The Walking Dead Volumes 1-20

Write a 6-8 page research paper that analyzes a controlling idea in Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead.

Remember to interpret the graphic novel as a commentary that reflects contemporary society:

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Man’s fears that materialize in apocalyptic literature
Actions that secure Maslow’s theory of the “hierarchy of needs”
Posing philosophical questions regarding moral dilemmas
A theory that works with psychology, shifts in women’s roles in society, shifts in racial identity, etc.

Because the research essay will look at a graphic novel, which reveals complexities in a bleak futuristic society, these are a few structures to consider. Regardless of the structure, the essay needs to be focused: I suggest limiting the essay to 4-6 specific aspects of the novel to support your assertion of Collins’s purpose.

Classification: apocalyptic literature, Maslow’s theories of the “hierarchy of needs,” philosophical theories such as cosequentialism, utilitarianism.
Compare/ Contrast: Looking at the two characters in the graphic novel to prove a point. In order to avoid having the essay read as a random list of facts, three considerations are necessary for a compare/ contrast structure
There needs to be a theory that needs to be proven or a question that needs to be answered, through the comparison.
The two characters being compared must be compared along the same points and equal attention should be given to both character.
Analysis needs to be given (in other words don’t simply list similarities or differences between characters, instead explain what one character represents in American culture versus another)
Cause and Effect: One approach could look at how gender roles affect the characters. Another approach could look at how a post-apocalytic society affects character’s moral imperative.

A minimum of 3 sources of research should be included to enhance the essay’s analysis of the novel. Research should only contribute to 30% of the essay (maximum). The essay draws upon research completed for the annotated bibliography; however, the essay should focus on the writer’s analysis of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead

Research will be used in the introduction to define the controlling idea through which the novel will be analyzed + to introduce Kirkman in a focused manner
Research will only support the analysis of the graphic novel and not become the focus in the confirmation paragraphs
In order to remain focused on the graphic novel: each confirmation (body/ supporting) paragraph will include a direct quotation or 1-4 frames from the graphic novel*
Essays must meticulous with documentation and have parenthetical citations + a reference page
More than three instances of research being included without proper documentation will result in a failing grade of plagiarism.
Research can be added to any portion of the essay; however, remember to balance your
research so that it is only 20-30% of your paper.
Consider highlighting research (summarized or quoted) or putting research in a different color
font. This will help quickly determine how much of the essay is drawing from research.

*Frames do not contribute to the essay’s page count.

Note on the prevention of plagiarism

It is essential to demonstrate a proficiency with documentation with this essay including parenthetical citations and a works cited page (not the annotated bibliography).

First, when reviewing research, highlight any material that might contribute to the research essay and organize your research for future reference (it is difficult to differentiate your ideas from someone else’s later in the project).
Second, when copying and pasting from research, please include quotation marks + a parenthetical citation. Alternately, when summarizing research in your own words (specific facts, dates, etc.), include parenthetical citations—in each sentence
Third, the reference page should only include citations (no annotations) and only include sources actually included in the essay (don’t forget to include the novel which was not part of the annotated bibliography).

If you have questions concerning the inclusion of research, please let me know.

Arrangement of the Essay

The basic structure of this essay should follow a four-part arrangement of classical rhetoric. The research essay provides an in-depth analysis of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead. The analysis will be supported by research.

Provides a controlling idea through which the graphic novel will be analyzed (apocalyptic literature, Maslow’s theory of the “hierarchy of needs,” a philosophy, feminism, etc.)
Introduces Kirkman—be selective—and the graphic novel, The Walking Dead, though the context given
Informs the reader of the essay’s focus and purpose


Title of the graphic novel + author + establishes the theory or question–concerning the controlling idea–through which the graphic novel will be analyzed
Outlines the 4-6 points of analysis, which must be specifically listed and listed in the order of the essay’s

Note: The essay must have a thesis in order to receive a passing grade

The Confirmation

Uses a compare/ contrast, cause and effect or classification pattern between characters or events within the graphic novel
Give a topic sentence that establishes what will be analyzed in the paragraph
Isolates specific direct quotations for evidence or 1-4 frames* of interpretation: each confirmation paragraph should contain a quotation from the novel (this will help remain focused on analyzing the novel & prevent the research from becoming the focus)
Paragraphs should be fully developed and focused—the explanation of the quotation/ specific focus of the novel in the paragraph should support the controlling idea proposed in the thesis.

Ask yourself: what is revealed about the character and what that character symbolizes or how does this alter/ reinforce my theory for the essay?
Transitions should connect paragraphs and provide direction for the essay’s direction—transitions are not optional
Special Note on Compare/ Contrast Essays: Discussion of any two aspects of the novel should be balanced: an aspect discussed with one character will be discussed with the other (same with other aspects such as symbolism, themes, etc.)
Further, with a compare and contrast structure, paragraphs should follow a recognizable pattern (either use a block method and discuss everything concerning one narrative element (such as character) and then the next or use an alternating method that follows a pattern of discussing character A then character B in a consistent pattern

Conclusions should discuss the significance of the novel: how does the novel affect a reader’s understanding of society, politics, economics, morality, etc.

*frames do not contribute to the essay’s page count

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