Assignment: Write a short essay (750 words) that defends a thesis you developed through a close critical reading/analysis of one (or two) works in your Literature book. It can be based on an assigned reading or another of your choice, but it must be a short story for this first analysis. The critical response, or analysis essay, relies on textual support from the primary text (secondary sources are not required) not plot summary to develop the students argument. Do not confuse critical analysis with plot summary; the goal is to develop, sustain, and advance a thesis based on a critique of the primary text.
Remember that a primary source is the actual story or document, and a secondary source is a book or article that comments on the original. For this paper you are to use only the primary source, which will be the Lit book with your story. The idea is to come up with an idea concerning something you noticed or feel about a story or a character. It could also be a question you have about a story. For example, you might have an idea about why a character behaved as she did and use examples from the story to support you ideas.
I have added three documents to this week\’s activities folder. One is a Literary Essay Template; one is a paper breaking down the process of writing a literary essay; and the third is a sample essay showing how yours should be done. If you need further help, feel free to look for additional documents and sample essays at Purdue Owl or at UNC Chapel Hill websites. Also, you can do a search on your own.
What youll be graded upon:
15% Introduction: You establish a context for the significance of your thesis in regards to the literary work as a whole. How does your argument contribute to understanding the authors major literary/thematic concerns? What can other readers learn from your analysis?
15% Thesis: You state your main point (or argument) in 1-2 sentences. The thesis is the culmination of your introduction.
30% Organization. Your essay should follow that of a typical literary critique:
Since your focus must be on analyzing some literary motif, theme, or a combination of literary elements (such as symbolism, character, setting, etc.), your essay must contain well-structured supporting paragraphs that contain a topic sentence, quotes from the primary text (secondary sources are not required), an explanation/discussion of the significance of the quotes you use in relation to your thesis, and a concluding sentence or two that situates the entire paragraph in relation to the thesis. Your thesis will focus on some kind of critical analysis of the primary text, so your supporting paragraphs should be organized around each of the quotes you use, explaining the significance of the quotes and why (or how) they illustrate your main point, but you also need to make sure that your paragraphs contain strong transitions and at least six (or more) sentences.
10% Conclusion: Regardless of the argument you make, you want a conclusion that avoids summarizing what youve just said, and please avoid writing, In conclusion. Your aim in a conclusion is to place the discussion in a larger context. For example, how might your critical analysis of a literary character relate to the other characters in a work? How might your thesis be applied to other aspects of the text, say for example, setting or symbolism?
15% Grammar and mechanics: Your paper avoids basic grammar mistakes, such as dropped apostrophes in possessives, subject/verb disagreement, arbitrary tense switches, etc. The paper demonstrates a commitment to proofreading by avoiding easy-to-catch typos and word mistakes (effect for affect, for example). The paper adheres to MLA formatting style for in-text citations.
15% Presentation: Your paper meets the minimum length criteria of 750 words, is typed with a title and your name on it. You follow your individual professors instructions for formatting (margins, placement of the name, etc).