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Purpose: This assignment will enable you to discover a short story’s use of elements such as theme, characterization, irony, metaphor, and symbolism. You will conduct a close reading of a short story and discuss the author’s use of these devices in his or her structuring and composition of the content. Applying a close reading and composing a literary analysis will prepare you for the many texts that you will read, summarize, and discuss in your future studies and even the workplace.
Write an essay analyzing one of our stories from this Unit (by Ron Rash, Ken Liu, or Rebecca Roanhorse) that discusses why and how specific symbols, metaphors, uses of irony, or characters are used to depict one of the themes from Unit 1 (Love, Alienation/Otherness, the American Dream/Nightmare, Quest for Identity/Coming of Age, or Conformity/Rebellion) in a particular way. Your essay should incorporate details and quotes from the story, and you should use your own words to elaborate on the meanings of the details and quotes you use as evidence. Follow these steps:
Choose one of the Short Story Selections from this Unit – you can certainly choose a story you focused on in one of the discussion forums, but you don’t have to.
You will closely read (and reread) your chosen story, considering its themes, characters, organization, dialogue, setting, symbols, metaphors, irony, allusions, and other literary elements. Take notes!
To start to compose your working thesis, consider which theme you find most applicable to the story and what elements contribute the most to that theme. How do these elements contribute to the theme? Why did the author choose to use them this way?
Compose your outline. Use the MEAL Plan outline to guide the structure of your paper.
As you flesh out your outline with evidence and original analysis to form it into a complete essay, be specific in your use of details and use well-chosen quotes to support your thesis. Integrate quoted material logically and grammatically, and use parenthetical documentation with the author’s surname. Avoid plot summary.
Be sure to maintain an appropriate academic tone (no slang, second-person [“you,” “we”], contractions, etc.)
Please refer to the Purdue Online Writing Lab for MLA formatting and style guide.
Leave time to submit your draft to Free Tutoring for review. Your tutor can help with thesis and content development, organization, grammar, and mechanics. Utilize this free service to write the best draft possible on this major assignment. Don’t forget that you can submit your draft to Free Tutoring multiple times during the revision process.
Submit your final paper in the Unit 3 Essay: Short Story Analysis dropbox. Remember, your instructor will be able to see your Turnitin results – both your similarity percentage and any phrases or language that appear elsewhere, either online or in Turnitin’s database of prior student work, so ensure that your work is scrupulous in its citations and adheres to the standards of academic honesty.
When writing your essay, the goal is to demonstrate what spin the story has on a particular theme. Be specific about the ways the theme is used and how the story’s use of symbols develops a deeper meaning to the theme. Provide details, including cited direct quotes from the story, but don’t forget that you must integrate the quotes grammatically and logically and comment on the quotes you use to explain why they are significant.
File submissions: Please submit your file as a DOC.X or PDF file.
Criteria on Which You Will be Graded:
The specificity and development of your thesis
Your supporting claims, logic, and organization
The quality of your writing, to include paragraph development and organization: topic sentences, conclusions, transitions, etc. See Starting Your Short Story Analysis Essay.
Your engagement with the text (how you explain your examples, your choice of supporting quotations)
Format: You are required to use current MLA style for all writing assignments. Proper MLA citation and a correctly formatted Works Cited page (12-point font, Times New Roman, double spacing, Last name and page number on each page, etc.). Please refer to the Purdue Online Writing Lab for MLA formatting and style guide. See this sample ENGL 1102 essay.
Academic Honesty (NO secondary sources are needed or encouraged; however, if any external sources are used, they MUST be appropriately cited using MLA 8th edition format). As always, plagiarism is not tolerated. Please ask if you have questions about citation or academic honesty.
Length Requirement: 750-1,000 words
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