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term paper writing manuals

Set Specific Goals

Writing a research paper is a lot easier on you, the student, when you set yourself certain goals. All of this takes place before you start the research and the writing. The saying goes that if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail. So rather than rushing in to begin writing your research paper, stop, take stock of the situation and list your goals. Here are a few possible specific goals.

  • set up a timetable
  • create an ideal topic
  • create an ideal thesis statement
  • become an expert note taker
  • create an outstanding plan
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Easy Topics for English Literature Research Paper


Just because you’re reading a work that was written by an English author. There are many great books being written by English authors now that are quite a good read and would be easy to read as well. Or perhaps your topic is on an American author in a basic English literature American survey course. This means you will at least feel an understanding based upon the author’s historical context and setting.

Literary works are separated from popular fiction usually because one, they are extremely well written, and two, they address large themes in which the character is changed in a deep way by their experiences—or the novel addresses matters of race or culturally important issues in our time today that should be read to enlarge the public mind.

Either way, many good works of English literature share common conventions because the greatest authors have used them and they work—like some of the conventions in the questions I’ve given you for writing prompts below. By conventions, I mean, ways the novel operates as a written work to set the characters and themes into motion—a character travelling overseas, for example, is a common technique in many works of literature because it allows the author to investigate his or her protagonist’s ability to adapt to new people, cultures, settings—and is often a great test of their character!

  1. Often, works of literature investigate how siblings function in a novel. They do this in order to address matters of familial love, sibling rivalry, the sins of the father, or how family infects or affects one’s one personal development. Write an essay on how the sibling relationship helps the author to evoke his/her themes in the novel (a good book for this one would be East of Eden, by John Steinbeck.
  2. Often in works of literature, the protagonist or another important character must make a great sacrifice in order to survive or better themselves in some way. Examine the importance of sacrifice in a work of fiction.
  3. A bildungsroman or a coming of age novel follows the development of a character who is maturing during the novel and finally realizes his or her place in the world. Select a moment that defines when a character in a coming of age novel and has their major epiphany—that moment they realize what they need to in order to overcome, transcend, or work out problems they are being tested by.
  4. It has been said that “You can leave home, but home never leaves you.” Examine how the idea of home affects the main character in the work positively or negatively.
  5. Often in a novel or play, the idea of betrayal becomes important. Family or friends somehow betray the protagonist, or the protagonist feels betrayed by their own hone country because of the horrors of war. Write an essay in which you investigate the theme of betrayal a major novel.
  6. Often, one convention an author uses is a character or protagonist has a morally ambiguous character. This type of character forces us to take a stand morally about the character’s choices and figure out how we would have responded the same or differently.

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