Essay Prompts, Rubric & Instructions for English Literature

Instructor: Svitlana Kostenko
If you have a College Accelerator membership and are seeking college credit for this course, you must submit two essays and pass the proctored final exam. You must submit your essays before registering for the final. Below you will find prompts and instructions for submitting your essays.

Final Essay Prompts

English literature has produced some of the most well-known written works in the world, and continues to influence literature today. In this course, you've read the works of different influential English authors such as Shakespeare and Chaucer and learned about different literary movements throughout history. Choose two of the three prompts below and write an 800-1200-word essay about each one.

  1. Many of the works of literature you've read in this course include the theme of identity. The protagonist may be struggling to find his/her identity, create a new one, or disassociate with an old one. Using one or more of the works from your reading list, discuss how identity functions in the story and if you believe the author thinks identity is something a person is born with or creates for his/herself. Use examples from the text(s) to support your argument.
  2. Every work of literature is a snapshot of the time period in which it was written. Whether consciously or not, authors are influenced by the events, works of art, and people of their era. These influences can be found in the text of their stories, essays, and poems. Choose one or more works from this course and explain which of their traits can be attributed to their literary period, and identify any that seem to belong to a different period. Use examples from the texts to support your argument.
  3. Some of the works you read for this course took place in a single location, while others took place in many. Compare one work that took place entirely (or primarily) in the same location and one that took place in many. How do the authors of these works use location in the text to further the story or influence the reader? Do the locations serve any kind of symbolic purpose? Use examples from the texts to support your argument.

Formatting & Sources

Please write your paper in the MLA format. As evidence for their analyses, students should provide quotations from the course and any outside research. Cite all quotations using MLA format. Please include any lessons you used as sources (including the lesson title and instructor's name).

If you're unsure about how to use MLA format to cite your sources, please see the following lesson:


Your essays will be graded based on the following rubric:

CategoryUnacceptable (0-1)Needs Improvement (2-3)Good (4)Excellent (5)Total Possible Points
Structure (x3)Structure is illogical or significantly hinders understandingArguments are difficult to identify; ideas are disjointedEvidence is provided & is relevant to the thesis, but transitions and connections are lackingArguments are well integrated; ideas flow logically; main points are identifiable15
Analysis (x3)No examples are used to support arguments; analysis is missing or incorrectFew or weak examples are given to support main pointsExamples are given to support most points, but not all; analysis lacks originalityAll main points are supported with evidence and include original analysis15
Thesis (x2)Thesis is missingThesis lacks clarity or is not well-developedThesis adequately states the student's argument Thesis clearly & logically states the student's argument10
Mechanics (x2)Incorrect spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and use of standard English grammar hinders understandingSeveral instances of incorrect spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and usage of standard English grammarFew instances of incorrect spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and usage of standard English grammarNo or very few instances of incorrect spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and usage of standard English grammar10

Before You Submit

It is recommended that you submit the two essays individually, so that feedback from the first essay can be incorporated into the second essay. When you are done writing your essays, we suggest taking some time to proofread, check for errors, and add some final touches. We also suggest that you use online plagiarism checkers such as PlagScan or Solid SEO Tools to make sure that your essay is not too similar to any existing materials. Plagiarized submissions will NOT be graded.

How to Submit Your Paper

When you are ready to submit your written papers, please fill out this submission form and attach your essays as Microsoft Word, Text, or PDF documents. After turning in your papers, you may go ahead and take the proctored final exam. You do not need to wait for your written responses to be graded. You should receive your essay grades within one week.

If you are not satisfied with the score(s) you receive on your paper(s), you may revise or rewrite your essay(s) and resubmit it/them for grading using the same submission form above. Keep in mind that the grades you receive on your essays are only a third of your overall grade for the course, and you are free to retake the proctored final exam as well if you choose. Please see the course syllabus for a more detailed breakdown of the grading policy.

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