Major Analysis Essay

Major Analysis Essay

Length: Seven to eight hundred words. (Minimum is strictly enforced. Quotations do not count toward word total.)

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Description: Write a five-paragraph analysis of a short story, poem, or play read or scheduled to be read this semester—aside from “The Story of an Hour” and “The Cask of Amontillado.” Take as your thesis a theme of the text, and use three relevant literary devices (e.g., irony, rhyme, symbolism) to argue for the viability of that theme.
* You may also pitch the instructor an alternate idea for an analysis essay.

Title the essay—the title should complement the thesis and not merely be the title of the text being analyzing.
Write in the third person and in the present tense.
Devise a multi-paragraph structure for the essay, including an introduction and conclusion, and three supporting paragraphs. (Follow the structure suggested by the Literary Analysis Outline.)
In the introduction, establish the subject matter (the topic the thesis addresses, the title of the text, and the writer), and state the thesis.
Introduce supporting paragraphs with topic sentences, and conclude supporting paragraphs with tie-up sentences.
Use the conclusion to indicate why the analysis has been necessary.
Include at least one direct quotation from the text.
Thoroughly integrate evidence from the text.
Use Modern Language Association style for formatting and citations.

Avoid the following pitfalls:
Making the thesis a cliché. (“Hawthorne’s story shows that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”)
Making the thesis an unarguable fact. (“In Baldwin’s story heroin addiction is bad.”)
Making the thesis a prescription. (“O’Connor’s story demonstrates that one should not judge others.”)
Evaluating the text—an analysis does not determine whether a text is “good” or “bad.”
Summarizing the text.

Grading: Essays will be judged on their ability to follow the above guidelines and graded on an A through F scale. Feedback will take the form of grammatical edits and in-text comments, and will be made available in Canvas. The assignment will be graded before the due date of the research essay.

Reference: Composition and Grammar for HCC by HCC – “Integrating Sources”; “MLA Format” (The electronic version of the text does not have page numbers, so use the Table of Contents to navigate.) … The Norton Introduction to Literature – “Writing about Literature (1914); “The Literature Essay” (1918); “Quotation, Citation, and Documentation” (1962)

Essay example

[Your Name]
Professor Frank
ENC 1102
[Assignment Due Date]
Outline for Major Analysis Essay

Title of Essay:
Writer and Title of Short Story, Poem, or Play:

Thesis (Theme):

Point of Development (Literary Device):
Topic Sentence:
Illustrative Quotation:

Point of Development (Literary Device):
Topic Sentence:
Illustrative Quotation:

Point of Development (Literary Device):
Topic Sentence:
Illustrative Quotation:

Some stories and poems already read this semester:

Week 1 Jan. 13 Course Introduction
Jan. 15 Literary Analysis, Short Stories
Reading: “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin (N 568), Writing about
Literature (N 1914), The Literature Essay (N 1918)

Week 2 Jan. 20 No Class (Martin Luther King Day)
Jan. 22 Short Stories cont’d
Reading: “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe (N 173)

Week 3 Jan. 27 Short Stories cont’d
Reading: “The Birth-Mark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne (N 385)
Jan. 29 Short Stories cont’d
Reading: “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner (N 658)

Week 4 Feb. 3 Short Stories cont’d
Reading: “King of the Bingo Game” by Ralph Ellison (N 83)
Feb. 5 Short Stories cont’d
Reading: “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin (N 91)

The Outline for the Major Analysis is due Sunday, February 9, by 11:59PM.

Week 5 Feb. 10 Short Stories cont’d
Reading: “The Lesson” by Toni Cade Bambara (N 146)
Feb. 12 Short Stories cont’d
Reading: “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves” by Karen Russell
(N 265)

Week 6 Feb. 17 No Class (President’s Day)
Feb. 19 Short Stories cont’d
Reading: “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” by Gabriel Garcia
Marquez (N 451)

Week 7 Feb. 24 Short Stories cont’d
Reading: “The House of Asterion” by Jorge Luis Borges (N 277)
Feb. 26 Short Stories cont’d
Reading: “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor (N 516)

Week 8 Mar. 2 Short Stories cont’d
Reading: “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien (N 562)
Mar. 4 Short Stories cont’d
Reading: Excerpts from Voices from Chernobyl (“I want to bear witness”
and “There was a black cloud”) by Svetlana Alexievich (online), “A
Village after Dark” by Kazuo Ishiguro (online), “Borderland” by Olga
Tokarczuk (online)

Week 9 Mar. 9 Poetry
Reading: [The Sky is low—the Clouds are mean] (N 742); [Because I
could not stop for Death—] (N 872); [Wild Nights—Wild Nights] (N
1022); [“Hope” is the thing with feathers—] (N 1023); [After great pain, a
formal feeling comes—] (N 1023); [I heard a Fly buzz—when I died] (N
1024); [My Life had stood—a Loaded Gun—] (N 1024); [I stepped from
Plank to Plank] (N 1025); [Tell all the truth but tell it slant—] (N 1025) by
Emily Dickinson
Mar. 11 Research, Poetry cont’d
Reading: The Research Process (C 359 – 360), Finding Sources (C 363 –
365), The Literature Research Essay (N 1951), “Punishment” (N 933) and
“Digging” (N 1144) by Seamus Heaney

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