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Paper #3: Process Analysis Essay

To successfully complete this assignment you must first read both the assigned chapter in Successful College Writing and the novel, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Your assignment for this paper is to explain how something in the magical world of Harry Potter (or Harry Dresden or The Fading Lands) works, given that his world and our Muggle world co-exist and must, consequently, be governed by many of the same physical and scientific laws.  Chapter thirteen provides information on how to write and organize these sorts of "How-It-Works" essays.


For this paper, your audience is two-fold. First, it is the class or anyone from the community who has read the Harry Potter or other allowed books. Second, it is people from the Harry Potter world itself, people who use the magic who might also be curious about how the magic works--or at least how Muggles would explain it. Indeed, your essay might be something published by the Ministry of Magic for use by upper level students at Hogwarts. The explanations on how the magic works need not be "real world" accurate, as they will likely require a great deal of invention for you, since they are being based on a fictional story; however, they must seem plausible to your audience members, both the actual and the imagined. 

You may choose your specific topic from the list that appears at the bottom of the page below, or you may choose a similar topic--one not included below--as long as you have it approved by me first via e-mail. As with your last paper, you should certainly quote from the novel or from other texts--like your Physics or Chemistry book--as you describe how the magic works, citing these sources using MLA style. Following along with the revision flow charts from the text as you begin refining your essay will likely improve its quality.  You may also have your essay read by a reader in the Writing Center on campus, but if you do so, make sure you bring in a copy of this assignment sheet with your draft and remember that the readers there may require a 48 hour turn around time, so plan ahead.  Having your paper at the Writing Center is not a valid excuse for attempting to turn it in late.  

The main difficulties you may have in this paper will be in negotiating with this dual audience and in creating your plausible explanations for the fictional magic that occurs.

Format: This essay should be double-spaced, laser-printed, carefully edited and proofread, and stapled before you turn it in. You should have a heading with your name, my name, the course title and section number, and date on it. You must give the paper number and title a line of its own, and your last name and the page number should appear at the top right of each page, after your first page. This paper should be three to four pages in length with one-inch margins, not including the Work or Works Cited page, and it may include diagrams, if you deem them necessary.

Potential Paper Topics:
How does the sorting hat work?

How are brooms able to fly?

How are the staircases at Hogwarts able to change?

How does Harry's invisibility cloak work?

How does the doorway at platform nine and three-quarters work?

How do magic wands choose their wizards or witches?

How (and why) does a Harry Dresden spell work?

How does earth magic work in The Fading Lands?


Check your syllabus for the paper's due date, remembering that it will be due in advance of that date for Peer Review.

Note: For this paper, I would like to see at least three quotations from Harry Potter and at least one quotation each from three other sources.

The hat image appears from http://www.giantstepsbooks.com/hats/witchwizardahats.html 
Background from http://www.adinet.net/Globe_HTML/frames/wireframe/f2p3a9_155kb.htm
Kitty image courtesy of Professor Rambo