Essay #1: Short Literary Explication
For Essay 1 – Short Literary Explication Now Due Due Sunday April 12 at 11:59 pm
You can choose any story that you want. You can even select one of the stories that we will read together if you like.
Please choose only 1 story to focus on (this can be a story we read together or a new story).
Here is a website that offers 20 additional stories you can choose from:
To understand the essay assignment, do the following:
- Read the story actively by making marginal notes, underlining important ideas, and writing your first impressions.
- Find the meanings of words that you do not understand.
- Determine what is happening, where it is occurring, and who is involved.
I have attached a sample Student Essay here as an example:
Strategies for Writing About Literature
You should begin your writing about the story you select by first using strategies to discover ideas about the topic. Develop a central idea for your essay and express it in a focused thesis statement, develop a logical plan of organization, and support your thesis with details and evidence from the literary works. After planning your essay, write a rough draft, and revise and edit carefully.
Writing the Essay
Your Two – Three page essay should have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
The introduction should do the following:
- Interest the reader with an effective opener
- Identify the name of the story and author (give author’s full name)
- Introduce your essay’s focus
- Define key words, if necessary
- Present a clear thesis statement
Sample Thesis Statements
Writing a Character Analysis Essay: Katherine Mansfield’s “A Cup of Tea” is a portrait of Rosemary Fell, a self-centered, materialistic, woman, grasping for admiration whose failure to communicate with other people makes her doubt even her relationship with her husband.
Writing a Character Change Essay: Her (Minnie’s) change in character is indicated by her clothing, her dead canary, and her unfinished patchwork quilt.
An Essay focuses on Setting in a story: The forest (in “Young Goodman Brown”) represents Brown’s psychological state during each stage of his journey.
An Essay that focuses on Symbols in a story: The sunset, the winter setting, and the storm symbolize the end of the old man’s good fortune.
An Essay that focuses on Irony in a story: The story’s setting, its ending, and the main character’s thoughts are ironic.
An Essay that focuses on Theme in a story: This idea (loving is an essential part of human nature) is embodied negatively in characters who are without love and positively in characters who find love.
The Body should do the following:
- Have logical organization
- Have unity – present one central idea per paragraph and be coherent
- Provide sufficient information to explain each point in the thesis statement
- Have paragraphs that are unified, coherent, and adequately developed with details and evidence from the story.
The conclusion should do the following:
- Restate the thesis
- Summarize the main points
Sentences should be the following:
- Grammatically correct – have no run-ons, comma splices, fragments, errors in subject/verb agreement or pronoun reference
- Varied in structure and length
- Clear in structure and meaning
Punctuation marks should be used correctly.
When writing about literature, remember to do the following:
- Place quotation marks around the titles of poems, short stories, essays or chapters of a book and italicize the titles of novels or plays.
2. Use the present tense. For example, when explaining what a narrator says, you would write this: The narrator describes the people gathering for the lottery: “Soon the men began to gather, surveying their own children, speaking of planting and rain, tractors and taxes” (233). Notice that the verb describes is in the present tense.
- Incorporate quotes into your writing by introducing the quote as I did above or by blending the quote into your sentence like this: The men discuss “planting and rain, tractors and taxes” (233). Document quotes from the literary works by placing the page number from the prose work in parenthesis and the line number from a poem in parenthesis. Then write the source cited on a works cited page like this example:
Jackson, Shirley. “The Lottery.” Literature – An Introduction to Reading
and Writing. Ed. Edgar V. Roberts and Henry Jacobs. 5th ed.
Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 1998. 233-238.
- Give your essay a title which reflects the content (the type of essay) you are writing.
Remember that your essay should be double-spaced with your name and page in the upper left corner.
Plagiarism: Any student found guilty of plagiarism will receive a 0 for the assignment with no opportunity to rewrite.
Please make sure your paper is not merely a summary of the plot. I already know what happens in the stories.
In addition, when you write about literature, it is best to write in the present tense:
“Goodman Brown goes to the forest and thinks he sees his wife there,”
not “Goodman Brown went to the forest and thought he saw. . .”