Skip to Main Content

AP English IV - Senior Thesis: Assignment

Senior Thesis 2015


  • MLA (Modern Language Association) format (1” margins, even double spacing, 12 pt. font, no bold or underline, no cover page, parenthetical citations, Works Cited page)
  • 6-8 pages of text + Works Cited page
  • At least five sources: two literary works (one novel, one companion text) at least two critical essays referencing the novel, and at least one critique referencing the companion text)
  • Relevant historical and cultural contextual information for each work
  • 12 quotes minimum, half of which should be paraphrased
  • Literary present tense


  • Strong focus on your chosen novel, analyzing a particular theme, motif, or some other larger context, considering the influence of the companion text and the critiques and historical/cultural information on your ideas. Use your notes from in-class activities to manage the reading and writing tasks.
  • Your argument’s support (quotes and paraphrases) should not outweigh your ideas

Building the Paper

Initial response (sacrifice or surroundings essay) – you may or may not find that useful in your drafting. It may be a whole new set of ideas about which you hadn’t thought, however.

Draft #1 – Due September 8 A/9 B

  1. What does your novel make you want to write about? Informally unpack those ideas citing scenes from the novel (use page numbers and actually write out what you’re thinking). This will evolve over time. 3-4 pages typed and double spaced (GoogleDocs). Bring in hard copies (at least two) for partner work.
    1. Big ideas?
    2. Compelling literary elements (characterization, figurative language, description?)
  2. Find a companion text (poem, play, short story) that correlates thematically (or otherwise) using, Perrine, or There is a thematic list of many stories on and plays at Write an informal 1 ½ - 2 page typed double spaced commentary on how your companion piece initially relates to/illuminates the meanings of your novel. These are first impressions, so you may want to choose more than one piece.

Draft #2 – Due October 5 B/6 A

  1. Using Draft #1, your critiques and notes, and your chosen companion piece, write a full draft of your essay, expanding and revising your ideas. Choose a critical lens through which to view your work. If you need to find a more suitable companion piece or critiques, it will become evident here. Proper MLA format, 5-8 pages typed, with an outline of your logically organized argument (GoogleDocs). Bring in hard copies (at least two) for partner work.


Conferencing and revision occur after the first Draft and continue throughout the process. If you draft in GoogleDocs, you will never be without your paper.

Specifics will be taught in class. Research will occur during the week of September 21st, in the library, though you will have access to the notebook cart at many stages of the process.

A major revision will occur after both Draft #1 and #2. Revisions have two purposes:

  1. content.
  2. logic, coherence, completeness.


Draft #3 – Due October 26 B/27 A.

The final paper. When submitted, the clean, carefully edited 6-8 page paper with Works Cited page should be printed, properly formatted, and all critiques and supplemental information should be printed with note pages attached to each separate critique. These materials should be submitted to me in a folder. The paper will also be submitted to that day by 11:59 p.m.