For your second assignment, consider all the short stories we will read this semester (Raymond Carver “Cathedral”, John Updike “A&P”, Ernest Hemingway “Hills Like White Elephants”, and Flannery O’Connor “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”) and choose ONE of the following topics for your essay.
1. Character Analysis: Using evidence from the text, analyze what motivates ONE character from ONE of the stories we have read this semester. Remember that you need to support your analysis with evidence from the text. Look at the diction, including the denotation and connotation of the words chosen by the author, look at the imagery, look at the figurative language, look at the plot, look at the internal and external conflicts this character faces, and look at the specific characteristics of this character to determine who they are, why they have done what they have done, what they will do, and what motivates them to make these decisions.
2. Compare/Contrast Two Characters: Compare and contrast the motivations of ONE character from ONE of the stories we have read this semester with ANOTHER character from the SAME story. Remember that you need to support your analysis with evidence from the text. Look at the diction, including the denotation and connotation of the words chosen by the author, look at the imagery, look at the figurative language, look at the plot, look at the internal and external conflicts this character faces, and look at the specific characteristics of this character to determine who they are, why they have done what they have done, what they will do, and what motivates them to make these decisions. Is one character a foil for the other? Is one the protagonist while the other is the antagonist? What effect does one character’s role have on the other’s motivation? These are just a few questions that you can consider as you analyze two characters for your comparison/contrast analysis essay.
3. Theme Analysis: Using evidence from the text, make an argument for what you believe one of the themes is for any ONE of the stories we have read this semester. Remember that you need to support your analysis with evidence from the text. Look at the diction, including the denotation and connotation of the words chosen by the author, look at the imagery, look at the figurative language, look at the conflicts faced by the characters, and look carefully at the plot to determine what observation the author is making. Remember that a theme is not the same as a moral.
Remember that you only need to write on ONE of the topics for your paper, and you should only pick ONE story to focus your paper on. Papers should develop a strong, specific, cogent argumentative thesis statement supported by evidence discerningly chosen from the text and research sources (secondary sources are not required for this essay). Keep in mind as you compose your essay that a literary analysis should deal with analysis of the text and the experiences of the character(s) as opposed to your own similar life experience. In other words, the paper should incorporate specific evidence from the story to support your argument—not personal anecdote. In addition, the paper should be an analysis of the story, not the story’s author. When writing an analysis essay, it is assumed that your reader has already read the story you are analyzing; while a brief summary of the story is acceptable as part of the essay’s introduction, the rest of the essay should not contain any summary. As you develop and draft your paper, remember that any well-crafted essay has a clearly articulated, cogent thesis. The thesis of your paper should respond directly to the topic that you have selected in a very specific manner—one of the primary contributions to the strength of any thesis is specificity. Papers should be composed utilizing MLA formatting and MLA style citation for any sources (primary or secondary; secondary sources are not required for this essay). Papers should be written in 3rd person. Please double-space, use 12 pt Times New Roman, and use one-inch margins throughout the paper. (Microsoft Word does not default to these settings so you will have to manually change the settings for your document.) Completed papers should be between 400 and 600 words (not including any words on the Works Cited page) as determined by Microsoft Word’s word count tool. Completed assignments should be submitted via D2L as Microsoft Word documents (.docx or .doc). Any other file type will automatically earn a grade of zero.
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