Essay Format

TITLE -- A title page is optional, but you should definitely give your essay a title. Let your reader know that you know what your essay is about. It doesn't have to be a clever title, but it should indicate the central focus of your paper.

CITING REFERENCES -- Because I'm not looking for research papers, most of the essays shouldn't need footnotes. But every time you cite or refer to a passage from the work you're discussing, you should indicate the page number the passage is from -- that way your reader can look up the passage herself, and see the context it appears in, &c. The simplest way to indicate such a source, and the one I'd recommend using, is to put the page number in parentheses immediately after the quotation, like this -- "quotation" (p. xxx).

BIBLIOGRAPHY? -- If you've used secondary sources (if, for example, you've examined the way Ragged Dick was reviewed when it first came out), then you should provide a formal bibliography. Check with me about how that should look. But for most essays, all you need is a statement identifying which text you used. You must provide that -- for your reader to be able to check your citations from Ragged Dick, for example, he needs to know exactly which edition you used. But it's easiest just to put a "Work Cited" attribution at the end of your essay -- like this:

WORK CITED
Horatio Alger, Jr., Ragged Dick and Struggling Upward, edited by Carl Bode (New York: Penguin Books, 1985)


ESSAY HOMEPAGE | CLASS HOMEPAGE