Pick a short (“A Good Man Is Hard to Find” or “Drinking Coffee Elsewhere”) analyzing, and annotate it. To annotate means to underline, highlight, and make brief notes to yourself about anything that
strikes you as significant: character, setting, plot, language, point of view, theme, symbols, irony, imagery, etc.
Next, look over your notes for patterns. Pay attention to any ideas that were repeated, or choose which
of your annotations is most interesting (i.e. what idea you want to examine and analyze). Pick whichever
observation intrigues you.
Now write four or five main idea sentences that generally state what you have observed or discovered.
Choose the best attempt, and continue to refine it. This will be your thesis statement. Remember that a thesis statement is different than a topic. A thesis statement should relate one element (or several elements) of the story to the entire text. Also, be sure that your thesis isn’t too narrow—remember the minimum length.
Review the “Questions for Responsive Reading and Writing” in Chapter 31, Writing about Fiction (pages
1106 – 1113 in Literature to Go, to get an idea of the types of things to discuss in your analysis.
YOU MAY NOT USE ANY OUTSIDE SOURCES FOR THIS PAPER. IT’S JUST YOU AND THE TEXT.General Format (AKA Pre-Requisites):
Use MLA format for the paper:
Typed and double-spaced, 1” margins all around the page, indent each paragraph, first-page heading in upper left corner, double-spaced, just like in the sample “A&P” essay (pg. 1111), use a “boring” 12 point font—nothing fancy, nothing bold or italicized, paper title should be centered, not underlined, not bold, double-spaced down from the heading, each page should have your last name and page number in the upper right corner, just like the
sample “A&P” essay on pages 1111 – 1113. Example: Smith 2
• include a Works Cited page for the story you’re discussing (see sample “A&P” one on p. 1113), at least 750 words but no more than 1,000 words, include at least ten direct quotes from the story, using in-text citations with page numbers.r Essay:
The introduction should be one to two paragraphs (¶s) and should identify the work, the author, and
your thesis. Try to make it interesting—use a quotation, question, etc. to grab attention.
The body will be approximately four to six ¶s. This is where you will use specific examples from the story
to support your thesis. You must include at least TEN specific quotes from the story in your analysis. Your
opinion/ideas are justified only once you have used the text to support your claims. Think of all of the elements
(buzzwords) you’ve learned; these are your tools. Using these buzzwords in your essay proves to me that you
know what they mean and can utilize them.
If you prefer, you can choose to discuss how some of the following elements work to develop and
reinforce the story’s THEME:
Plot Character(s) Irony Diction
Setting/Atmosphere Point of View Tone Symbolism
You still need to use at least ten specific quotations in your paper. But this may make it easier for some of you to
conceptualize how to ANALYZE your story. Not all of these elements will be covered equally in your paper,
because some will be more important than others. However, the ones that you choose should be important to
your thesis and not just “mentionable.” Try to focus your ¶s—identify a topic sentence for each, if that helps.
The conclusion will be one to two ¶s and should summarize your thesis. Don’t end your essay by
bringing up new points—the conclusion should briefly repeat the main point of your discussion, but shouldn’t
“parrot” the introduction. You may choose to end with a particularly fitting quotation from the text.Do not use “I” or “me” or “you” or “we” in this essacixy. Keep a detached third person perspective.
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