ENG 102 Research Essay Watchmen For your final paper in ENG 102, you will write a research paper…

ENG 102 Research Essay Watchmen For your final paper in ENG 102, you will write a research paper…

ENG 102

Research Essay


For your final paper in ENG 102, you will write a research paper answering a simple question:

In a 1952 ruling, Supreme Court Justice Learned Hand gave a simple definition of the superhero. Hand, in writing of Superman and Wonderman, claimed the superhero “at times conceals his strength beneath ordinary clothing but after removing his cloak stands revealed in full panoply in a skintight acrobatic costume.” Hand further noted that the superhero uses his “sufficient strength” as “the champion of the oppressed,” “battling evils and injustice.” Hand’s definition can be simplified to include only four major aspects: a selfless, pro-social mission; powers; costume; and identity. If Alan Moore’s Watchmen is a story of superheroes, given Learned Hand’s definition or other definitions of the heroic, who, by the end, is the story’s hero?

The structure:

Hopefully, by this point in your education, the structure of this kind of paper

is obvious. You will need to have a thesis statement that answers the

question posed, and you will need specific and clear ideas that support

the thesis and explain how it works.

The Research:

You will need absolutely no fewer than three secondary sources. Watchmen

is not a secondary source; it is the primary source. At least one of these

secondary sources must be specifically about the Watchmen. You may find

criticism of the book through the college library’s databases or by searching

the stacks (if you get stuck, the librarian Tiger Swan knows all the research

on graphic novels and will be glad to help you). To make things easier for

you, I’ve done a lot of this research for you and posted some of the research

on Blackboard.

The other research can be just about anything you need to prove your

thesis. You may use sources from political science or from philosophy or

you may want to look up something like Joseph Campbell’s writing on hero

stories.. The only rule is that you must explain why the author of your quote

has the right to comment on the topic. For any author I have given you on

Blackboard, you can simply call the author “critic.” For example: In Alan

Moore’s America: The Liberal Individual and American Identities, the critic Michael J. Prince states, “While all of the characters in Watchmen exhibit some agency panic, most of them are possessed by a personally driven vigilantism that manifests the autonomy and purposeful action attributed to the liberal individual.”

The Rules

You will need to cite your sources using MLA citations.

You will need to print and hand in a hardcopy of your paper. Email submissions will

not be read. A student who emails instead of submitting a hard copy WILL FAIL THE


Any instance of plagiarism (here defined as using sentences or parts of sentences

without identifying the source or using ideas with acknowledgement of where they


The paper is due the day of the scheduled final (or earlier). If you plan to sit for the

FINAL EXAM, you must tell me before the end of the semester.

I include the following to help with your research:


Ethical/ Philosophical Position

Political Philosophy


Kantian/ Existentialist/ Retributivists

Conservative/ Libertarian ????

Dr. Manhattan


Statist/Nihilist ???


Utilitarian/ Act Utilitarian

Radical Liberal???


Hedonistic Nihilist/ Absurdist

Authoritarian Conservative???

Nite Owl II

Rule Utilitarian/ Virtue Ethicist

Romantic Liberal?????

Silk Spector II Feminist? Compassionate


Keep in mind:

I will give you plenty of time to do the research and writing of this paper. This is to ensure that if you need help with the research, the structure, the writing, or the citing of sources, I will be available and happy to help you. This is also meant to ensure that if you need or want to catch up on any work you have missed, or if you want to revise one of the major essay, you will have time to do that. If you earned a grade of A or A- on one of those major assignments, please don’t bother revising. Half of the final grade is class participation—having done the reading in preparation for the class when it was assigned—and this will do more to raise your grade than revising a paper for a few extra points. Also, you will be better off concentrating on the final research paper than attempting to earn a point or two with a revision because grades that are close are always rounded up.


ENG 102 Research Essay Watchmen For your final paper in ENG 102, you will write a research paper…