English 102: Composition and Rhetoric
Short Research Paper: Resources and Assignments

Dr. Tina L. Hanlon

English 102 Main Page

Guidelines for Comparison Essay

Second Summary Assignment:

Due: Friday, Feb. 23

Summarize (in at least two double-spaced pages) one essay or article that you plan to use as a secondary source in your short research paper. (See suggestions below.)  This secondary source may be from our textbook, from the nonfiction reserve materials listed below, or from a book or periodical you find through reliable library resources. Be sure the article or book excerpt you summarize is long enough that it makes sense for you to write a summary of it that is about 500 words long. If you use an article or essay that is not in our course materials or on the Internet, be sure to turn in a copy with your summary. Use the guidelines in Behrens and Rosen, chapter 1, for writing summaries, and be sure to build on the skills you were developing in your first summary for this class.

Short Research Paper Assignment:

Your Thesis and List of Works Cited must be approved before the paper is submitted.

Due Date for Paper: Monday, Mar. 19

Length:  3-4 typed, double-spaced pages of discussion, plus the Works Cited list.


Develop a topic for a synthesis paper on fairy tales or folktales or related films or plays or other media, based on ideas you have encountered in your reading of chapter 12 of the reader (Behrens and Rosen).  You might make use of any of the topic suggestions on pp. 618-23 (such as activity 4 on p. 620), but be sure you focus your topic so that you can support your thesis adequately in three to four pages, while using three to five primary and secondary sources. Any method of development, including comparison, may be used to support the thesis through the body of the essay. If you are not interested in writing another paper based on "Cinderella" or on other folktales, select a topic that will allow you to analyze some other type of literature or media, as some of the suggestions below indicate. It's up to you to develop a precise focus and thesis.

Other Topic Suggestions:

• Discuss the way that a contemporary story or film uses the patterns of the Cinderella tale (or some other classic story).  For example, J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter, Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, and the heroine in The Princess Diaries have been compared to Cinderella. The well-known nineteenth-century short story “The Necklace” by Maupassant has a Cinderella theme with a realistic ending.

• Analyze the ways in which another type of story or book uses folktale motifs.  For example, the novel and film Like Water for Chocolate uses magic and folk tale motifs, and the 1981 nonfiction book The Cinderella Complex compares modern women to Cinderella (see activity 6 on p. 621).

• Compare a tale in which the male is the traditional strong hero who “saves the day” (such as a Jack tale), with a tale that contains a woman as a strong, resourceful hero. For this topic and the one below, secondary sources may come from the reader and/or from Don’t Bet on the Prince. Click here to find other tales featuring strong women.

• Compare the roles of women in a traditional tale in which the heroine has a relatively passive role (such as “Cinderella”), and a tale in which a woman is a strong, resourceful hero.

• Compare illustrated versions or film versions of the same folk tale or fairy tale or other classic story.

• Compare an Appalachian folktale with a tale from another culture that has similar motifs. For example, “Ashpet” is a Cinderella variant; two of the other tales in Grandfather Tales, “Mutsmag” and “Whitebear Whittington,” are very similar to two European tales: “Molly Whuppie” and “East of the Sun, West of the Moon.” Dr. Hanlon has many resources on this topic.

• Analyze how a modern writer or film has used motifs from old tales but has incorporated a modern perspective on the folk tale theme. Anne Sexton’s poems from Transformations, stories by Tanith Lee and Jane Yolen, and the tales in Don’t Bet on the Prince are examples of the many folk and fairy tales written by modern writers. There are many recent humorous books and films (such as The Stinky Cheese Man, Shrek, and Politically Correct Bedtime Stories) that satirize traditional tales.

• Analyze Disney’s treatment of “Cinderella” or some other folk tale. Many authors and reviewers, including Jane Yolen, have written favorable and unfavorable criticism of the versions of folk tales that appear in Disney movies.

Analyze examples of satire of traditional tales. Films such as Shrek and books such as Politically Correct Bedtime Stories and The Stinky Cheese Man contain great examples of contemporary satires of traditional stories.

Analyze examples from another medium as they reflect values found in classic tales, or depart from the values of classic fairy tales or other important literature. See Catherine Ornstein's essay on p. 545 for discussion of reality TV and fairy tales as an example.

• Discuss the use of folktales or storytelling in a particular field of work, such as teaching, theater, history, or psychology.  In order to do this, you should speak to an expert on this topic (such as Dr. Rex Stephenson or Dr. Dan Woods), as well as using some written resources and using at least one folktale to provide specific examples in your paper.

Use of Sources and Documentation:

This paper must make use of three to five documented sources. Two of these sources can be individual tales or essays from the reader; at least one source must come from outside the reader:  a book on reserve or another source you have found.  You may use interviews with people as sources, but you must have at least three documented sources besides any personal interviews. Remember that introductions or prefaces to books, reference books, and book reviews can be used as secondary sources.

Sources must be documented using the MLA documentation system, as explained in The Little, Brown Handbook and the reader, chap. 7. The thesis and list of Works Cited must be approved by the professor before the essay is submitted for a grade. Essays with plagiarized material or inadequate documentation will not be accepted for a grade.

Within the essay, parenthetical references must be given for any ideas, specific details, and quotations that come from the primary and secondary sources. Be sure that details and ideas borrowed from sources are paraphrased accurately and direct quotations are copied exactly as they are in the sources. Follow instructions and examples in the textbooks closely as you incorporate quotations and ideas from sources into your discussion, and as you document your sources.

Primary Sources: Folk and Fairy Tales On Reserve and Elsewhere in Library:

Our library, like any other library, has many other folktales available in picture books, tale collections and films, including the following.

Cinderella by Charles Perrault; retold by Amy Ehrlich; pictures by Susan Jeffers (1985)

Ila Lane Gross, Cinderella Tales Around the World: Global Understanding, Cultural Literacy, 2001.

Not on reserve but in college library: Richard Chase, Grandfather Tales (Appalachian folk tales; contains “Ashpet”)

In reference section: American Folktales: From the Collections of the Library of Congress, ed. Carl Lindahl, 2004.

Not on reserve but in college library: Lowell Swortzell, Cinderella: The World’s Favorite Fairy Tale (play versions from 3 countries)

Not on reserve but in college library archives: The Liberated Cinderella, or, The Return of the Godfather, a one-act comedy by Rex and Ginny Stephenson.(1974)  Location: Stanley Library:  Ferrum Archives XA  /  PS3569.T3866 L5  

Not on reserve but in college library archives: The Jack Tales and Jack's Adventures with the King's Girl, scripts by R. Rex Stephenson

See Comparison Essay Guidelines for list of other resources based on "Cinderella"

On reserve:

Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith, The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales (wacky picture book satires of fairy tales)

Jack Zipes, Don’t Bet on the Prince (updated fairy tales by various authors and critical essays).  This book may be missing in the library.

"Cinderella's Slipper" is an unpublished oral tale from Wise, VA, a very interesting variation on the Cinderella story with no stepmother.  Dr. Hanlon has a photocopy from the Blue Ridge Institute archives.  More information on this is at http://www.ferrum.edu/applit/bibs/tales/ashpet.htm

Ashpet - live-action video by Tom Davenport based on Appalachian tale: Dr. Hanlon has a copy.

The Hidden One :  A Native American Legend - a version of the Native American "Cinderella" tale. Retold by Aaron Shepard
Story text online:  http://www.aaronshep.com/stories/046.html.
Reader's Theater Edition with full text online: http://www.aaronshep.com/rt/RTE12.html http://www.aaronshep.com/rt/RTE12.html

Secondary Sources: Nonfiction Resources on Reserve for Short Research Papers:

Bruno Bettelheim, The Uses of Enchantment (psychological analyses of fairy tales)

Jane Yolen, “America’s ‘Cinderella’” (photocopy of essay)

Jack Zipes, Don’t Bet on the Prince (updated fairy tales by various authors and several essays criticizing gender roles in fairy tales). This book may be missing in the library.

Not on reserve but available in  library: Madonna Kolbenschlag, Kiss Sleeping Beauty Good-bye: Breaking the Spell of Feminine Myths and Models,1979.

Not on reserve but in reference section of library: Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales, ed. Jack Zipes

Internet Resources:

Links to Online Texts will lead you to many other folktales and related resources available on web sites.

This page at Once Upon a Time lists novels based on fairy tales.

Information on versions of "Ashpet" and some links to Cinderella web sites at this address: http://www.ferrum.edu/applit/bibs/tales/ashpet.htm. This web site, AppLit, contains material on many other Appalachian folktales and similar tales from other places.

Author Online! Aaron Shepard's Home Page includes resources for storytellers and researchers as well as full texts of stories by Shepard.

This page's last update:  03/11/2007 09:28:11 PM