The essay needs to be 3 pages in length. You will cite the short story you are analyzing on a Works Cited page. Short Story Analysis
Due Date: June 18, 2020
For this assignment, you will select a short story from among those assigned and make an interpretive argument that identifies what you think the short story is doing, meaning, suggesting (in other words: what you take to be the story’s theme—or one of them).
• What I mean by identifying a theme: “Alice Walker’s story suggests that growing up is a process of leaving home and learning to see the world as it really is.”
• What I don’t mean by identifying a theme: “The theme of Alice Walker’s story is innocence.”
The key here is to aim for specificity. Avoid naming one- or two-word abstract concepts as your theme. Instead, develop a full sentence that describes what the story is saying about that one or two-word concept.
In order to support your argument about the story’s meaning, you will need to analyze how the story creates that conclusion or takeaway. That means, you’ll need to take a look at some of the features we’ve been discussing: plot and conflict, narration/POV, character, setting, symbol, and figurative language.
Each body paragraph should strive to follow the MEAL plan:
Main idea. Start the paragraph with a sentence or two that lays out the claim (i.e., the argument) you’re making in the paragraph.
• This is an analytical claim: “The story’s first-person narration encourages the reader to feel empathy for Sylvia that might otherwise be missing.”
• This is not an analytical claim: “The story is written in first-person narration from Sylvia’s point of view.”
Evidence and Analysis. Bring in evidence to support your main idea by summarizing, paraphrasing, describing, and directly quoting your chosen short story. But remember: evidence doesn’t speak for itself. Readers understand a story in many different ways. Each piece of evidence will need to be analyzed, explained, reasoned through—unpack your thinking!—so you can convince the reader what it means, how it works, and/or why it’s significant. Almost always, you will need to spend more words trying to explain/analyze your evidence than you will on introducing the evidence itself.
Link back. Wrap up the paragraph with either: a) a sentence that reconnects to the paragraph’s main idea, b) a sentence that connects the paragraph’s main idea with the thesis of the essay.
Note: this is a brief (3 page) analysis paper, so you will want to narrow your focus in order to give yourself enough space to fully develop and explain your thinking. A good analysis concentrates on details. The mantra to keep in mind: “say more about less.” Develop a thesis that you can support with specific textual evidence + plenty of thorough, well-developed commentary.
Your paper should also:
• Begin with a scholarly title that identifies the focus of your paper. For example: Rejection in William Faulkner’s “ A Rose for Emily”
Please, please, please: don’t write “Short Story Paper”! Titles ≠ Names of assignments
• Include an introduction paragraph that contains:
o the title of the story and the author’s name, preferably by the second sentence or so
o a brief overview of your paper’s focus that includes any particularly relevant information that the reader might need (no lengthy plot summaries allowed)
o a clear thesis statement that states the main claim of your paper
strike a balance between specificity and concision
• Avoid fluff—everything in your paper should work to support your analytical thesis. Do not try to gain length by providing a detailed plot summary or biography of the author.
o Note: occasionally summarizing the plot (briefly) may be necessary to support a point you are making for your reader—but you will keep this brief and only when useful/necessary to the point are you making
• Avoid overly informal language; this is a college-level, academic paper. That character’s decision was not “half-assed”; it was “careless,” “ill-considered,” or “not well thought out.”
• Avoid grammatical errors, misspelled and misused words. Proofread carefully. Then proofread again. Then ask a friend to look it over or set up an online appointment with the Writing Center!
• End the paper with a conclusion paragraph that
o briefly recaps your main points
o mentions your thesis again (without restating it too closely)
o ends with a final insight or takeaway about your topic, a thought for the reader to chew and consider
Length & Formatting:
• minimum of 3 pages (not including Works Cited), double-spaced
• MLA format: 12 point, Times New Roman font, one inch margins, header on first page, last name and page numbers top right, Works Cited at the end
Sources: You will support your argument using the primary source (your chosen short story). You will cite the story according to MLA, on a Works Cited page at the end of your paper.
MLA Works Cited Templates
Work in an Anthology
Last name, First name. “Title of Story.” Title of Collection, edited by Editor’s Name(s), Publisher, Year, Page range of entry.
PDF on Blackboard
Last name, First name. “Title of Story,”
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