Writing in Your Major

Tips From Tutors




Sample paper for an introductory English class

“The Aeneid: A History that Hangs in the Balance of Time” is a paper I wrote for Professor R. Thomas Simone’s English 027, a course offered in the Integrated Humanities Program (IHP) at UVM. English 027 is a fall course in which students read texts such as The Odyssey, The Aeneid, The Oresteia, and Inferno. This paper is an English paper on The Aeneid, and the prompt for it was to simply describe how one can understand The Aeneid as an historical epic.

This is a very traditional English paper in that it is thesis-based and has a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. Moreover, it discusses a text from Antiquity, so it deals with classic themes such as history, time, Greco-Roman culture, and the genre of the epic.

Note: Significant portions of the essay have been omitted in an effort to prevent plagiarism. Moreover, many of the in-text parenthetical citations read as “XXX” for the same reason.

Sample Paper for an 100 level class

Sample Assignment: This is an example of such an assignment from a 100-level English course. [Thanks to Professor Lindstrom for lending the use of his assignment.]

Sample Essay: This is a sample essay submitted for the assignment above.

Sample Paper for an upper level class on the works of James Joyce

“Beneficiary, thy Name is Woman” is a paper I wrote for Thomas Simone’s class on the works of James Joyce. In this assignment, we were to analyze (in 8-10 pages) Joyce’s Ulysses in a way that incorporated critical texts and outside sources, as well as themes we covered in class discussions. I chose to write about Ulysses as a debatably feminist text, and how that is affected by the significant influence of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

This paper includes many typical elements of a longer assignment on English literature, as it works closely with the text of two books and involves the use of credible scholarly work. In my annotations to this sample paper, I paid special attention to how to effectively make use of primary texts (in this case, Hamlet and Ulysses) and secondary texts (the existing scholarly work that studies the primary texts) in a paper.

Note: To prevent plagiarism, significant parts of this essay have been deleted. The removal of my own work was marked with ellipses, and quotations from the referenced texts were replaced with “XXX.”

Sample Paper using the theoretical lens of intersectionality to explore code switching in Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

This is a research paper I wrote for my ENGS 281 course on the “Global Anglophone Novel.” The assignment asked me to explore a class text more closely by either researching its relevant socio-historical contexts, developing a close reading using a theoretical paradigm, or making a comparative argument.

I chose to write about Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. I was fascinated by the narrator’s seamless exchanges between English and Spanish. This technique is called code switching. When I began researching the implications of code switching, I realized how language is an important (although less obvious) aspect of identity. From there, I decided to use an intersectional lens to discuss not only the historical context of the novel, but also how this history impacts identity and language use.

Note: Parts of this essay have been deleted or shortened to avoid plagiarism. Ellipses and “XXX” indicate removed ideas and quotes respectively. –Olivia Langley

Click here to read this sample paper.