Welcome to Freshman English!  This is the assignment for ALL freshmen.  

Directions:  In preparation for your Term 1 Freshman Research Paper, you MUST choose a text from the works listed below.  On the first day of school, you should come with your Character/Theme Analysis Chart completed. This assignment will be graded.


Please keep in mind, the research project will be a significant part of your first term grade.   This assignment is designed to give you a head start on the first research paper of your high school career.   The goal of this research project is to write a literary analysis paper focused on a writer’s ability to express theme through the actions of his/her characters.


The text you choose to read will be used as ONE of your sources for your research paper.  This research assignment will be much more manageable if you have completed your Character/Theme Analysis Chart over the summer and are prepared to discuss this on the first day of school. 


Reading Selections (Choose ONLY ONE!)


   Speak  by Laurie Halse Anderson

  A traumatic event near the end of the summer has a devastating effect on Melinda’s freshman year in high school.


   Miracle’s Boys  by Jacqueline Woodson

  Twelve-year-old Lafayette’s close relationship with his older brother Charlie changes after Charlie is released from a detention home and blames Lafayette for the death of their mother.


   An Island Like You by Judith Ortiz Cofer

  Twelve stories about young people caught between their Puerto Rican heritage and their American surroundings.


   I Will Always Write Back by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda with Liz Welch

  Traces the friendship between an American girl and her pen pal from an impoverished region of Zimbabwe, describing how twelve-year-old Caitlin wrote to an unknown student for a class assignment and shared a life-changing six-year correspondence.


   Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork

  Marcelo Sandoval, a seventeen-year-old boy on the high-functioning end of the autistic spectrum, faces new challenges, including romance and injustice, when he goes to work for his father in the mailroom of a corporate law firm.


Note: Summer reading books can be purchased at any local bookstore, borrowed from the library, viewed as a PDF on your computer after a quick Google search.

Term 1 Writing/Research Assignment


At the start of the school year, you will use your Summer Reading as the primary source for a research paper focused upon a writer’s ability to present and develop a theme that is evident and still relevant today.  As you read, keep this in mind so that your completion of the Character/Theme Analysis Chart will provide helpful evidence that will be used to develop       and defend a claim regarding one of the themes below.


As you read, pay particular attention to the development of character(s) and how each character’s actions could be expressing a theme/message to the reader.


The Freshman Term 1 Research Paper will require you to conduct research about one of the themes below and connect this research to the Summer Reading selection of your choice.  


Here are some of the themes you will encounter in the reading selections provided:


     Coming of Age

      A story that focuses upon the universal experience of growing up; stories that focus upon this theme express the various challenges we face as we grow from a child to an adult.

     Loss of Innocence

      A story that focuses upon the universal experience of learning that the world is not fair and that bad things can happen to good people.  Often stories expressing Loss of Innocence are also Coming of Age stories, therefore, these themes are very much interconnected as becoming an adult often includes one’s loss of innocence.

     Overcoming Obstacles

      A story that focuses upon facing difficult challenges and learning to succeed despite the stress, pressure, and/or limitations that can be placed upon us by society and the world around us.

     The Bonds of Friendship

      A story that focuses upon the importance of having a strong support system of friends and family to aid in overcoming the challenges/difficulties life can place before us.  Often the Bonds of Friendship can be a way in which characters Overcome Obstacles, therefore, you may find these themes used in conjunction with one another.

     Longing for Acceptance (Conformity/Fitting-In)

      A story that focuses upon the common experience of trying to “fit in” to a group or society when we may not feel as though we belong.  These stories often include a Loss of Innocence or the Overcoming of Obstacles that lead to the development of a Bond of Friendship that helps the individual to feel as if he/she truly belongs to another group of family or friends who once seemed distant and unapproachable.

Jose Reyes,
Jun 12, 2018, 12:45 PM
Jose Reyes,
Jun 12, 2018, 12:45 PM