How has the conversation changed over time?

The Seminar Paper


The paper serves several purposes. First, it allows you to write about something closer to your heart,

something that engages you more personally. Employing a particularly critical or theoretical lens, you will explore some aspect of the suburbs to investigate a topic that interests you in one or two of our primary texts.

Secondly, the seminar paper asks you to immerse yourself in the scholarly dialogue surrounding the class’s

themes by way of your own original research and writing. In order to participate in the dialogue, though, you

first have to find it, so the seminar paper will also help you hone your research skills. In the course of completing this project, you will learn to evaluate secondary sources and incorporate them effectively without letting them overshadow your own relevant arguments. What’s more, you’ll discover how research can be used not just to support your ideas but actually to spark them, how to subordinate secondary sources to your own voice, and how to stake a place for yourself in the larger conversation about a text.

Writing Task:

Write a thesis-driven research paper (utilizing 2 or more outside academic sources) that expands upon

the themes of our class.


1. You’ll want to define a topic that is narrow enough to be explored with depth and complexity in an

2. In order to accomplish this level of focus, you’ll need to select one (or possibly two) specific primary text(s) from class that exemplifies the argument you wish to make. You are required to use at least one text from our course. In some cases (i.e., if it serves your argument), you may also add one additional text from outside our course. (If you choose to do this, you will need to work closely with me to be sure that I am familiar with your text and can see its relevance to your argument.)

3. After defining your topic and text, develop a research question for yourself. This question should guide you and keep you focused as you gather information.

4. Find out what other scholars have been writing about this text and decide which aspects of these conversations you wish to enter. Ask yourself: “How have others addressed this topic? What kinds of questions have most often been asked? How has the conversation changed over time? Do I agree with these scholars? Which ones and why? Or have they missed something important? What can I contribute to this conversation?”

5. Develop an original and compelling argument based on your discoveries as you ask yourself these research questions. Use a combination of your own research and theoretical and critical texts (those from the class and those you’ve discovered) to support your argument (the exact mix is up to you).

My writing objects are cars and trains(in the suburbs), primary text is Revolutionary Road(movie), American Beauty(movie) and “Country Husband by John Cheever. The research question is: In these texts, why are cars or trains important?

Professor requires me to write according to the following outline

The first paragraph:

Intro primary texts: Revolutionary Road(movie), American Beauty(movie), and “Country Husband by John Cheever”
Intro critical lens
Thesis statement
The second paragraph

Discuss the importance of cars and trains in the suburb of America after the Second World War
The third paragraph

Discuss cars and trains in Revolutionary Road
Why the car is important in this movie
What it represents.
The 4th paragraph

analyze what car means of Francis in American Beauty(Describe a scene first)
Why the car is important What it represents
The 5th paragraph

analyze what car means of Carolyn in American Beauty(Describe a scene first)
Why the car is important What it represents
Why the car is important in this movie
The 6th paragraph

analyze what car means of Francis (Francis with a babysitter, his Imagine) in Country Husband(Describe a scene first)
Why the car is important in this article
What it represents.
Finally, Conclusion

(The third to sixth paragraphs need not be written exactly as the teacher said, but the content should be consistent with his requirements.)

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How has the conversation changed over time


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