As described in the Outline instructions, there are three different types of essays that you may choose from for your Final Essay:

  • Essay One: Genre Dichotomy Essay
  • Essay Two: Performance Comparison Essay
  • Essay Three: Approach Analysis Essay

These three choices involve the following approaches:

  1. Essay One: Genre Dichotomy Essay
    Similar to the three Thematic Interpretation Essays, offer a meaningful dichotomy of your own that you explore using at least five works, one from each of the literary genres we’ve studied in the course.
  2. Essay Two: Performance Comparison Essay
    A synthesis essay where you compare, contrast, and combine insights into how performances of five or more of the works reflect or detract from their theme(s). The performances (films, TV, music videos, etc.) must be available online (e.g., YouTube or other streaming services; provide links). The essay should include considerations of BOTH the texts and the performances, as well as considering how well the different performances compare in terms of showcasing their specific themes of each work. The five (or more) works may be selected from any unit/genre.
  3. Essay Three: Approach Analysis Essay
    A compare and contrast paper examining 12 thematic interpretations of one work from the course readings, analyzing the text (especially its themes, ideas, or meaning) from each of the 11 types of Approaches to Interpretation presented in the course.


You should have already written and submitted an outline for your final essay. Based on that, fill out, proofread, and polish your Final Essay and submit it here. 

Detailed Requirements:

  • 8-12 FULL pages (not including Works Cited Page)
  • Adherence to MLA formatting guidelines (12-point Times New Roman font, double spacing, 1″ margins, etc.)
  • MLA Works Cited page, if citing outside sources
  • PDF submission or Word file (.doc or .docx)
  • Find, cite, and effectively use FOUR or more expert sources to support your approach or specific points in your essay. Include a Works Cited page, using proper MLA formatting and citations throughout.


Grading Criteria:


  • Does the introduction paragraph(s) include a summary of the issue and provide an objective overview of the debatable topic?
  • Does the summary explain the significance and importance of the topic?
  • Does it provide enough context for secondary audiences (who are likely less familiar with the conversation) to have a solid understanding of the issue?
  • Does the first sentence invite the reader in effectively?
  • Is there an underlined thesis statement that, in 1-5 sentences, mentions the author’s claim, references their call for action (which should at some other point be expounded upon in more detail), and accurately alludes to the main discussion points of the body paragraphs?
  • What does the introduction section do especially well? What revisions would most improve the introduction section?

Body Paragraphs:

  • Does each paragraph have a clear topic sentence (that is direct but also not repetitive in language with other topic sentences)?
  • Does each supporting reason include the integration of sources?
  • Are the sources set up effectively?
  • Are the sources discussed enough afterward (usually at least 1-2 times as much as the quote itself)?
  • Are the sources scholarly — peer-reviewed research published in academic journals?
  • Does the author avoid “ranting” and fallacies?
  • What do these sections of the paper do especially well?
  • What revisions would most improve these sections of the paper?
  • Are two or more expert sources used to explain and prove your points?


  • Does the conclusion section (not necessarily just a single paragraph) restate the claim and main points in a fresh and different way than previously stated?
  • Does the conclusion illuminate further research or unanswered questions?
  • Thinking about the larger conversation and the bigger picture, does the conclusion explain the subsequent discussion(s) if, for example, the paper were to be tripled in size?
  • Does the conclusion wrap the discussion up neatly?
  • Does the Works Cited page use MLA formatting properly?
  • What does this section of the paper do especially well?
  • What revisions would most improve this section of the paper?

Please note that I will also use these questions as a guide when grading this paper, so be sure to compose your writing with these criteria in mind.

Introduction to Literature Course Readings