Choose any one of the two stories in this week on fiction and write an essay exploring how setting, plot, style, tone, point of view (narrative perspective), characterization, symbol, theme, and context (social, cultural, and historical) have been used. Of course, the purpose of a literary analysis is to persuade a reader that your interpretation of a literary text is both valid and significant.
One of the ways in which a literary analysis achieves these ends is through the articulation, support, and development of a specific idea or claim. To put this in simple terms, your essay should contain a clearly stated thesis (claim), a coherent structure, and an abundance of relevant evidence (textual and otherwise).
The requirements for the essay are as follows:
Essay must be exactly 3-4 pages in length (no more and no less)Essay must be argumentative (persuasive) in natureEssay must use a sufficient number of textual examples–quotations followed by explanation and interpretation–as argumentative supportEssay must adhere to MLA standards and guidelines (see below)Essay must contain a “Works Cited” page(see below)
In addition, here are a few things you should keep in mind as you are writing your essay:
Your essay should contain a well-argued thesis statement (claim)The “body” of your essay should work to support your thesis statement (claim)Your essay should be free of grammatical and punctuation errors
Some Rules for Writing
Include the title and the author you are discussing in the first or second paragraph of your paperAssume your reader has read the story you are discussing but does not remember it in detail. In other words, be sure to provide your readers with enough information (textual examples, etc.) so he or she can follow your analysisWhen you directly quote something, make sure you incorporate the quote into your own analysis. Do not simply stick the quote into the middle of your writing (more on this below)If you use a quote that is longer than four lines (when you type it out), indent the entire quotation and remove the quotation marksUse quotation marks around the title of a storyDon’t plagiarize. Plagiarism is grounds for failing the class and for possible dismissal from the college
MLA Standards and Guidelines Your first paragraph, then, will establish the context for your argument and end with your thesis statement. The body paragraphs will work to prove that thesis statement through the use of examples. And the conclusion will restate the argument based on the evidence presented in the body.
Double-space everythingSet document margins to 1″ on all sidesNumber all of the pages of your essay; page numbers should be inserted in the upper right-hand corner of the page, one-half inch from the top
The First Page
In the top left-hand corner, list the following information (in the following order): your name, my name, course number and section, and dateCenter the title of your essay just below the above list of informationBegin the essay just below your title; indent five spaces
Using Quotations MLA in-text citations are made with a combination of signal phrases and parenthetical references. A signal phrase indicates that something taken from a source (a quotation, summary, paraphrase, or fact) is about to be used; usually the signal phrase includes the author’s name. The parenthetical reference, which comes after the cited material, normally includes at least a page number.
Below is an example of how to properly integrate a quotation into your paper. Notice how this example introduces the quotation, provides the page number for the quotation, and then goes on to explain how the quotation fits into the essay as a whole:
For instance, Gray’s position on the Nixon-Kissinger secret bombings–in some senses the political focus of the text–gets reduced to a cliched and mediated conception of American militarism: “‘But, as Roland reminded me, we’re not living in democracy. Nixon kept saying ‘Bomb, bomb, bomb,’ and the bombs kept falling” (19). To be sure, Gray’s adoption of a postmodern aesthetic in his presentation of historical fact is symptomatic, an obvious and nearly hysterical manifestation of a culture addicted to images, stereotypes, pseudo events, and spectacles.
Works Cited: Make sure to cite your work (pdf version) in the works cited page at the end using MLA format.
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