description of how the work resembles, and how it differs from, the events that inspired it.

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” by Joyce Carol Oates (1966)


Your Major Writing Assignment #4 will be your discussion of one of the two works (your choice), with a description of how the work resembles, and how it differs from, the events that inspired it. Please choose a strong topic for the assignment.

The topic you choose can address a theme or symbol from the work itself, can concern how the work fictionalizes the actual crime, or can analyze issues and rationale that the writer herself may have considered in writing the play or the short story. We will be learning and using two new terms in this unit: Primary source refers to the work about which you are writing—in other words, the play or the short story itself. Secondary source refers to works you read about the primary source, in other words, research you do online about the work you choose.

In your essay, you must incorporate several quotes from the work you are discussing to support your own ideas. You should also do research online to find articles about the work you have chosen and incorporate in your essay at least one quote from two different secondary sources that you find in your online research. You also should have ample quotes from the primary source itself, to support your discussion of the topic you chose. Documentation for material you use from each source should be accurate MLA documentation style. See specific documentation style for plays below***.

I expect your final major writing assignment to be detailed, specific, and well-developed as you present your ideas. This should be a synthesized, well-drawn-together combination of your own ideas and quotes from the primary source, as well as quotes from the secondary sources you find and use in your essay. MWA#4 provides you the opportunity to use extensive developmental strategies for strong essays using correct MLA style and formatting.


  • If you are quoting from only one speaker, introduce the quote and put it in your regular sentence mode: Mrs. Hale said to Mrs. Peters, “I do wish the men would slow down in their work upstairs” (Glaspell).
  • If you are quoting from two or more speakers in the play, follow the sample provided below. Introduce the quote and indent the speakers one inch from the left margin. The speakers should be written in all capital letters, followed by a period. Include stage directions as they appear in the original source. Cite the author and page number as you would for any other quoted prose.

MRS. PETERS: (to the other woman) Oh, her fruit; it did freeze. (To the County Attorney) She worried about that when it turned so cold. She said the fire’d go out and her jams would break.

SHERIFF: Well, you can’t best that woman! Held for murder and worryin’ about her preserves.

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