Prof. Jonathan Glance
Paper Due: Monday, 11 September, in class.
Draft Workshop: Tuesday, 5 September
Revision Workshop: Wednesday, 6 September
Length: 34 typed pages
This paper will be an independent response to one of the short stories
assigned for class. I want you to select some aspect of that story for
analysis, and write an essay in which you explain why you think that aspect
is significant; in other words, you will argue why an understanding of
that aspect is important for an appreciation of the story. You can analyze
a theme, the method of narration, a symbol, a character, the point of
view, the tone, the setting, etc., but make sure you focus your attention
on a sufficiently limited topic. For example, you could not successfully
analyze in depth the narrator of An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
in a paper of this length, but you could analyze how the narrators
handling of a specific incidentsuch as his ambiguous descriptions
of Peyton Fahrqhars trek homeis significant, and how it contributes
to the overall meaning or tone of the story. A good analysis concentrates
on details: you should quote portions of the story to show how the text
supports your thesis. Then you should offer comments and analysis that
show how the portion youre interpreting contributes to the work
as a whole. As a general rule, say more about less: limit
your focus to a small enough topic so that you can cover it in detail
in this brief paper.
this paper, you should make use only of the story and your own imagination.
Do not consult secondary sources for ideas or theoriesyou will get
to use them later. You may, however, refer to a dictionary.
1) Think about the stories, and select an aspect that
seems both significant and manageable in scope. You might begin by looking
at a key scene or passage, or by examining a passage that seemed puzzling
to you when you first read it.
2) Reread that selection several times, until you have
an idea of its overall meaning or purpose or significance. Jot down notes.
3) Narrow your focus to the aspect of that passage that
seems to you to create the meaning or significance: is it the incident
itself? the style in which the author relates it? what it reveals about
the characters? what it contributes to the structure of the story? something
else? Decide on one of these aspects.
4) Construct a thesis that indicates a) your focus,
and b) the relation of that focus to the story as a whole. You need a
thesis because you are arguing for your interpretation of the story. The
thesis should not be so obvious that your reader will say so what?;
dont settle for trite generalizations. Instead, make a statement
which indicates thought and depth, and which requires support and proof.
Your goal should be to illuminate for the readers some point that they
might not have noticed upon first reading the story.
5) Find evidence in the text to support your thesis,
and organize the rest of your essay around these quotations and examples.
Dont rely on generalizations about or paraphrases of the story to
convince your reader, but provide specific evidence and discuss the importance
of that evidence for your thesis.
6) Conclude your paper by summing up your argument so
that the readers see that your evidence does support your thesis, and
by indicating how your focusing aspect works within the context of the
1) Put quotation marks around story titles.
2) Follow direct quotations with the authors name
(not the editors name or the title) and page numbers from your text,
in parentheses. Close the quotation marks before the citation; put the
end punctuation after it. For example: Thus she passed from generation
to generationdear, inescapable, impervious, tranquil, perverse
3) Always write about literature in the present tense.
4) Your essay should be analytical, and your audience
will be your classmates. Thus you should not waste your (or your readers)
time with plot summary.
5) Your paper should be typed, doublespaced, on
8 1/2" by 11" white paper. In the upper left-hand corner of
your first page, include:
The course and section number
Below this block of information, center your title; begin your text below
that. Use an interesting, informative titlePaper #1
is mildly informative, but completely uninteresting. Number your pages
(after the first) in the top right-hand corner, with your last name and
the page number.
preceptor and I will be happy to discuss ideas for this paper, or examine