The purpose of this assignment is to get you to develop your thesis-writing, critical analysis,
essay organization, and research skills. In short, its purpose is to have you apply all of the skills
you’ve learned this term to the writing of a university-level critical research essay.
This is a 1000-1200 word, formally written critical research essay. You will construct a thesis
statement in response to one of the essay questions listed below which stem from literary
works read in the second half of our term.
You will develop your thesis through clear use of textual evidence AS WELL AS secondary
research materials. This essay must include 2-3 secondary academic sources that contribute to
your argument in a meaningful way.
The essay must be formatted to MLA standards and sources must be cited in MLA style.
Essay Outline & Annotated Bibliography (10%)
You will complete and submit an essay outline and annotated bibliography before November
You can construct your own outline style, or use a version of the ‘Dead Simple Essay Outline:’ (must submit in separate file)
In addition to the standard outline, you will also include at least two full MLA citations of
secondary academic resources that you wish to use in your essay.
You will provide 1-3 sentences (annotation) explaining how you’ll use the source and/or why
it’s relevant to your paper.
1. How are the effects and conditions of the residential school shown to persist outside of its
walls throughout Richard Wagamese’s novel Indian Horse? How does the residential school
work as an allegory for the broader Canadian society, and how does hockey fit into this
2. How does Richard Wagamese’s novel Indian Horse show the importance of family, culture,
and respect through the cultural alienation, deprivation, and the lifelong consequences of
Residential Schools? How does it portray an idea of Indigenous resilience in response to this?
3. Consider the secondary characters that support Saul Indian Horse throughout his journey.
Choose three of these characters and construct an argument about what their support and
guidance contribute to Saul’s development and healing.
4. In Richard Van Camp’s short story “On the Wing’s of This Prayer,” Van Camp draws on
Indigenous knowledge, traditions, and perspectives throughout the narrative. Consider how
this focus on Indigenous culture works in tandem with his view of the Alberta oil sands. Choose
three or more expressions of Indigenous culture or cultural perspectives in the story and
construct an argument about their relation to the ecological destruction presented in the story.
5. There are endless topics for the rich works we read in the latter half of this course! You can
come up with your own thesis statement based on any of the literary fiction we’ve read in the
second half of this course, but it must be approved by me BEFORE the submission of your essay
outline. Don’t hesitate to reach out to bounce some ideas around and we can come up with a
topic that interests you together.
This assignment is worth 20% of your final grade and is due on Brightspace on December
2nd [The Outline component is worth 10% of your final mark and due on Brightspace
before November 18th].
Your critical research essay should be 1000-1200 words in length, MLA style (doublespaced, 12 pt font, 1” margins).
As per MLA style, title pages aren’t necessary (nor desired) but do make sure that your
name and student ID number are located at the top of the first page. Number your pages
consecutively, and give your paper a unique title that gives the reader a sense of what the
overall argument of the paper will be – in other words, the title should tell your reader
something about what your paper will be exploring.
All written work must be submitted under the assignment section on Brightspace on the
due date (unless otherwise instructed). Late assignments will be penalized 3% a day
(weekends included) for up to 7 days, at which point they will no longer be accepted. Please
also consult the course outline for information on academic integrity.
Please submit your essays as Word documents (.doc or .docx) and NOT PDFs. This allows me
to provide feedback on your assignments using track changes and comments.
Review Topics 4 and 6 for help with thesis construction.
Review Topic 5 for help with MLA style.
Reach out to your instructor as needed.
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