could make sure the information was credible. Rosenbaum is an author himself and is noted in many
sources like the Smithsonian and in magazines. The source is slightly biased because he is a fan of
AP Senior Project |7
Salinger’s work and believes that everyone should have the same understanding as him. He graduated
from Yale University and there he studied literature. He has the credentials for writing and although he’s
very opinionated, he makes some good points and he has facts to back them up.
This article is a good source for my research because it creates another perspective following the
ones from previous articles. There are those who criticize Salinger as a person and those who criticize him
as an author and that can be very useful. Rosenbaum has information on how Salinger doesn't resemble
his characters in his novel and stories. Other people in his life may resemble the characters, but there
shouldn't be a hidden meaning. Salinger’s thirst for youth in his everyday life becomes useful when
analyzing the questions from his novel. (more?!)
Katherine Wilcox
Mr. Bodell
AP English IV-4
6 February 2015
Annotated Bibliography #3
McInnus, Gilbert. "Evolutionary Mythology in the Writings of Kurt Vonnegut Jr." Samizdat.
Heldref Publications, 2005. Web. 05 Feb. 2015. 05 Feb. 2015.
This article analyzes the role that evolutionary mythology plays in different Vonnegut
books. It attributes that the “chance element” is the primary driving force that influences various
characters in different books. It claims that when there is the element of chance, there can be no
God and appoints natural selection as the “almighty power that governs humanity.” This article
claims that Vonnegut is trying to inform readers of the chance element and “gambling-casinoluck” that influences the environment and society. When analyzing this article I primarily
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focused on the commentary for Galapagos and Slaughter House 5 since these are books I have
read and I feel that I understand.
This source seems to be a credible source. The author McInnus has a PhD in English
Literature. He just recently published a monograph of the Evolutionary Mythology in the
Writings of Kurt Vonnegut. At the end of the website that has this article, McInnus provided a
long list of works that he consulted in his article.
Despite this and his PhD in English, I do not agree with the majority of the analysis that
he has in this article. I think that the examples he used to support his claim of evolutionary
influence are stretched. I feel this way because when I read novels by Vonnegut it is not themes
of evolution that pop out at me, but instead themes of human ignorance and destructiveness.
McInnus claims that the chance element in natural selection is the “almighty power” that controls
the fate of humanity. However, in the interview of Vonnegut that I listened to, Vonnegut claimed
that he did not completely believe in evolution creating such intelligent creatures. When
analyzing Slaughter House 5 McInnus claims that the Tralfamadorians teach Billy about life
without a “beginning, middle, or end,” resulting in Billy’s belief that “chance rules supreme”.
However, Vonnegut uses the Tralfamadorians as a way to satirize people who pass through life
as if “trapped in amber” and not working to live life or stand up against human corruption. I do
not agree with the majority of the analyses that McInnus makes, and will not use it to support my
book. I will instead use Galapagos to rebuttal claims that are made in this article that I do not
agree with and that Vonnegut probably does not agree with.
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Make it easier for yourself and include citations with the ideas you plan to use!
Student 1
Awesome Student
Mr. Bodell
AP English IV, per. __
29 February 2016
Working Title: Trying to Catch Himself
THESIS QUESTION: How does Salinger develop the universal theme that people often feel ruined and long
for innocence?
THESIS STATEMENT: J.D. Salinger employs an unusual protagonist and extensive symbolism throughout
his coming-of-age novel The Catcher in the Rye to expose the often concurrent human desires for innocence
and acceptance amidst universal human fears of failure, inadequacy, rejection, and death.
I. Unreliability of narrator and Caulfield’s fear of rejection. (Psychoanalytical Criticism)
A. The unreliability of Salinger’s narrator, Holden Caulfield, presents an interesting psychological
study for avoidance behavior and distrust, and these coping mechanisms serve to expose
Caulfield’s fear of rejection for being who he really is. (Topic Sentence)
The dangers of avoidance behavior (Howe)
How Caulfield manifests this.
B. Caulfield also manifests post-traumatic disorder in the way that he…
Post-traumatic stress disorder with loss of brother (Erlich).
This expresses Caulfield’s own desire for innocence and a return to some kind of purity
in his pining to return to the way things were
II. The pond with the ducks representing…
III. The unchanging museum
IV. The encounter with the prostitute
V. Holden imagining himself to be “the catcher in the rye”
VI. Conclusion
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Henry 1
Sample Works Cited
Adams, Joe. "How to Make Vegetarian Chili." eHow, n.d. Web. 24 Feb.
2009. (web page)
"The Blessing Way." The X-Files. Fox. WXIA, Atlanta. 19 Jul. 1998. Television.
Brubaker, Bill. "New Health Center Targets County's Uninsured Patients." Washington
Post 24 May 2007: LZ01. Print. (newspaper)
Buchman, Dana. "A Special Education." Good Housekeeping Mar. 2006: 143-8. Print. (magazine)
Foo Fighters. In Your Honor. RCA, 2005. CD. (music)
Gleick, James. Chaos: Making a New Science. New York: Penguin, 1987. Print. (book)
Goya, Francisco. The Family of Charles IV. 1800. Museo del Prado, Madrid. (art)
Harris, Muriel. "Talk to Me: Engaging Reluctant Writers." A Tutor's Guide: Helping
Writers One to One. Ed. Ben Rafoth. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2000. 24-34.
Print. (Works in an anthology or collection)
New American Standard Bible. Ed. Susan Jones. New York: Doubleday, 1985. Print. (bible)
Purdue, Pete. Personal interview. 1 Dec. 2000. (personal interview)
The Usual Suspects. Dir. Bryan Singer. Perf. Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Chazz
Palminteri, Stephen Baldwin, and Benecio del Toro. Polygram, 1995. Film.
(The bolded words at the end of each entry in parentheses are NOT part of the actual
works cited entry. These are just for your information.)
Note the Alpha-sorting! Need help with this stuff? is pretty good.
Your paper must have a Works Cited to be graded! It should be the last page of your paper
(page 6-9). Your paper must correctly cite the sources you use as well. If your paper is
plagiarized, you will receive a zero per Serrano’s 12th grade English policy.
A P S e n i o r P r o j e c t | 11
Senior Project Proposal Letter Example
Type in Times New Roman or Garamond, 12 point font with 1” margins
Your Name
P.O. Box 292222
Phelan, CA 92392-2222
(760) 555-1212
[Your address and phone number]
May 13, 2016
Mr. Matthew Bodell
Serrano High School
P.O. Box 296000
Phelan, CA 92329-6000
[Address to your own English teacher]
Dear Mr. Bodell:
In the first paragraph, introduce your thematic unit. Then, introduce the novel you have selected
to anchor your thematic unit upon. How does this novel fit this thematic unit idea?
In the second paragraph, introduce at least two pieces of poetry that you would use if you were
teaching this novel to high school students. Why would you include these poems? Explain the
connections to the theme or the time period or the relationship the poem might have to the novel.
How would these poems help to understand the novel? How would they help understand the
broader theme?
In the third paragraph, discuss at least two of the non-fiction pieces and/or short stories you
chose and explain their relevance or significance to the theme.
In the fourth paragraph, introduce the artistic pieces you would include in this thematic unit.
What pieces would you include? List them and discuss their relevance just like you did for the
second paragraph. These could include paintings, sculptures, musical pieces, and even film.
In the final paragraph, discuss the resources that you found to be the most helpful in organizing
your thematic unit. Argue for or against using this unit in an actual AP English class. Do you
think the novel and theme would fit well into the curriculum? Do you think students would be
receptive to it? Or do you think this novel is still better left to be an independent, self-guided
seminar novel for AP students to choose from during second semester?
[Four Spaces]
Your handwritten signature
Your name typed as written above.
A P S e n i o r P r o j e c t | 12
AP Portfolio Grading Rubric
Your Completed Portfolio is due on or before May 18th.
All items required for completion and this rubric must be included in the portfolio on the due date.
Standard late work policy is in effect: ½ off for 5 days, 0 credit after 6 days or more.
1. Final Draft of your essay with Works Cited Page
Rubric Score
MLA (Page format, citations, W.C. page)
Source Use (at least 3 credible sources used)
2. Rough Draft w/ rubric
3. Annotated Bibliographies
w/ annotated articles
Reading Journals
4. Reading Journals for novel (30 entries)
5. Vocab Log (30 words)
6. Proposal Letter for Thematic Unit
7. At least 2 Poems annotated
8. At least 2 annotated Short Story or N.F piece
w/ at least 5 RJ style entries
10. At least 2 Pieces of Art annotated
Portfolio organization
◊ A new binder with a creative cover and
◊ A creative title that accentuates your thematic unit
◊ Your name, the date, your instructor’s name, and the course name
◊ Section dividers for each of the numbered items on this rubric
◊ Everything is in the order of this rubric, and please don’t put a bunch of items in one plastic sheet which would
require me to pull them out to read them. Do not put your essay in plastic.
Overall Performance on this Senior Project
Mastery of objectives is clearly exhibited
Complexity and depth is clearly exhibited
Thorough understanding of topics is clearly exhibited
Effort expended is clearly evident - Challenge is obvious
Degree of critical thinking skills is clearly exhibited