Rough Draft: 2-6 pages typed, double-spaced and due on Monday of Week 7.   Please do NOT submit your rough draft in the assignment drop box.  Instead, please post your rough draft in the “Peer Workshop for Essay Three” forum in the Week Seven Module by Monday of Week 7.

Final Draft: 4-6 pages typed, double-spaced and due on Monday of Week 8.  Please also include a Works Cited Page with this assignment (the works cited page does not count as part of the 4-6 page requirement).

Please keep in mind that essays submitted after the Monday of Week 8 due date will be marked down 10% for lateness, and no late assignments will be accepted after Thursday of Week 8. As this is the last assignment, the drop box is open only until Thursday of Week 8.


For your final research paper, you will synthesize your analysis of primary sources with support from secondary sources.  You’ve already done this with your synthesis analysis essay, but this time, you will be doing original research. You are required to use Octavia Butler’s Fledgling as one of your primary sources; the rest of the primary sources can be any science fiction novel, short story, movie, or TV show.

Your first step is to find an interesting underlying social message about values, behaviors, and/or relationships in Butler’s novel. For the previous essays, you were assigned a social message (what it means to be human and gender), but this time, you will need to identify one in the novel.  There are many options, but here are some suggestions: individual and community, heroism, identity, power, family, gender, or race (please do not feel you are limited to these).

Next, research additional primary sources that also have your chosen underlying social message. Please do not use any of the primary sources that you have already used for an essay for this class–that means that you cannot use The Left Hand of Darkness. You are welcome to use any of the stories in the Wesleyan Anthology as long as you have not previously used it for an essay. You can also choose from any science fiction movies and/or TV shows if you’d like. The number of additional primary sources is up to you, but I’d say that 2-4 total primary sources is a manageable amount.

Then, research 3-5 secondary sources (at least one academic) that will help support your analysis of the underlying social message. For example, if your underlying social message is about community, then you might research psychology papers on the positive effects of community. Please note that you cannot use any of the readings that I have assigned for this class as secondary sources—your sources must come from your own research.

Finally, write an essay that synthesizes your primary and secondary sources in order to support your analysis of underlying social messages of behaviors, values, and/or relationships in Butler’s novel and your other chosen science fiction primary sources.


For your 3-5 secondary sources, at least three (not one) of them must be academic, and all your secondary sources must be in the discipline of psychology or neuroscience, so please make sure that you choose an analysis of an underlying social message that you can support with secondary sources in the discipline of psychology or neuroscience.


Thesis: Your thesis should make an arguable and original claim about the pattern of underlying messages about social values, behaviors, and/or relationships implicit in the primary sources.

Body Paragraphs: Your body paragraphs should support your thesis and should include topic sentences, which clearly assert a point related to your thesis, illustration from the primary sources and secondary sources that support your point, and explanation of how your illustration supports your point.  Again, an easy way to remember these actions is through the acronym, PIE. Keep in mind that although every point will need at least one quote (or example if it’s a movie or TV show) from the primary sources as illustration, not every point will require a quote or paraphrase from the secondary source as illustration.  Use the secondary sources where you feel they best support your analysis.  You can also include secondary source support in your introduction and/or conclusion in addition to whichever body paragraphs you feel need secondary source support.

Conclusion: Your conclusion should sum up the points in your paper, re-state your thesis if necessary, and then draw a conclusion from those points.

In-text Citations: Please review this handout on citing quotations from literature. Conventions for Writing about Literature.doc  Please also review this handout for citing quotations and paraphrases of academic articles. Integrating Quotes for Nonfiction.doc    Keep in mind that both quotations and paraphrasing of the secondary sources will require parenthetical in-text citation of the page numbers. Please also use thes ereference guides for any in-text citation questions that aren’t addressed by the handouts (Both references are also located in the Course Resources Module):

Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing: (Links to an external site.)

MLA In-Text Citation:

Works Cited Page: Don’t forget to include a Works Cited Page; failure to include a Works Cited Page will result in the loss of all your “Conventions” criteria points!  A Sample Works Cited Page is located in the Course Resource Module. However, the works cited page for this assignment is more complicated, so please use this MLA Citation Guide (also located in Course Resources Module):

Avoiding Plagiarism: You may want to review the handout on Deciding What to Cite (in the Course Resource Module  as well as the resource on Avoiding Plagiarism (also in the Course Resource Module).

Final Hints: An outline is not required but is strongly recommended.