English Literary Analysis

Literary Analysis Assignment:

Write a thesis-supported essay in which you will demonstrate how two – three readings from our textbook promote empathy, understanding, or meaningfulness as we have been discussing in class. [See “Top Ten Reasons Why Students Need More Literature (Not Less.”)] Your thesis will be supported by evidence you produce from analyzing these works and then emphasized in your concluding paragraph.

(I attached the readings )

Important Note: A literary analysis is an assignment that requires you to choose two to three of the assigned readings and write about what you are learning about how literature connects us to each other. You should use your own words, ideas and interpretations. Do not use outside sources other than a dictionary (and cite it if you do). I am interested in what you have to say about your reading selections, not what someone else has to say about your reading selections. If you have problems with getting started, please call me or e-mail me.

Course Objectives met in this assignment: When you complete this assignment you will be able to:

1) work collaboratively with peers to plan, develop, and carry out writing projects and provide constructive freed back

2) support a complex thesis with details, examples, reasons, and other logical evidence; 3) apply the critical thinking skills of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation to a variety of complex texts;

4) apply Western standards of academic integrity and changing attitudes towards intellectual property through source-based assignments; and

5) draft, revise, edit, and proofread an essay to be proud of.

Specific Essay Requirements:

1. Choose two – three readings (A&P, Eveyday use, How to Date a Brown Girl, Black Girl, White Girl or Halfie, Word Processor of the God ) ( I attached the readings )

2. Use one or two literary tools (e.g. metaphor, character, diction) to analyze the readings and show how they develop a theme.

3. Begin your essay with an introduction that identifies the readings, the literary tool, and the subject. You should get the reader’s interest in your topic by establishing some type of expectation – in other words, you have something worthwhile to say about empathy, understanding or meaningfulness, and you want to the reader to know it. Your thesis should be the last sentence of the introduction.

4. Your thesis support should include at least two, but no more than three examples from each reading to illustrate your perception. These examples should be relevant. It’s your job to show they are relevant; do not assume the reader can read your mind – only the print on the page. You also need to show how the examples work. This is perhaps the hardest part of the assignment, but you have been practicing this with your class discussions, annotations, and mini-essays. You need to use specific details and reasoning to show the reader how your perception developed. Once again, do not assume the reader knows what you mean…put it on paper.

5. Write a concluding paragraph that uses major points from your analysis to show how these readings promote empathy, understanding, or meaningfulness. A summary of your paper’s ideas is not enough.

6. Add a work cited list that includes the poems/stories and any dictionary you have consulted.

The paper should be well-written. This means it is well-organized. Imagine someone reading what you have to say. Look at his/her face while he/she reads it and make sure he/she is following your thoughts. Also, you need to use language well. There should be no grammatical errors and you should choose your words carefully. Try to write in active voice…it’s harder on you, but easier on the reader, and that’s what matters. There should be no spelling or punctuation errors

1. Description of Literary Analysis

(Refer also to Chapters, 7, 11, and 12 in our textbook)

The literary analysis gives you the opportunity to explore in detail one angle of two or three short readings from our text.

The literary analysis involves looking at the reading selections through the lens of a literary tool and discovering how a theme of permanent and universal interest unfolds for the reader.

Themes are ideas of permanent and universal interest, for example love, war, sibling relationships, personal obligation, divine intervention, etc. How a theme unfolds may vary across time and geography. For example, the theme of love has been a popular theme through the ages. However, how that theme unfolds in “Love in Place” contrasts sharply with how the theme unfolds in “A General Review of the Sex Situation.” Your job, as a writer, is to perceive how the theme unfolds, and to show the reader your perception of how the theme unfolds. This might differ slightly from your opinion of love and relationships. For example, you may believe all real relationships are flawed; however, that theme may not unfold in the particular selection you choose to write about…you will have to separate your perception from your belief to show the reader how the poem makes the theme clear to you. You will use specific details from the poem, as well as sound reasoning, to illustrate how you arrived at your perception.

You will need to use one or two (no more) literary tools to show the reader how the theme unfolds. Possible tools include:

· Elements of plot (conflict-crisis-resolution are user-friendly tools) (review the Glossary for elements of plot)

· Character – consider the person in the story as a real person and look at his/her motivation and actions and consequences.

· Imagery – e.g. the use of nature in Robert Frost’s “Design.”

· Allusion – e.g. “amphora” in Marge Piercy’s “To Be of Use.”

A literary analysis is not a summary of a story, nor is it an opinion of a story. You examine the story (or poem) and focus on the theme.



0 – 10 points

Thesis statement

0 – 10 points

Relevant supporting examples

0 –20 points

Explanation of examples

0 – 20 points


0 – 10 points

Coherence & organization

0 – 10 points

Clarity & diction

0 – 10 points

Spelling & mechanical errors

-1 point up to 10 for each error


0 – 5 points


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