Instructions for Literary Analysis Instructor: Elizabeth Lenherr Due Date: Feb 29 2012

During the course of the semester so far we have been learning various ways to read and interpret or analyze literary texts. Something we have discussed is that all literary texts are open to different interpretations, and it is possible for one literary text to have more than one meaning, purpose, or interpretation. However, we have also discussed the fact that some interpretations are more effective than others. The difficult question is: is there an interpretation or point of view that is more logical and complete than another? With this question in mind, you are to produce an essay which includes logic, analysis, critical thinking, and textual evidence as a way convincing your reader of adopting a position or point of view on a particular literary element within a text. How do you view this literary element? Why do you view it that way? Why is your view superior? The greatest challenge of this paper comes in the incorporation of textual evidence. Any claim made in the paper must be accurately supported by evidence found within the short story of your choice. Your analysis must be based solely on the literary text of your liking. You may incorporate an idea you have already started to analyze on your blog. However, other forms of ³evidence´ such as personal opinions, personal experiences, information from other sources such as websites, journals, or databases, must not be incorporated into this paper. HOWEVER, if you research a website to help support your analysis YOU MUST PROPERLY CITE AND REFERENCE THE SITE OR YOU WILL RECEIVE A ZERO (0) FOR PLAGIARISM!!!

What are the steps for writing a literary analysis paper? 1. 2. 3. 4. Define your audience: Who is/are the reader(s) of your paper? Who are you trying to convince? Choose your literary text & focus: Choose the text of your liking and decide which literary elements you find interesting to explore. (ex: character(s), plot, symbols, irony, setting, etc) Develop a theory or interpretation: Devise a specific and original theory or interpretation using the text and focus you have selected. Actively read your text: Read your selected text multiple times. Look for specific evidence that supports your interpretation & analysis. Carefully consider whether you can find enough evidence to support your claims and whether you will be capable of convincing your reader that your interpretation is superior. Capture your audience¶s attention: Make sure the title of your paper grabs your reader¶s attention. You might also want to consider opening your introduction with an effective hook (an opening sentence that invokes interest, speculation, or a struggle of opinions within the reader). Disprove the opposing argument: Consider the possibility of discussing why your position/stance is better than other stances and present evidence for why you believe so. For example, if you want to argue that the protagonist from Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily" is a necrophiliac, how would you counter-argue against those who believe that she didn't sleep with the dead body of Homer Baron? Reinforce your interpretation: Remind the reader about your main idea, theory, or focus; explain why your point of view is logical and/or valid. Rewrite and revise: Read and rewrite your paper many times. Be sure that the main idea is conveyed and defended consistently throughout the paper. Be sure to be extra careful with grammar, language use, and the organization of your ideas, and be sure to focus solely on the topic you devise.



7. 8.

Readapted from Matos 2011

Further Instructions After developing your original topic, you will write a literary analysis paper consisting of 500-700 words (ideally 23 pages in MLA format plus a ³Works Cited´ page). It is required that you use at least two (2) sources for this paper, which should be the short story that is discussed in your topic and one academic article found within the JSTOR database. You may also include evidence from a website as long as it is a valid source and as long as you document the source correctly. The paper must incorporate at least two quotes or paraphrases from the text discussed in the topic as evidence to the claims made in the literary analysis paper, and at least one quote or paraphrase from the journal article of your choice. The final draft of the paper will be evaluated according to the rubric that is attached to this document. All papers must be printed out, stapled, and turned in before the established due date. Electronic versions of the paper sent through email, as well as papers with cover sheets, colored paper, or stickers, will not be accepted.

Important Details to Keep in Mind  The paper must be objective and it must also make use of true and logical evidence.  The paper must have a clear thesis/interpretation that should be supported by the arguments presented in the body of the paper. Be creative when it comes to selecting an approach. An unoriginal approach to a topic is perhaps the easiest way to obtain a poor grade for this paper (obviously, besides plagiarism).  Make sure that your thesis statement is in the introduction, and please underline it.  The paper should include a creative title and opening sentence that captures the reader¶s attention.  The paper must be formatted according to MLA guidelines. Font should be Times New Roman size 12.  The paper must consist of 500-700 words, and should have of a minimum of four (4) paragraphs.  The paper must include a ³Works Cited´ page with all the sources used in your essay. Do not put a source in your ³Works Cited´ page if you did not cite or paraphrase it in your essay.  Ideas must be presented in a clear and organized fashion, and must contain few grammatical errors.  Avoid the use of long quotations, and avoid summarizing the text that you chose. You goal is to analyze and critically approach the text; assume that your reader is an expert on the short story you are discussing.  Please be sure to mention the author and the title of the short story you chose in the introduction.  No new ideas should be discussed in the conclusion; no evidence should be incorporated in the introduction.  Students are encouraged to use dictionaries to look up certain words. However, the use of online or computer translators (such as Babelfish and Google Translate) is strictly forbidden.  Students having difficulties with the paper are encouraged to visit the English Writing Center for individualized assistance that is free of cost. Keep in mind that the writing center tutors (and the instructor) are not editors, and they will not write your paper for you nor correct every single mistake your paper has. On the contrary, they will evaluate your paper as a whole and give you guidance/help in terms of the flaws, disruptions, or discrepancies that they may find in your essay.

Late papers will be accepted, but keep in mind that ten (10) points will be deducted for each day it is late, including weekends. Remember that this paper will not only measure how much you understood a particular text, but it will also measure your ability to make generalizations and interpretations of a specific literary element within a particular short story.

Literary texts which may be used for this paper 1) 2) 3) 4) Shirley Jackson¶s ³The Lottery´ William Faulkner¶s ³A Rose for Emily´ Kate Chopin¶s ³The Storm´ Edgar Allan Poe¶s ³Tell-Tale Heart´

Readapted from Matos 2011

Prompts Here is a list of prompts and questions that you can explore in the literary analysis essays. Feel free to choose the prompt that you most feel comfortable addressing, and make sure that you will be able to find the textual evidence necessary to discuss the topic chosen. In addition, remember that not all issues are ³black and white.´ Feel free to explore any grey areas that you might encounter when answering these questions.


What ideologies are present within the literary text? How do these ideologies harmonize or conflict with the ideologies of your society? Do you agree with the ideology portrayed in the text? Discuss. 2. What is the importance of the setting of the story? How does the setting influence the overall tone, mood, or message of the story? Remember that setting includes details such as time, place, and atmosphere. 3. What is the significance of a story's title? How does the title relate to the story, and how does it influence your interpretation? Do you think the title is an effective one? Discuss. 4. Carefully considering all of the factors and outcomes of the text that you chose, do you consider it to be optimistic or pessimistic short story? Why so? Discuss. 5. Does the story present any foreshadowing? Can we predict something before it is mentioned? 6. Is there a particular pattern or symbol that is constantly used? What is the purpose of that symbol? 7. How does the language of a story affect its interpretation? What is the purpose of the language? 8. What are the motives of the story¶s protagonist? How does the character¶s behavior influence the actions (s)he commits in the story? 9. Is the protagonist of the story round (dynamic, goes through a change during the story) or flat (remains unchanged)? 10. Free topic: You are free to choose any other topic that you are interested in exploring as long as you discuss your idea with me beforehand, and as long as I deem that the topic is worth exploring.

Readapted from Matos 2011

Grading Rubric: Literary Analysis Papers
Area Main Idea or Interpretation ---TEN (10) POINTS Excellent The main idea or interpretation of the paper is specific, precise, clear, and well-planned. (10 ± 9 POINTS) Content ---FIFTEEN (25) POINTS Ideas are clear and thoroughly explained. Provides a balanced amount of details and textual evidence. Demonstrates an arrayed use of English vocabulary. (25 ± 20 POINTS) Development ---FIFTEEN (25) POINTS The paper follows an organized structure and connects ideas using effective rhetorical strategies. The introduction opens up the topic appropriately, and the conclusion provides complete closure. (25 ± 20 POINTS) Grammar and Orthography ---TEN (15) POINTS Demonstrates artful command of intermediate English vocabulary. Few or no grammatical errors. (15 ±13 POINTS) General Essay Rules ---TEN (10) POINTS Follows all of the rules given for this essay (word limit, instructions, selection of texts, etc.). (10 ± 9 POINTS) MLA Format ---FIVE (5) POINTS Follows all of the standard MLA guidelines (quotes, Works Cited, spacing, etc.) (5 POINTS) Previous Draft ---FIVE (5) POINTS A previous complete draft reviewed by a classmate was included with the final draft. (5 POINTS) Presentation ---FIVE (5) POINTS Good The main idea or interpretation is somewhat clear, and it lacks specificity and preciseness. (8 - 6 POINTS) Ideas are clear but lack supporting evidence and details. Certain words are repeated constantly. Provides a somewhat balanced amount of textual evidence and details. (19 ± 15 POINTS) The paper lacks an effective and organized structure. The introduction briefly opens up the topic. The conclusion leaves some questions or suggestions unanswered. Some ideas seem disconnected and lack rhetorical strategies. (19 ± 15 POINTS) Demonstrates good command of intermediate English vocabulary. Some errors distract the reader. (12± 9 POINTS) Follows most of the rules given for this essay (word limit, instructions, selection of texts, etc.). (8 ± 6 POINTS) Fair The main idea or interpretation is unclear, and/or it is too general and imprecise. (5 ± 3 POINTS) Ideas lack clarity and supporting details. Ideas are disconnected from the main idea or interpretation of the short story. Vocabulary is too basic and lackluster. Provides weak evidence. (14 ±10 POINTS) Essay jumps from one idea to the next without creating effective connections. The introduction does not present any idea or context for the paper. The conclusion does not provide sufficient close, and leaves many questions unanswered. Unorganized. (14 ± 10 POINTS) Demonstrates basic knowledge of English vocabulary. The grammatical errors confuse the reader. (8 ± 5 POINTS) Follows a couple of the rules given for this essay (word limit, instructions, selection of texts, etc.). (5 ± 3 POINTS) Poor The paper lacks a main idea or central interpretation. There is no point being made or defended. (2 - 0 POINTS) Total lack of clarity. Lacks the basic elements of a literary analysis paper. Demonstrates a limited use of vocabulary and incorporation of ideas. Evidence is irrelevant. (9 ± 0 POINTS) Ideas and evidence are random and incoherent. The paper demonstrates a complete lack of thoughtfulness and organization. Completely lacks the use of rhetorical strategies, and the reader constantly feels lost. (9 ± 0 POINTS) The paper is unreadable due to the vast amount of grammatical errors present within the paper. (4 - 0 POINTS) Follows few of the rules given for this essay (word limit, instructions, selection of texts, etc.). (2 - 0 POINTS) Follows few of the standard MLA guidelines (quotes, page number, spacing, etc.) (0 POINTS)

Follows most of the standard Follows some of the MLA guidelines (quotes, standard MLA guidelines Works Cited, spacing, etc.) (quotes, paging, spacing...) (4 ± 3 POINTS) (2 ± 1 POINTS)


A previous draft that was too No previous draft was incomplete and/or not included with the final draft. reviewed was included with the final draft. (2 POINTS) (0 POINTS)

The student orally presented the main argument and findings of the paper in front of the class on the day that the essay was due. The student does not need to read the paper in order to discuss these notions in front of the class.

Student: ________________________________________

Total Amount of Points: ______ Final Grade: _____

Overriding Criterion (Originality and Authenticity): If it is determined that the academic paper was plagiarized (in part or in whole), downloaded from a webpage, translated using an online computer program, written by another person, originally written as a requisite for a previous class, or created/obtained in any manner that violates the intellectual or academic integrity of the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus, the student will automatically receive a grade of F (0 points) on this paper. Depending on the gravity of the situation, the student might face being reported to the appropriate academic authorities.

Readapted from Matos 2011

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