ENGL 215C and 215D

Draft Outline due March 27 (5%) 

Essay #2 due April 5 (30%) 

In this essay, you will write a formal research essay about either Girl with a Pearl Earring or The Importance of Being Earnest (7-8 pgs). You will find the secondary sources on your own. For critical balance, you must refer to at least two secondary sources that must be scholarly, peer-reviewed journal articles or books about your primary texts to support your essay's argument. There must be at least two in-text citations per source, keeping in mind that this is the minimum. You may make additional citations.  If you have a third source, it may be about the primary text, or about a more general topic (for example, a book about Renaissance art, or the Victorian Period).

***Essays that do not meet the MLA documentation and secondary source requirements will receive a low or failing grade, as per the Departmental Grading Guidelines and theRESEARCH ESSAY RUBRIC.***

Sparknotes or other study guides are not critical sources. Although they are sometimes useful for plot summaries, their critical analyses are weak, and you should not rely on them for your interpretation of the novel.  Any ideas or words you use from such guides must be documented.  Please number your pages, do not justify the right-side margins, and use at least 12 pt font. As you work toward the due date, I will be happy to go over your ideas and questions, as well as examine your rough drafts. 

The following steps are recommended:

1. Before you begin research, choose your topic and start textual analysis on your own. Develop a thesis and a draft based on your findings. Sources are meant to support your thesis, not vice versa. 


2. Find your secondary sources and read them.  You may be required to examine numerous sources before you choose ones that will be useful. An article may be about the novel, but not necessarily about your topic.       

3. All research must be properly documented in MLA Style.  Secondary sources are documented in the same manner as primary ones. There are documentation and research links on the “Other Resources” page of our website, including OWL and The Nature of Writing.

Notice: We document plays with Act, Scene, and lines (I.ii.98).


In a 2000 word essay, you should quote from each source a minimum of 2 times and no more than 7 times. Otherwise, you may be relying too much on another person's ideas and committing plagiarism. You may upload your essay as many times as you wish before the due date. If you have any questions or concerns about the process, or the generated report, please talk to me. Turnitin is a tool for both you and me to ensure that all students act with integrity and submit original work. This not only makes the grading system fair for all students, it safeguards the value of your degree from King's. 

Choose one of the following topics:

1.  Discuss the role of  gender in Girl with a Pearl Earring and how it affects the relationship between Vermeer and Griet. Through their relationship to art, how do Griet and Vermeer overcome some of these barriers? You may also consider this question but discuss Griet's relationships with characters other than Vermeer. 

2. Similar to Question #1, but instead discuss the role of class in Girl with a Pearl Earring and how it affects the relationship between Vermeer and Griet, as well as Griet and two or three other characters. Does Griet's relationship to art change her status in any way?


3. How can we read the novel as a Bildungsroman (meaning a progression from innocence or childhood to adulthood) through an examination of the various paintings? You may also discuss other key scenes in the novel, including how knives and pearls symbolize this progression.   

4. Gwendolen and Cecily in The Importance of Being Earnest keep diaries.Why is it important to them to assert their identities in these diaries? How do their diaries reflect their treatment by the men in the play?  

5. What is the relationship between manners and morality in The Importance of Being Earnest? Why do the characters emphasize appearances more than serious issues such as marriage and death? How does Wilde satirize such characters?  There is no need to discuss all the characters. You could focus, for example, on Lady Bracknell and Jack, or discuss two couples such as Lord and Lady Bracknell and Jack and Gwendolen. 

6. A topic of your own, with my approval under the following conditions.



All grades will be assigned using The King's University alpha scale below (A+ - F). You will upload your essay to Turnitin by the designated due date.

Late paper assessment will follow standard Department of English late policy: one alpha grade-step deduction per day (excluding 12am to 11:59pm on Sundays and statutory holidays) to a maximum of five steps. If extenuating circumstances arise, contact your instructor in writing to arrange a plan for completion of the paper. Unless a written extension has been granted in advance, essays will not be accepted more than TWO weeks past the due date, and no assignments can be accepted after the last day of classes. 

BOTH essays must be completed to qualify for the final exam, and must meet the minimum requirements for the assignment, including research and passable word count. Failure do so will result in a failing grade in the course even if the grade is mathematically a pass. The submission of only a title page, or a few hundred words, does not constitute an essay.

Please note that although late marks are not deducted for Sunday, you will still lose marks if the essay is not submitted on the weekend. For example, if the essay is due Friday, it will lose two grade points if it is submitted Monday.

No essays will be accepted beyond the last day of classes--April 16.


Designator Percentage Letter Grade GPA



































Minimal Pass









This link leads to my list of marking symbols when I grade your assignments. 

Academic integrity measures will be used in this course, including screening all essays for originality through Turnitin. Academic dishonesty is a serious offence with potentially disastrous consequences, and I intend to hold you to the highest academic standards. Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with University policies regarding scholarly ethics and academic integrity (see current King's calendar).

There is a zero tolerance policy and multiple incidents may affect your academic record. Stiff penalties apply for offenders.

Academic Honesty
The University disciplinary code defines the following as offenses. Committing these or aiding another student in committing these is academic misconduct.

Cheating includes: obtaining or providing information or material from or to others during an exam; allowing another student to observe answers during an exam; or possessing or attempting to acquire or distribute unauthorized material relating to an exam.

Plagiarism includes: representing another's work in whole or in part as one's own in an exam or paper, knowingly including a false statement or reference as if it were true, or submission by the student of the work prepared for a different course without the express consent of the instructor.

Other offenses are: tampering or attempting to tamper with examinations, class work, grades or class records; failure to abide by instructor directions regarding the individuality of work; impersonation of another student in an examination or other class assignment; falsification or fabrication of lab reports; the non-authorized recording of lectures; failure to obtain approval, permission, or to otherwise follow procedures, as required by the University as outlined in the University Calendar.

The first occurrence of plagiarism in any course results in a zero for the assignment, test, or exam; the second case in any course results in a zero for the course; and the third case in any course results in academic suspension. Occurrences of plagiarism will also be noted on the student’s academic record. For more information see the King’s Calendar.

Academic integrity applies to every aspect of the classroom – from testing to our relationship with peers. Major assignments will be vetted by TurnItIn; students will also sign and submit an Academic Integrity Agreement detailing our shared understanding of professional practices and conduct.

***Please (PLEASE!) discuss with me any concerns you may have regarding your research or other matters. I will also address plagiarism and proper citation methods throughout the semester, and post information on our website.


Student Support Services

Students with disabilities or medical conditions who require academic accommodations in this course must contact a Coordinator in the Student Support and Accessibility Office (SSAO) to complete a registration form and receive the necessary Letters of Accommodation.

After registering with the Student Support and Accessibility Office, students must present their Letter of Accommodation and discuss their needs with their professor as early in the term as possible.

Please note that more information including deadlines for the submission of documentation and completed forms to Student Support and Accessibility Office are available on the website:


Tutoring Services

Students can access tutoring help through the Tutoring Registry in the Academic Enrichment Centre in the Library, which allows students to hire a tutor at $15/hr. Students will also be able to apply to become a tutor through this Registry.

The Writing Centre, also housed within the Academic Enrichment Centre in the Library, will be offering weekly group tutorials for English as well as individual tutoring in writing. Some academic departments offer weekly group tutorials in the areas of Math, Chemistry and Biology. There is an Academic Support Assistant, who can share effective study techniques and time management skills. Book appointments by emailing academic.support@kingsu.ca

Mental Health Supports


Department of English