Select Page…^ this is the link for the articleThe essay needs to be 4-5 pages MLA format about this story. You will need two outside sources with citations within the paragraphs. Along with a work cited page.

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English 103
Essay #2: Short Story Analysis
Choose a short story from this list and write a 4-5 page analysis of your subject. Your thesis should put
forward an arguable interpretation and/or evaluation of the text’s impact or significance based on a close
reading of the short story. For a close reading, I recommend that your print the story and read actively (with
pen and/or highlighter in hand), marking things you notice and writing notes in the margins. Make inferences
about the intention of the writer based on their construction of tone, mood, and figurative language.
In our first essay, we used critical thought to analyze a non-fiction article. Now we will turn our analysis skills
to a creative fictional story. Rather than talking about premises, conclusions, and so on, you can discuss some of
the following elements:
• Rhetorical devices used by the writer (here is a list of rhetorical devices)
• Figures of speech used by the writer (here is a list of figures of speech)
• Tone and mood of the piece (here is an explanation of tone and mood)
• Structure of the story (here is an article on thinking about short story structure)
• Symbols and imagery used by the writer (here is an overview of imagery and other terms)
• How ambiguity is purposely used by the writer (here is an overview of ambiguity in fiction)
Your essay should:

Have a compelling, original title.
Put forward a thesis that asserts an arguable claim about the text you have chosen. (For more help on
developing a thesis, I recommend watching Thesis Statements: Four Steps to a Great Essay.)
Support your thesis with well-developed and clearly organized paragraphs that develop specific
evidence from your primary text and secondary sources using a balance of clearly attributed and
properly documented summary, paraphrase, and short quotation. (See literary analysis structure tips on
the next page.)
Include your primary source (the story) and at least two additional secondary sources from databases
that support your observations and analysis of the text, such as a scholarly article on your selected
subject, author, or related topic (3 sources total).
Be at least 4 pages in length, submitted in MLA format with in-text citations and a separate Works Cited
This type of paper is considered a literary analysis. If any of you took English 102, you probably did literary
analysis for most or all of your papers in that course. For those of you who are new to literary analysis, I’ve
provided resources and structure on the next page.
Here are some sample thesis statements that could work for an assignment like this.

The “The Cask of Amontillado” finds its significance in exploring the Montresor’s psychological issues
and ambiguous story-telling.

In “The Birth-Mark,” the psyche of Georgiana changes throughout the story, showcasing the decline of
her mental health. This piece of literature shows how love alters one’s perspective, changing completely
the way that someone sees themselves.

The plight of women is creatively expressed in “The Story of an Hour” through imagery and figures of
Literary Analysis Tips
Literary analysis just means that you are analyzing literature, which is what English 102 is all about. You
should still follow essay structure: 1) intro that ends in a thesis, 2) focused body paragraphs, and 3) a
conclusion. But there are a few unique conventions of the literary analysis that may be helpful for you to
Introduction (1 paragraph):
Your intro needs to hook the reader, just like a normal paper would. Since this is a literary paper, though, you
also want the intro to provide relevant background information. After the hook, your intro should include the
author’s name, the title of the story, and a 1-2 sentence summary of the story that names any main characters
you plan to talk about. After that, you want to end your intro with the thesis.
To review, your intro should include:

Hook, such as a startling piece of information, a meaningful quote, a vivid description, or a metaphor

Author’s name

Title: Short stories appear in quote marks, such as “A Pair of Tickets,” and books appear in italics, such
as Heart of Darkness. All major words should be capitalized.

Short summary of the story which names the 1-2 main characters. 1-2 sentences max; don’t go wild.

Thesis: 1-2 sentences stating your overall argument.
Body Paragraphs (1 or more paragraphs):
Your body paragraphs will provide evidence of your thesis. In English 101, you might have made arguments
using a researcher’s quotes or studies to make a point. In literary analysis, however, your main evidence is the
text itself. So your “evidence” will be quotes from the stories or a paraphrase of dialogue or action.
A body paragraph will include:

Topic Sentence: The first sentence will state the paragraph’s main point (it should support your thesis).

Context of the Quote/Paraphrase: You are about to use something from the text as evidence, so make
sure you properly introduce it. Tell the reader who is speaking (if it’s a quote) and what is happening in the
story at the moment you are going to talk about.

Quote or Paraphrase: If using a quote, introduce with a signal phrase. Make sure to use MLA in-text
citations for quotes and paraphrase.

Commentary: Your interpretation of the quote/paraphrase and how it connects to your topic sentence.
Clincher: The last sentence of a body paragraph in a literary analysis often tries to tie everything
together and connect it back to the thesis.
You do not have to follow this exact format every single time, but it can be a helpful guide.
Conclusion (1 paragraph):

Restate your thesis in new words

Discuss the greater significance of your argument
Works Cited:
After you finish the paper, go to a new page and list any sources on a Works Cited page. Follow MLA
Other Resources:
Here are a few other helpful resources on organizing/writing a literary analysis paper:
Sparknotes’ Overview of How to Write Literary Analysis
In-Text Citation Tips
Remember to use the proper information when paraphrasing or quoting a text. When quoting a copy of the text
that has page numbers, you need to include the author’s last name and page number. Both the electronic
textbook and the hard copy have page numbers. You can do this two ways:
1. Include author’s last name in the signal phrase before the quote and put page number at the end.
Tan shows the connection between setting and Jing-mei’s personal development when the narrator states,
“Quote” (350).
2. Include both the author’s last name and page at the end.
As the main character states, “Quote” (Tan 350).
Common Mistakes:
Please note that MLA does not use commas or an abbreviation for page like p. This is not correct: (Tan, p.
Also, MLA does not include the first name of the author in parentheses, so this is also not correct: (Amy Tan
Finally, please note that the period comes after the parentheses, not before, so this would also be incorrect:
“Quote.” (Tan 350) Also incorrect is the double period mistake: “Quote.” (Tan 350).
What If There Is No Page Number?
Some of you may be using a webpage to read the story for one reason or another. In that case, you will need to
just use the author’s name. It can appear in the signal phrase or at the end of the sentence. Examples:
Tan shows the connection between setting and Jing-mei’s personal development when the narrator states,
As the main character states, “Quote” (Tan).
More MLA Resources
Of course, your paper needs all the normal things an MLA paper needs: 1 inch margins, 12 points Times New
Roman font, double spacing, etc. Your Works Cited should go on a new page. English 101 should have made
you familiar with the conventions of MLA, but if you have forgotten them, review the resources found in the
Week 0 Module.

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