Literary Analysis Assignment
Drawing from the ideas generated in our class discussion, write 850-word (1100 max.) essay that analyzes one of the stories or poems shared in class. Avoid simply summarizing the text. Instead, assert a position on the meaning of the story/poems, and show your readers how the elements in the story/poems contribute to the overall meaning.
Course Goal and Objectives:
· To demonstrate the analysis processes through the stages of the writing progression
· To understand the importance of specifying audience and purpose and making appropriate communication choices
· To enhance literary skills
· To distinguish how the elements of fiction/poetry work and how/why a writer makes her/his decisions · To develop the ability to research and write a documented paper
· To apply basic principles of critical thinking, problem solving, and technical proficiency in the development of literary analysis
Topic: (Choose one prompt):
· Select a story we have read in class and analyze the decisions the protagonist makes. Think about his/her decisions and whether or not they are followed by any repercussions, and if not, why? Could the author be implying anything significant? Explain. Does the writer want the reader to feel sympathetic for the narrator and/or protagonist? Whether the choice is right or wrong, does the writer allow the reader enough information to see the choice in that light? Explain. Keep in mind the author’s purpose, time it was written, and how readers respond to the stories. As you develop your interpretation, you must explain the functionality of the various short story terms (i.e. plot, conflict, setting, symbols, characterization, etc.).
· For this writing assignment, you are to choose two poems we have examined and write a comparative analysis. Your analysis must examine the functionality of their structures- internal and external. You are also to explain the audience, purpose, and speaker of the poem based on evidence –the text and scholarly sources. You must create a strong thesis statement and be as thorough as possible, but your analysis must explain the authors’ message and how the various poetic elements support your interpretation. Consider the following: Is the poem argumentative or artistic? Who is the speaker? What is the tone? Setting? 2 Formatting (i.e. sonnet, villanelle, free verse) Meter? Rhyme scheme? Could a word or phrase have more than one meaning?
Length1 and formatting: 850 word minimum (1100 max. not including works cited page). Use MLA style for formatting your paper and citing your sources (in a works cited page).
Resources: You must have at least four sources; at least three MUST be peer-reviewed, academic sources (books or journals); you may use a newspaper, magazine or internet source; however, I must approve all websites prior to use. You are not to use Wikipedia, Shmoop, Cliff notes, Spark Notes, eNotes, Book Rags, Wiki Answers, etc. This is a formal literary paper; you may not use first or second person (no “I think,” “I believe,” “I discovered,” “you can see,” “you should understand,” etc.)
For this essay you will be writing to literary critics; therefore, you should assume that they have read the text. Therefore, less than a third of your paper should be a summary of the text.
1. Introductory Paragraphs: Your introduction should
(1) engage the reader,
(2) provide appropriate background information about the text (a brief summary and biographical information), and
(3) assert your thesis. In this case, your thesis will be your assertion of what the intended meaning of the text is: What is the central of purpose of the story/poems?
2. Body Paragraphs (at least 3 points): Each point should include a topic sentence that clearly supports the thesis. Each point should
(1) identify an element of the literary text that contributes to its overall meaning,
(2) briefly describe the element to establish context for your readers, and (3) explain HOW the element conveys or contributes to the central meaning of the literary text. Answering the “HOW” part is crucial to your analysis. It is not enough just to identify the characteristics; you must also discuss how these characteristics create meaning or make a statement.
3. Concluding Paragraph: The concluding paragraph should
(1) evaluate the effectiveness of the text(s) and (
2) lead the reader out of the essay. 1 You are limited to only one block quote (four lines max) for the entire essay, but you must rationalize the quote in your own words as well.
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Literary Analysis Assignment