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A literary analysis is an argumentative analysis about a literary work. Although some summary is needed within the argument of a literary analysis, the objective is not to write a report about a book or story. Instead, a literary analysis discusses a writer’s interpretation of a text through careful examination of the author’s choices within the text: word choice, themes, motifs, as well as many other literary devices. The writer uses portions of the text, as well as his or her reasoning, to demonstrate how the evidence supports the interpretation.

For this assignment, you will be given three questions to study. Out of these three questions, you will choose ONE to answer within the first module’s period. These questions will primarily deal with a short story’s theme, and you will be graded on how well you analyze how the elements of a work correlate to a work’s overall theme. Analyze these works through the key terms you have learned throughout your readings: Structure/Form, Point of View, Setting, Atmosphere, Characters, Imagery, Symbolism, Tone, and Language. This essay should be a

minimum of two full pages.

Not having at least two full pages will severely hinder your grade. In my experience, two pages may not be enough room to explore all of your argument in the essay. I encourage you —more like, urge—to go beyond the two page minimum.

Here are the three questions you may choose:

In Shirley Jackson’s “The      Lottery”, Jackson uses symbols, setting, and story structure to highlight      her multiple themes of scapegoating the ills of society on societal      outcasts/misfits, the dangers in participating in traditional rituals, and      how salvation through violence is not true salvation. Choose one of these      themes and write an essay that argues for or against the importance of      your chosen theme in the story’s central conflict.

In Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is      Hard to Find”, the author focuses, in the end, on a crucial confrontation      between a woman (the grandmother) and a man (the Misfit). Write an essay      that argues for or against the importance of gender in interpreting the      story’s central conflict. You may also want to consider other characters      in the story in developing your argument.

Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use”      deals with an underlying argument about cultural heritage and the tension      created from society’s definition on what is and isn’t important in one’s      culture. Write an essay explaining how the point-of-view enhances the      theme of the work.

I am giving you these questions so you can spend the upcoming weeks writing an outline or draft and conferencing with me. Do not wait until the last minute to study these works. Remember, I will be looking for your use of the keywords you learn in the text. Make sure you are formatting these essays in MLA format, 12-point Times New Roman font, and double spaced.

Grading Criteria

: Upon the completion of this assignment, students should demonstrate the ability to:

Clearly summarize a literary work.

Write a clear thesis

Support that thesis with well-paragraphed details

Analyze ways in which you use the text as a type of evidence

Create a conclusion that is suitable for a short essay

  
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