A proposal for Paper 2 will be due at the time that we meet for our paper conference. There will also be
a peer review of a draft of Paper 2 during class time. Please submit your draft
on Blackboard am AND bring a paper copy to class for participation in a peer writing workshop.
Presentation of an outline / draft to me during our conference AND participation in the peer review
workshop accounts for 10% of the final grade for this paper.
Assignment description: Your second paper is a traditional research paper about our first novel, The
Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. This assignment involves working with a text and its criticism, using the
latter to help enhance your textual / conceptual argument in a relevant and clear manner. In other
words, you will use at least two critical articles about Morrison’s novel in order to enhance a conceptual
examination of and argument about the text.
From the given topics below (or one of your own choosing), you will find articles that pertain to the
concept you wish to focus on and that you will cite, paraphrase, and inject into the paper itself. You
must use at least two relevant citations from each of your articles. You must also cite from the novel
itself. Think of these secondary sources as tools to help you build upon and strengthen your own
argumentative thesis, which will guide your interaction with the text.
Format: Your paper should be 5 to 6 pages long (if it is 5 pages, it should be a full 5 pages, please),
double-spaced, with one-inch margins and typed in a traditional font and size (12-point Times New
Roman / Arial, 11-point Calibri, etc. Just don’t get funky with fonts and formatting, please). Your paper
should also include an MLA Works Cited page and should be written in MLA format. For help, please
refer to the MLA cheat sheet provided at the beginning of the semester, or have a look at this site:
1. The form of the novel is an interesting point of analysis. Compared to many other novels, The
Bluest Eye is structurally unique, drawing from modernism and a bit of postmodernism. Even
more interestingly, Morrison has said that this novel was a structural failure—a novel in which
she was learning how to write. Research the form of the novel and present an argument about
this topic, considering, perhaps, whether the novel is a formal failure or success.
2. Some of The Bluest Eye’s most uncomfortable moments depict sex in various forms—sexual
assault, sexual humiliation, sexual awakening, jealousy, etc. At the same time, the novel also
depicts the pleasures of sex, and it presents sex as a work opportunity for some women.
Examine the role of (and treatment of) sex in the novel to produce an argument.
3. This novel famously uses the Dick and Jane primers to comment on white standards of American
life, including beauty standards, gender roles, and familial life. How does Morrison’s novel
interact with what she calls the Master Narrative? What perspectives does Morrison employ to
challenge this type of narrative?
4. Consider how the novel presents the intersections of race, class, and gender. How does the
novel portray women? In what ways does the novel comment on the social hierarchy among
Black people of different classes and genders?
ENGL 273G: Spring 2019 2
5. Develop your own research topic. If you choose to develop your own prompt, you must propose
it to me and obtain my confirmation before you begin working on your paper.

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