Students are required to submit one or two annotations each week for a total of ten annotations on the same subject (the topic of your final paper). All ten will be due in one document (as shown in the example below). At least five of the sources used must be found through DragonQuest.  Remember to keep them in alphabetical order and include the following information in separate paragraphs:


  • Bibliographic information (hanging indent)
  • 35-150 word summary of article or book
  • Evaluation of author’s bias & usefulness.
  • Statement about reliability if it’s an Internet article


APA Style Annotation Example

Caldwell, B. (2006). An American life in four movements.  The Journal of American Accomplishments, 14, 125-127.  doi: 10.374398.BS112.

This short article talks about the four stages of Twain’s life.  The first stage is the boyhood Sam Clemens and the influence of living along the Mississippi. The second stage is of Samuel Clemens, the adventurer.  The third stage is Mark Twain as a young and bold innovator who was taking chances as a writer.  The last stage, the old Mark Twain as cantankerous old man and elder statesman of American literature, is the most detailed and interesting.

This was written in plain, everyday English and for a general audience who might not be too familiar with Mark Twain/Sam Clemens. Caldwell did not seem biased one way or another, instead, he was trying to present Twain very fairly.  The article would be a good starting point for any in-depth biography of Mark Twain, but since it’s so short, it couldn’t be used as a main reference.

Estate of Mark Twain (2006).  Biography.  The Official Website of Mark Twain. .

A general history of Mark Twain is presented.  Focus is on his publications. 

The website seems more commercial, as souvenirs are sold on it and liability information about using Mark Twain’s likeness is mentioned on the site.  Since little information is given, the bias is positive and ignoring more recent scholarship.

By not giving a specific name, just the Estate of Mark Twain, this site does not project much in the way of reliability.  It takes only a little searching on the site to find the webmaster and copywriter, but those are for the domain, not the specific pages. With the exception of the photos posted, it is not a good resource.

Frothingham, B. (2012). Mark Twain or higher: The Monitor and the Merrimac revisited.  The Journal of Civil War History, 11, 125-129.  doi: 10.HGH12120000001.

This article talks about new archaeological findings concerning the battle between the two ironclads, the Monitor and the Merrimac.  The evidence for the author’s conclusion comes from eyewitness accounts as well as shrapnel found where the battle took place.  The focus is on the strategies used in the initial attack.

This was written in plain, everyday English and for a general audience who might not be too familiar with this epic naval battle. Frothingham was definitely biased in favor of the North in this article, which was easy to see with her choice of adjectives.  While it provides background on the war, it has nothing to do with the author Mark Twain—the reference is to the depth needed to clear the river bottom for the battle—and will not be used in the paper.

McTavish, R. (1991). Mark Twain and the new American novel.  Syracuse, NY: Bell Jar Publishing.

This book concentrates on Mark Twain’s writings and other writers of that time.  The author uses Huckleberry Finn as an example and compares everything to that. Also detailed are Twain’s short stories and how his use of dialect helped American authors find a real voice.

This book was written for an academic audience, which can be seen from the long, complicated sentences and difficult vocabulary used.  The author obviously believed Twain was the Great American Author and was biased in his favor.  This will be very useful for the literary analysis of Mark Twain’s work.