Literary Research Paper Topics

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Literary Research Paper Topics

One of the toughest decisions a student has to take is to select literary research paper topics for his term assignment. Most scientific papers follow a clear pattern of understanding and logic, but literature is more about perception and creativity. Here are some key topics to help you out.

Women In Literature:

It forms one of the most interesting literary research paper topics chosen by students. In the era of male heroes and protagonists, women too had a significant part to play in literature of the world. You can focus on characters, their struggles or a theme to validate your argument. Such literary research paper topics allow you to go deep within the subject and provide a clear insight to all the readers of your paper. Some examples are:

1. Role of Pegotty in shaping David’s childhood in Dickens’ David Copperfield

2. Miranda as a woman of independent thoughts in Shakespeare’s Tempest

Romanticism Through The Ages:

You won’t find literary research paper topics as exhaustive as this. It offers a broad scope of arguments, allowing you to compare and contrast different timelines. When you choose literary research paper topics, romance always makes a positive impression on the readers. Some common examples are:

1. The unchained passion of love as portrayed in Shakespeare’s Romeo And Juliet

2. Lucy as an innocent figure of natural romance created by Wordsworth

Character Transformation Of The Protagonist:

Many novels that you choose for your literary research paper topics have distinct character transformations that shape the content of the story. It is important to focus on such transitions as they define the character sketch and the objective of the story. You can individually focus on this section for your literary research paper topics so you come across some great material like:

1. The multiple transitions of Silas in Eliot’s Silas Marner

2. Character changes of Hamlet as a result of many dilemmas

Symbolism And Its Effects:

Any reference to symbolism makes for great literary research paper topics as they show your perception and extensive research. The use of setting and events has always been projected through symbolism to create a sense of mystery and dramatic effect. You can talk about imagery, subtle hints and any forms of literary device that acts as a focal point for the development of story. Such literary research paper topics are greatly appreciated. You can pick one like:

1. The symbolism of the “eye” in “The Tell-Tale heart”

2. The hands as a symbol in Hemingway’s The Old Man And the Sea

You can always broaden your thoughts and choose your own journey through the world of literature. You need to follow the guidelines but the content can be the identity of your inner creativity. If you have the proper resources and materials for your topic, you can create a compelling read about the effect of literature. When you are asked to deal with literary research paper topics, remember to explore new places and develop new ideas for the best results.

• Analyze the writing style of any one of the famous writers.

• Study the techniques used by any of the poets and analyze the efficacy of the use of the same in that context.
• Study the causes of failure of a poet or an author who never managed to get noticed.
• Critically analyze a poem or any other literary work.
• Compare two authors or poets who belong to the same era of literature.
• Choose a topic from the history of literature of a particular nation.
• Do an analytical study of the evolution of literature.

Topics to consider:

Castles or cathedrals
Medieval armor
The Crusades
Crime and/or use of public executions
The Great London Fire
The War of the Roses
The Battle of Hastings
The Puritan Movement
The Reformation
The role of women during the Renaissance or medieval period
Printing and publishing during the Renaissance
Arthurian materials
Rise of the sonnet, satire, periodical essay, or English novel
William Wallace (Braveheart)
St. Patrick
The Plantagenets
The Tudors
The Black Prince
Henry VIII…and his wives
Elizabeth I
James I (king after Elizabeth)
Mary Queen of Scots
Thomas Becket
Richard the Lionheart
Bloody Mary
Oliver Cromwell
William Shakespeare
Henry II
Eleanor of Aquitaine
Thomas Becket
Richard II
Robin Hood: Outlaw or Hero
Relics and indulgences
Papal inquisition
Chivalric code
Monastic life in the Middle Ages
Disease and medicine (include bodily humours)
The Children’s Crusade
Knights Templar
The Globe Theatre, costumes and sets, or the Chamberlain’s Men
The Tower of London
The English Church and any part of its development from the medieval period through the eighteenth century
Inventions, medicine, science, money and banking, entertainment, clothing styles and hair styles, hospitals and hygiene, politics, laws, food, trade and the market place, music, art, or architecture, from the medieval period through the age of enlightenment

Mark Twain shows how racism can corrupt good people in Huckleberry


2) The climax of Stephen King’s The Stand represents the classic struggle of good versus evil.

3) Theodore Roethke’s “Elegy for Jane” illustrates how powerful the single image of an act is in influencing the imagination.

4) In "The Swimmer," John Cheever uses the metaphor of the swimmer to describe the escape of a modern man from his personal life.

5) In Hondo, Louis L’Amour’s title character represents the idealized hero in western literature.

6) Jack Ryan in Tom Clancy’s Debt of Honor is a classic modern hero.

7) The main character in “To Build a Fire” has the man versus nature struggle that characterizes naturalist writings.

Explain how Twain’s or Howells’s or James’s works fit into the realistic definition of literature.


3) Explain how a Native American writer’s works are distinctively related to the Native American culture.


4) Using African-American writers, explain how their works reflect the experience of African-Americans in the time period in which the writer is working.


5) Explain how authors or an author describe the influence of materialism on American society.


6) Explain how a particular writer uses rhetorical devices to get readers to see a subject as she or he sees it.


7) Describe Robert Frost's attitude toward death.


8) Describe how the Depression is reflected in the writings of John Steinbeck or William Faulkner.


9) Using a particular author, explain how her or his life is reflected in her or his writing.


10) Compare the works of any two authors.


11) Explain how loneliness is a major theme in twentieth century American literature.


12) Explain how nature becomes a character in Hamlin Garland’s (or some other naturalist’s) works

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