ENG 340/AFRI 340:  MULTICULTURAL AMERICAN LITERATURE                                                     ESSAY#2 ASSIGNMENT 15% [150 Points]


Write a 4-5 page [1,400-1,600 word] typed analytical paper on Octavia Butler's Kindred.  Essay topics are listed below to help you get started on the project of your choice.  The paper will be typed, double-spaced, with one inch margins on all four sides of the page.  Use the standard Times New Roman or Cambria 12 font size.  Essays will be submitted by e-mail attachment and will be returned in the same manner.  See the instructions below for more detail on formatting and presenting your essay.







  • Present your double-spaced, typed paper using times New Roman or Cambria 12 font; use 1" margins on all four sides of the page.  Insert page numbers in the upper right hand corner beginning with page one. You will need to re-set your margins if using MS Word, for the Word default is 1.25" margins. You also need to use format paragraph to eliminate the extra space [10 pt.] that Word automatically puts after each paragraph.  Put your name, the course, my name, and the date of submission in the upper left hand corner of page one.  Do not use a title page; instead, simply center your title on page one a few spaces above your initial paragraph.  Of course, paper titles capitalize the first letter of each word [except for prepositions]; your title should NOT be underlined or put in bold type or quotation marks.
  • Introduce the story title, author, and year of publication in your opening sentence or two. In other words, include a sentence beginning "Octavia Butler's Kindred (1979)..." early in your essay and finish the sentence by writing a meaningful comment about the novel. Provide a brief plot overview keyed to the specific issues that you will discuss.  Your opening paragraph (or at the very least second paragraph) should end with a specific thesis statement that explains or identifies the purpose of the essay, what will be proved, and how it will be proved through identification of topics to be discussed.
  • Begin body paragraphs with topic statements, statements of opinions about story facts (interpretations), and NOT with the next item in the story sequence or with a wordy delay phrase like "Another way that the concept that I am discussing is shown in the way that the story was written is..." or "The reason...is because."
  • Italicize the titles of novels and place quotation marks around the titles of stories.
  • When you summarize plot, use present tense.
  • Introduce your quotations, establishing the speaker and context, and document properly using the MLA format: 

An early indication of the importance of the belly as an image of both illness and healing occurs just before Tayo plunges a broken bottle into Emo’s gut and Tayo realizes that “The space to carry hate was located deep inside, below his lungs and behind his belly; but it was empty” (63). 

Additional examples of MLA documentation can be found in any undergraduate guide to writing papers, like The Beacon Handbook.  Of course, the majority of your writing should be your own analysis and language, but you do need to support your argument by presenting and discussing key passages in the novel.  If the quote itself is a question, the end punctuation remains inside the quotation mark. Periods, however, are placed after the parentheses.

  • After presenting a quotation, be sure to discuss its significance or to explain how the quotation furthers your argument, unless the quote is simply illustrating a point made in the material immediately preceding the quote.
  • Indent and Block quotations that take up three or more lines of your text.  Never end a paragraph or an essay with a block quote, or any undiscussed quotation.
  • Avoid the following wordy delay structures:  In my opinion, I think, I feel, I believe, There is, There was, There are....Do not open sentences with wordy phrasings like "Another way that..." or "One of the reasons that" or any similar structures.  Make subjects act through verbs in the beginning of your sentences.  Instead of "There are many ways that Gillis affects the colony's chances for survival,"  write, "Gillis affects the colony's chances for survival by consuming 20% of their stored food during his 32 years alone on the Alabama."  Note that the second version of the sentence includes specific details of Gillis's actions, while the "There are" opening tends to lead into vague references to his actions--"many ways."  List or name the ways instead of writing general references.


Paper Length:  4-5 pages [1,400-1,600 words]

Paper Due Date: Sunday, November 1, @ 11:59 p.m.


Submission Procedures:  Submit your essay by e-mail attachment to jake.jakaitis@indstate.edu  Title your MS Word file with your last name as the first word of the file title; for example, I would title my file Jakaitis. Kindred Paper. docx. It is possible to negotiate a day or two extension, and you may, of course, always submit your essay in advance.