This capstone research paper is geared towards juniors or seniors, and instead of analyzing a work of literature, they analyze the impact that the book had on America as a whole. They research issues of censorship, popular culture, criticism, reception, and technology related to the book. It is treated as a persuasive or argumentative paper in which the students argue why their book was important to American society (and literature). The assignment uses research, MLA citation style, and is a great assignment for originality and avoiding plagiarism since it isn't a "typical" literary analysis. I hope you will enjoy teaching this paper as much as I do. Great ideas for books include Silent Spring, The Great Gatsby, Maus, and any other American Lit. novels.
Included in the packet: assignment guidelines, rubric, list of possible works, sample paragraph structure, outline, timeline, checklist for influence markers. If you would like a student sample, I have one that I can share.