Select an American Author – a writer of some literary (not just popular) acclaim whose work you think you would value. This will be your JUNIOR research project so choose carefully.
Your outcome will take the form of a bound magazine of at least 10 pages, including everything. You will also be scheduled to provide a power-point presentation to the class about the essence of your author. If you chose an author of fiction, your goal is o present a complete picture of the following:
The author’s life and time Works: read at least three substantial works (full-length novels, poetry, or short story collections, full-length plays)
Influence upon the literary world To gain this understanding, you should read as much as possible by and about this author, including biographical material and literary criticism. (Volumes of criticism and biography in the library should prove valuable.) We will meet with Mrs. Earnshaw to review our resources.
Your magazine should include the following. Beyond what is required, you should seek to include additional uniquely interesting material.
Cover: magazine, title, date, your name, and graphics, visuals, or other.
Letter from the editor: anything you want to say about the evolution of the project. I have linked you to a good resource to understand what goes into writing this letter. Note: Letter Preparation Guide #2-7.
Table of Contents
Life of the author: This can be a chronology, photos, or other visuals, an interview, or straight biographical material. Whatever you do with the material, find a way to make it your own. IF you download an interview or find one in a magazine or journal, don’t just reprint it, even with a citation. Work with the material to express it in your own way (paraphrase). Remember to give credit though to any works you use in your works cited page.
Times: Include something about the time in which this author lived and worked, particularly any events or conditions that influenced his or her writing.
Works: Write at least a page reviewing each of the three works you read. Give a good idea of what each work is about; include evaluative material such as literary criticism, your own evaluation, or the author discussing the work. It’s a good idea to include an excerpt as well. Read the Book Review section of the Sunday New York Times to get an idea of how extensive and interesting a gook review can be. Include brief information about you did not read but just don’t download plot summaries. By the way, when you cite, use correct MLA parenthetical citation form you have been taught. This is a research project and must, therefore, have ample cited information.
Influence or significance: Write your own concluding article in which you offer an overall assessment, including why and by whom this author’s writing should be read. You may, of course, use literary criticism and quotations – but the concluding piece should reflect your won opinion as well.
Works Cited: Use the correct MLA citation form you will be taught. Include a complete bibliography as well at the very end (prior to the Works Cited page) of the magazine. The bibliography is a list of all the works you consult WHETHER OR NOT YOU ACTUALLY CITE FROM THEM OR USE THEM! The Works Cited page should include the works you actually read by the author.
Consider other relevant material to include: a photo collage; comments of contemporaries; an article about a literary movement embraced by this author such as the Harlem Renaissance; an article about the interest of your author or medical condition affecting him or her; a map or other relevant geographical information; diary excerpts, etc. USE YOUR IMAGINATION!
Exceptional graphics and layout are great elements and surely add to the appeal of the project, but please remember that these features do not substitute for thorough research and high quality, original writing. A student who lacks advanced computer skills and knowledge of publishing programs should not feel disadvantaged by the requirements of this project.
This assignment is weighted as TWO Summative Assessments for the quarter. See the attached rubric.
GUIDE Questions for Portrait of American Authors
Where is the author from?
What was his or her social-economic status as a child – rich, poor, educated, etc?
What challenges did this person face while growing up?
What privileges did this person enjoy while growing up?
When did he or she begin writing?
Why did he or she begin writing?
What novels did this person write that involved the American Dream? Describe them: which characters worked toward the American dream, why, and how?
What was happening in the United States and in the world at the time the author wrote about the American Dream?
Why do you think the author used the American dream idea in his or her writing?
How did using the idea of the American dream help create interesting or uninteresting characters?
Would you say that this author felt satisfied that he or she had personally achieved the American dream?