The Big, Scary Paper
Well, here are some more hints regarding the paper:

-Read the syllabus paragraph closely, it is designed to help you!

-If you have general problems with writing papers, are not used to writing them, don't really know where to start, I would recommend you read through the MLA Handbook from cover to cover, it is written in a very simple style and designed to help students who have no idea how to write a paper, or what a paper even is.

-Regarding the content, I am aware that there are different, i.e. deductive and inductive, styles of argumentation. Let me just say that as long as your paper and your paragraphs are well structured, I don't care.

That said, be aware that I generally believe that a paper caters to the reader, and therefore ought to always
1) let the reader know where in the overall structure of the paper they are,
2) be stylistically appropriate, and
3) show that the author is aware of what they are supposed to do.

Regarding 1):
ideally you structure the text not by headlines or such clumsy instruments, but by having a neat, tight, logical, and developing structure of content. Ask your composition teachers (essay writing courses) on how to do this. A good book is Strunck&White, as noted on your syllabus, they explain a lot. A neat trick is this: you start out with a million headlines, sub-headlines, and so forth. Go all the way, be at if you want. Then, turn each of these headlines into a phrase, or sentence WITHIN the flowing text, and only keep the most central headlines. This way, you can easily compose the text and put in all your sources, then later have a polished text that looks as if you had this layout in mind as you wrote the text (which would be the ideal, but that takes a lot of practice. If you can do that, way to go and ignore the above-said).

Regarding 2):
a paper is not a poem, but it is not an instruction on how to build a desk either, make it interesting, but not a romance novel. Be aware that we are often influenced by the texts we read, and they tend to creep into our prose style. If you are working on Hemingway or James that may not be that problematic, but if you read a lot of Melville or Emerson, you may end up with sprawling sentences or ellipsis, which really aren't supposed to show up in academic research papers.

Regarding 3):
show that you know what the topic of your paper is, what it implies, and, more importantly, what it is NOT. You are a student writing a paper on a specific question within the field of research around a specific text or body of texts in literary sciences. You do not have to reinvent the wheel, you do not have to deliver a doctorate thesis, you do not have to convince the professor that whatever they taught is wrong. You do have to show that you know your texts, that you know your topic, that you have a clear thesis you can prove based on text or other evidence, how your thesis relates to the existing body of research, and that you are able to deliver a paper based on established norms in the academic society.

Limit the scope of your paper until it becomes managable. Many topics are in dire need of book-length treatment, but you neither have the time, nor the equipment at this point to write a book. So let us narrow it down. Perhaps there is a specific passage you have in mind, maybe a monologue or a certain application of one topic, so that can help you cut down the scope. It is always better to deliver a thorough, exhaustive, and well-thought through paper one a very specific topic than a superficial scanning or survey of the history of world literature, so use limiting: limit socio-historical topics to specific times, make them synchronic, not diachronic, for example, or exclude other approaches to your topic that pop up in secondary literature you read. The most common way to do that is already present on your syllabus. A paper title often contains a catchy, attention-grabbing general title, like a quote or a controversial phrase, followed by a colon, and then the acutal topic of the paper. Look at some linguistics books, and you will find long, complicated treatments with one single word, colon, and then a five- or ten-line narrowing-down of the topic. You may think, this is too specific, but think again, because these texts can be very long and yet be extremely specific. Any reader will be happy to read a paper that thinks its topic over and over, that really goes in deep and developes one or several layers of abstraction, that finds nuances in the text and delivers good text analysis together with solid secondary literature. A good way to shortcut and abbreviate discussions that are generally referenced with regard to your topic but that you think is not that central to your text is to mention them with a sentence and citation of relevant texts and positions in your footnotes or endnotes.

Unless you are very, very, very creative, assume that what you are working on has been written on by people decades before you were born. So you need to show that you are well-aware of the research that came before you, of the established body of research in your field, that is. So start out with recent articles and books on the subject, note down sources they use and make sure to check them out, especially if they keep referring to them or if the same texts are cited by more than one person or probably is a central text regarding your topic that you should have read. Position yourself clearly with regard to these texts, that is, think about what your thesis is and if you agree or disagree with these scientist, if you change an existing approach or opinion, or if you found a totally different way of thinking about the text. Make sure you point this out and discuss all relevant texts in an academic format (check the MLA for more details).

Have a clear thesis and know what you are saying and what you are not saying. If you become ambiguous, your reader (and in this case the person grading you) will be confused and may misunderstand your paper, possibly entirely misconceiving it and finally thinking it is nonsense.

If possible, recognize the theoretical foundations in which your thesis is rooted (and trust me, there is almost nothing you can say that does not reflect a theoretical or philosophical assumption to some degree). This is important, because you may actually have a thesis that conflicts with your theoretical assumptions, and that will show in the paper. Let's assume, for example, that you think texts are products of their authors, that authors are in control of what they write, and that the text is the precise reflection of the author's intention. This is a highly debated statement, obvious though it may seem, check out poststructuralism for opposition to this idea. Now, if you use one group of critics that also say more or less that, then you are fine, so go ahead and quote Matthiessen, Ransom, Wimsatt, Beardsley. You might, however, work on the imagery in Moby Dick, and find a great text you want to quote that was written by Derrida, Lacan, Foucault, or Barthes. They would disagree with your basic assumption about the nature of writing, writers, and texts. This will almost certainly clash with your argument, even if you don't see it right away. So especially if you try to pimp your paper with a lot of bling theory, make sure you know at least who is friend and foe, and where you stand.

-Last but not least, ask older students, and, of course, the teacher!

Oh, and a note from personal experience. Write down the full citation when you read something that you want to use, and start from the beginning with a MLA citation format AS YOU ARE WRITING! Nothing is more frustrating than to have the dreaded paper formatting behind you and then to have to go in and spend days at the library trying to find that one book where you read that one sentence about that one guy who said something cool. It's not worth the pain, just jot it down on a piece of paper.
You need: Author, Title, Place of publication, Publisher, Year, page numbers (if applicable also: Editor(s), Book and Article Title(s)).