American Literature Research Paper

Paper Overview:
This research paper assignment tasks you with exploring the life and literary impact of one of

the authors we have studied in this course. Through researching and identifying credible

sources, your essay should comprehensively cover the author’s background, their influence on

American literature as a whole, and why their work personally intrigued you.

Be sure to:
• Write about the author’s life.

• Tell why this author/work in particular interested you.

• Summarize the work of literature we read for class. Why was it in particular an

important piece in the American Literary Canon?

• How did this author impact American Literature overall?

• Explain if this author’s work is part of a larger literary movement.

Specific Requirements:
• Formatted in APA

• Length: three pages, total (not including your cover or reference page)

• Include SHORT quotes from the work of literature to illustrate your points.

• Use at least three credible outside sources—be sure to site your source in proper APA

format (both in-text citations and a reference page).

Tips for Success:
• Review the rubric carefully before, during, and at the completion of your writing process

• Make sure all your sources are credible and properly cited so that I can easily find and

review them

• Read through the example essays to ensure your essay is comparable in format and

essay structure

• Proofread, peer review, and edit your paper well before submitting

• DO NOT USE AI!!! Using AI-generated language for this assignment is NOT allowed and

counts as plagiarism. As your instructor, I can easily spot the unnatural patterns and

inconsistencies typical of AI-generated text. If you submit work that is not your own, you

risk severe consequences, such as receiving a zero on the essay and possibly failing the

course altogether. Do not make this mistake.

American Literature Research Paper Rubric
Criteria Excellent (25) Good (20) Fair (15) Poor (10) Score



and Impact

Thoroughly covers the author’s

background and their impact on

American literature, supported by

strong evidence and analysis.

Provides adequate

coverage of the author’s

background and impact,

though some details or

analysis may be lacking.

Limited coverage of the

author’s background and

impact, with important

details missing or


Superficial coverage of

the author’s background

and impact, lacks

important details and


Interest and



Clearly articulates personal

interest in the author/work with

insightful reflections, supported by

examples from the author’s work.

Demonstrates genuine

interest and some

reflection on the

author/work, though

depth could be deeper.

Interest in the

author/work is

mentioned, but lacks

depth or personal


Little to no personal

reflection or connection

with the author/work.

Summary of

Literature and


Provides a concise and accurate

summary of the selected work,

highlighting its significance in

American literature.

Summarizes the work

adequately, but lacks

depth or clarity in its


Summary is present but

incomplete or inaccurate

regarding its significance.

Summary is missing or

incorrect, with no clear

understanding of its


Integration of

Sources and



Integrates at least three credible

sources effectively, demonstrating

sophisticated understanding and

proper APA citation in-text and in

the reference page.

Uses three sources

appropriately, but

integration or citation

may have minor issues.

Uses fewer than three

sources or sources are not

effectively integrated or


Sources are not used or

improperly cited;

integration is lacking.



Grammar, and


Essay is well-structured with clear

organization, smooth transitions,

and coherent paragraphs.

Grammar, spelling, and

punctuation are virtually error-

free. Follows APA format

accurately for cover page,

citations, and reference page.

Essay is mostly well-

structured with clear

organization and

coherent paragraphs.

May have minor issues

with transitions or APA


Essay structure is

somewhat unclear or

lacks coherence in

organization. Contains

noticeable errors in

grammar, spelling,

punctuation, or APA


Essay is unclear,

disorganized, or contains

frequent errors in

grammar, spelling,

punctuation, or APA

format, detracting from

overall quality.