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Textual Analysis--Sadler

All writing has a purpose. Sometimes that purpose is simply to entertain the reader, but more often it goes beyond simply entertainment. Writers of the short story have as their general purpose the telling of a story. However, they have many means through which to tell that story to their audience. They may use a material object in the story to represent some larger social or psychological issue. They can tell the story in a chronological order or move back and forth between the past and present. But all these structural devices are used to invoke particular feelings and thoughts in the audience. Writers' purposes are as varied as the writers themselves, but writers, just like you and me, are always influenced by their own cultural surroundings, experiences, and philosophies, which can often be inferred from the texts. Stories, whether they are short, like Momotaro, or longer works like The Lord of the Rings, always have some literary theme(s). Some of the well-known themes that are often seen in literature include the importance of family, the power of love, the danger of love, the journey of discovery, etc. There are, of course, an almost unlimited number of variations on just these few basic themes, and more than one theme is often seen in a single work. In The Lord of the Rings, for example, one of the main themes is that power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely. The importance of friends and their loyalty is one of the many other themes seen in that novel. Your assignment is to choose one theme that you discover in any of the fables that we have read in this section of the class and to trace that theme in either one or over several of the fables. If you examine one of the longer fables you should focus on just that fable and, perhaps, limit your examination of the theme to how it develops with one character. You will want to start by exploring what the author was trying to say in this story to his or her audience (or, indeed, deciding who the author of a fable such as this one really is). That is, to interpret it. As you do so, you will begin to focus on particular elements of the text, e.g., the way children are portrayed in the fables we have read. Focus in on these elements and think about what the author was trying to say to his or her audience. This is a good way to start to really see some of the themes that are in the fable(s). In a literary analysis of a short story, a critic can focus on any aspect of the complex relationship among the writer, the audience, and the story in order to discover why the story was written as it was written. The critic focuses in on a particular aspect of the text (the textual evidence) and explains what is significant about it. Using outside sources other than the fable is not required for this paper and I dont really recommend that you attempt to do so given our time limitations. What I am looking for is that you are able to correctly identify a theme in one or more of the fables and to show how a character (or characters if you examine short fables) interacts with that theme. Using the Lord of the Rings example again, you would need to show how the character Sauron is connected to the theme of man playing God. You would give concrete examples from the text that show him illustrating this theme, and you would then explain how this shows your point. Rough Draft: Typed, double-spaced; should be around two pages. Final Draft: Typed, double-spaced; around three pages (given the nature of the assignment you REALLY should not need to go longer than this- I am looking for a clear focus rather than a shotgun approach. Also include in folder rough draft, all other materials used for paper, and copies of ALL of your drafts on disc.