English 102 Research Essay: The Piano Lesson

English 102 Research Essay: The Piano Lesson

English 102 Western World Literature and Composition

Research Essay: The Piano Lesson, by August Wilson

(100 points)



Write a thesis-based research paper that discusses an aspect of August Wilson’s, The Piano Lesson.  Here are a few possibilities:

·       Family issues

·       Gender issues

·       Wilson’s use of  music in the play/African sense of music

·       Wilson’s use of the supernatural in the play/African sense of the supernatural

·       Race relations

·       Religious views

·       Family heritage

·       What is the real “piano lesson?”

·       The Search for the American Dream



  • Topic must meet with instructor approval.
  • The essay should be from 1000-1500 words in length, MLA format, current guidelines.
  • At least three outside sources must be used.  You must use sources accessed through one of the literature databases in the Krannert Memorial Library. (Do not use “Work Overviews” or “Plot Summaries.”)  Essays that do not include outside sources and/or a Works Cited page will receive an “F.”


Essay Checkpoints:

·       Thesis Statement: 10 points

  • Essay Plan: 40 points

·       Annotated Bibliography: 75 points (see below)

  • Peer Review:  20 points (You must participate in the Peer Review on the assigned date to earn any points, and you must submit an entire essay, including a Works Cited and in-text citations to be eligible to participate in the Peer Review.)





The Annotated Bibliography


Your annotated bibliography must include:

  • A Statement of Scope—at least one paragraph. Briefly discuss what are you are planning to accomplish with your essay. You should also discuss why the topic interests you and why you believe the topic is worth exploring. 
  • A clear thesis statement
  • Complete bibliographic information of each work in MLA format, current guidelines.  Your annotated bibliography must include at least 6 secondary sources accessed through the KML databases.
  • A short description of each work—a sentence or two is fine
  • An evaluation of each work—another sentence or two, stating your opinion of the source and how you might use this source in your essay.