Student Examples in MLA Version 8
Tolkien, J.R. R. “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics.” The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays. Ed. Christopher Tolkien. London: George Allen and Unwin. 1983. 24-59. Print.
In this essay, Tolkien criticizes scholars for treating Beowulf solely as an artifact that provides historic evidence about the Anglo-Saxon period, rather than reading it as a great work of literature. Although he agrees that it has historical value, he argues that Beowulf's literary qualities are more important. He complains that even those few scholars who do read Beowulf as a poem are wrong when they criticize it for being unstructured and for emphasizing mythic elements like dragons. Tolkien proves that the poem is thematically and structurally unified and that, in reading it, “we are in the presence of a mind lofty and thoughtful.” Tolkien wrote this essay for an audience of literary scholars of his own day. Thus, it can be difficult for modern readers who may not be familiar with the critical tradition. In addition, Tolkien's diction is formal and at times quite dense. Nevertheless, the essay is a masterful defense of one of England's most beloved works. Tolkien persuasively convinces the reader to take myths and folk-tales seriously, showing that these potent expressions of man's imagination are full of rich meaning. Indeed, his analysis of Beowulf sheds a great deal of light on Tolkien's own imagination, which is expressed most fully in his tales about Middle-earth.
Example From: Miller, Don, and Fran Hooker. "Annotated Bibliographies - Webster University Library." Annotated Bibliographies. Webster University Library, 2006. Web. 22 Oct. 2015.
Kate Chopin’s Unconventional Perspective on Marriage
The topic I have decided to explore is marriage in three of Kate Chopin’s short stories: The Storm, Desiree’s Baby and In Sabine. My working thesis is focused on the issues in marriage and the different outcomes because of submission, suppression and marital rebellion. As I explored various authors that we have studied in this class, the decision to choose Chopin was quite an uncomplicated one. At the time of Chopin’s coming of age as a writer, women of the late nineteenth century had no individual identity and their sole purpose in life was limited to a domestic role. Chopin chose to write against the oppression of women in a very controversial nature, focusing on themes such as social conflict, complexities of relationships between sexes, racial relationships, class structure and social codes. In my readings I found that her personal life was just as ambitious and provocative as her writing career, and is probably the reason for her exciting likeness of adultery and sexuality in her stories. Thus far, I have obtained endless peer-reviewed critiques and articles on ‘The Storm’ and ‘Desiree’s Baby” which have been helpful. The story ‘In Sabine’, has far less and almost no reliable literary critiques, however I plan on using the Elements of Fiction of help identify the necessary elements for the purpose of my thesis.
Gibert, Teresa. "Textual, Contextual and Critical Surprises in "Desiree's Baby"" Connotations 14.1-3 (2004): 38. Literature Resource Center. Web. 17 Oct. 2015.
In this literary article Gibert brings awareness to the effects of racism on an unfulfilled marriage. Gilbert has written critiques of several of Chopin's stories and has a great understanding of her writing style. This article summarizes and reflects on key themes such as marriage, racism and the significance of human identity. Gibert speaks to the elements of surprise which enhances the story through rhetorical strategies such as suspense, appearance vs. reality, fairytale vs. realist and a surprise ending or epiphany. These strategies were helpful in allowing me identify the underlying issue of marriage in this story. I will use the article to discuss how racism plays a role in a marriage.
"Kate Chopin." Feminist Writers. Ed. Pamela Kester-Shelton. Detroit: St. James, 1996. N. pag. Literature Resource Center. Web. 17 Oct. 2015.
This publication offers a brief yet detailed description of Chopin's early life before writing. Unlike many other biographies, it also includes information about the affair she had with a married man after her husband's death. I will use this data as evidential information to support my thesis. I will also use this information to conclude Chopin's personal reasons for portraying marriage, adultery, sex and human identity the way that she does. These themes were all issues that played extensive roles in the author’s life experience. Being widowed at very young age with five children to care for, presumably left her with very few happy and rewarding tales of marriage, leaving her to only speak about marriage in a grim manner that lacked meaning.
"Overview: "The Storm"" Short Stories for Students. Ed. Ira Mark Milne. Vol. 26. Detroit: Gale, 2008. N. pag. Literature Resource Center. Web. 17 Oct. 2015.
Milne's detailed overview of Chopin's 'The Storm' offers essential analysis of the story as it pertains to marriage and sexuality. This resource will also assist in supporting one of my points of discontentment in marriage that we see in the three stories being compared. I will use this overview to highlight rebellion in a marriage and the role of adultery, and how Chopin, ‘portrays it as a healthy affirmation of what it mean to be human.’ It is important to note that the story does contain explicit description of what occurs on bed , and in a Victorian era, this was unacceptable to readers of that time. Chopin wrote this story in 1898 and made no attempt to publish it, probably because she knew it was have disapproving consequences.