Literary Analysis Essay

Write a 750-1000 word essay performing a literary analysis to reveal theme for one of the short stories from our Supplemental Reading list of weeks 2 through 4.  You may use outside sources to support your points but analysis of theme must be your own work.  Format your essay under MLA guidelines and credit sources (if used) both in the text of your essay and on a bibliography page.

Just as we have been practicing since week 2, understanding literature comes from reading a text closely and drawing meaning from an analysis of that reading.  Such a reading will require you to have a significant grasp of the meaning of individual parts of the story in relation to the entire piece as you sift symbols, elements of plot, and other literary devices that lead us to meaning and understanding.

As stated previously, close reading shows how each part of the text contributes to a unified whole.  Each part of your essay must, therefore, relate to a clear, central idea.   Make sure that you do not simply paraphrase your story.  Use quotes and paraphrasing only in support of original points you are making but use them briefly.  Your own words must dominate this essay.

Work through story from beginning to end as you structure your essay.  Begin with an introduction identifying the primary theme as your thesis statement.  The rest of the paper will be a point by point analysis of how you arrived at that particular understandingproving your theme.  Remember to refer to symbols, images, plot elements, and other devices in support of your analysis.

Note:  When conducting research to discover theme, insure that you are using credible sources (such as the books, magazines, journals, and other print sources available through our librarys peer-reviewed databases), as opposed to commercial web sites (Shmoop, Sparknotes, etc.) that are often incorrect and/or vague about important concepts such as theme.  Students can access library databases directly through our library web site, engage in live chat with librarians online or over the phone, or visit a campus library in person to directly engage with librarians.  Our library professionals are outstanding sources of help and I hope that youll take advantage of their expertise with this important assignment.

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