The name of the play: Into the Woods
Two major things I base grades on:
A) Focus — Your paper shouldn’t have a single sentence that’s not about your specific topic, not even in an opening paragraph. No general discussion of the show, and nothing you would only know by researching. Also — If you want to write about something other than my suggested topic, that’s possible, but you need to run it by me first.
B) Support — This is the main thing. For this class, the support for your ideas will generally come from a very specific place: the song lyrics. That’s because musicals tend to deal with their intended themes most specifically within their songs. Use the songs themselves to back up your points, using quoted lyrics from the songs in the body of your paper. (In this way you are clearly showing us what you mean, not just asking us to take your word for it. When you use the show’s own words to support your points, it’s hard for any reader to argue with you.)
Technical guidelines for any lyric-quoting within your paper. I will hold you to doing these correctly! (And you can see examples of correct lyric-quoting in the two sample papers I’ve attached.)
* All quoted lyrics are indented TWO TABS from the left margin (as opposed to when you start new paragraphs, which are indented only one tab).
* As a general rule, indent all quoted lyrics in this way, no matter how long they are, even if they are only a single line. Lyrics are like poetry — each line of the lyrics should go on its own separate line in your quotation. (See the sample papers attached here for examples of this.)
* Continue to double-space within each quotation, no different from the rest of your paper. Also regular double-spacing before and after your quotation.
* No quotation marks around indented quotes. (The indenting is enough — it already tells us that you’re quoting.)
* No citation necessary for any of these quotes — the lyrics are all from the show, the title of which you’re already letting us know within the body of your paper. You definitely don’t need to cite the website where you found the lyrics — they don’t own the lyrics. The show does.
* Do not quote entire songs!! Only quote as much material from the lyrics as you are going to specifically talk about.
* Names of shows are written in italics (Into the Woods). Names of songs are written in quotation marks (“I Know Things Now”).
(Please take a careful look at the two sample papers I’m attaching here — I’m sending them specifically as good examples of how to handle quoted material within a paper. In general, the more you use lyrics from the show to back up your points, the more effective your paper is going to be.)
2) As I said above, attached are the two sample papers — both were written a couple of semesters ago, about the show Oklahoma! These papers should help you in understanding the way to use lyrics to support your ideas, and they are also good examples of how to format lyric quotations in your paper. They’re also not bad papers, but I’m primarily sending them to you simply as models of how to use lyrics as support.
3) Last, here are three suggested topics for the Into the Woods paper, if you’re planning to do it. (Remember, if you don’t write a paper on Into the Woods, then you MUST write one on Sunday in the Park with George.)
A) Discuss the concept of morality and moral ambiguity within the context of the show. What is the show’s overall approach toward ideas of morality, and how are these ideas represented? Use specific ideas from at least two songs to support your arguments. “No One Is Alone” might prove particularly helpful, but there are a number of songs that would work.
B) How does the show use the character of the Witch to explore the difficulties of parenting? Use lyrics from her three-part song (“Stay With Me,” “Lament,” and “Children Will Listen”) to support your thoughts.
C) Analyze ONE of the following songs in terms of what the lyrics tell us about the the character who sings it, as well as how they illuminate the show’s themes as a whole.
Cinderella — “On the Steps of the Palace” OR Baker’s Wife — “Moments in the Woods”
This should be a fairly in-depth analysis, utilizing most of the lyrics sections in the song.
There you go — that’s actually four different options. Hopefully one of them will be what you’re looking for.