Here are some entries you might want to look at as examples of successfully completed fifth assignments:
From the Library Resources link of the course website, you will find a list of sources (labeled "Secondary") that you can use in research for this assignment. Remember that you need to keep a list of all sources consulted, with an indication of their usefulness for your assignment. Useful sources should be listed at the end of your entry; an itemized list of all the sources consulted, with indication of their usefulness for your assignment, needs to be submitted to -unsworth, at uiuc.edu- no later than midnight on the day the assignment is due. Also, please read the note on Plagiarism below.
For this assignment, you need to produce an essay of about 2000-2500 words (8-10 typed, double-spaced pages), analyzing the book you've chosen. Do not recapitulate your biographical essay and/or your reception history here, and do not succumb to the temptation to review the book yourself. This is an analytical assignment: you need to have an argument to make, and that argument should not be something like "This is a good book." A strong essay will have a thesis supported by substantial evidence from within and outside the text. It is also important that the essay be carefully written, free of careless grammatical and punctuation errors, clear and accurate in its use of language. Remember that your essay will become a permanent and public part of the bestsellers database, and that in the future you may have many readers.
The general question you are trying to answer in this essay is "What do we learn about bestsellers from this book?" In answering that question, you might address a number of topics (including but not limited to "What qualities did reviewers praise in this book? What does that tell you about the reviewers, the era, or the book?", "What was or is the public persona of the book's author? Does this book help to create that persona or does it problematize it in any way?", "What contemporaneous events might help to explain this book's popularity? What social, political, historical, or cultural controversies that inform this book?", "What other (fiction or non-fiction) best-sellers might be usefully compared or contrasted to this book?", "What undeclared or unrecognized reasons might there have been for this book's popularity? Did you discover anything in your research for previous assignments that might be the focus of an interesting argument about the book?", "How long did this book remain popular? What factors might explain its lifespan?", "If this book had a performance in another medium, what effect did that performance have on the book's popularity?")
Plagiarism: Facts ("The author's mother died in childbirth") cannot be plagiarized, but the conclusions drawn from them in the form of ideas and arguments ("and this had a lifelong impact on his work") can be. Plagiarism is a violation of the University of Illinois' Policy & Procedures on Academic Integrity in Research and Publication, and it is a serious form of personal, scholarly, and intellectual dishonesty as well. Consult multiple sources for this assignment, and take care to keep notes that clearly indicate what is quoted, where it came from, and what is your own original thinking. Be aware that if you reproduce someone else's ideas or arguments, whether in the original words or in paraphrase, you need to clearly identify those ideas and arguments and their source: failure clearly to declare such use of sources constitutes plagiarism.