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A literary analysis interprets aspects of a literary work.  An analysis does not merely summarize the work; rather, it takes a position and is supported with documented evidence from both the primary and secondary sources. You, the writer, are a critic.



Choose ONE of the following short stories (or one of your choosing) as your primary source.  This essay counts as a double grade because it measures the course outcomes.

Katherine Anne Porter, “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall” (64)

William Faulkner, “Barn Burning” (155)

Jack London, “To Build a Fire” (109)

John Steinbeck, “The Chrysanthemums” (206)

Richard Connell, “The Most Dangerous Game” (Moodle)

Write a 5-6 paragraph critical analysis (over 4.5 pages)in which you analyze/explain how the author uses the protagonist, antagonist, minor characters, conflict, setting, or symbolism to develop the story’s theme.  Each body paragraph must relate to the theme.

Before you begin writing, compose a detailed list of critical observations about the story.  Include significant details, descriptions, and relevant/important quotations that advance the story’s theme.  Then find at least 3secondary sources from the library’s databasesand incorporate pertinent information from them to support your analysis.


Guidelines:Compose your first draft.

  1. Introduction— 7-10 sentences that catch your reader’s attention, including the author’s name, title of the story, and a brief summary of the story to establish a meaningful context for the reader to understand your analysis. The last sentence must be your thesis, which is written as follows:

In “A Worn Path,” Eudora Welty employs the protagonist, conflict, and symbolism to convey Phoenix Jackson’s struggle for her grandson’s life.


  1. Body/argument — Analyze and explain HOW the technique(s) used by the author develop(s) the theme in each body paragraph.
  • Include a focused topic sentence and 3 main pointsof analysis with support.
  • Write 15-20 fully developed sentences with extensive explanation.
  • QUOTE the short story often to prove your analysis.
  • Validate your argument with analysis/quotations from yoursecondary sources.
  • Keep background material and plot summary to a MINIMUM.
  • Use present tense verbs
  • Use transitions for coherence.
  • Include a summary statement to finalize each body paragraph.


  1. Conclusion – 2-3 sentences that make a final observation about your analysis. Never introduce new ideas, or mention new points. Simply conclude your analysis.


  1. Create an interesting title.


  1. Include a correctly written Works Cited page.

Evaluate and revise your draft multiple times:

  1. Set your first draft aside for a day to two before rereading and revising it.
  2. Focus on improving the overall effect of the analysis. Is your essay unified? Is it coherent?
  3. Evaluate the introduction.
  • Does it engage your reader and preview your analysis?
  • Does it clearly communicate your thesis?
  1. Evaluate each body paragraph.
  • Does each paragraph relate to the thesis?
    • Doeseach topic sentence state the main idea of the paragraph and relate to the thesis?
    • Does each paragraphs contain extensive analysis and explanation? Is it fully developed?
    • Does each paragraph include 3 points of analysis that are fully explained with quotes?
    • Does each paragraph use transitional words and phrases to make logical connections between ideas, words, phrases, and sentences?
    • Are there any irrelevant details? If so, eliminate them.
  1. Evaluate the conclusion.
  • Does it revisit the introduction and make a final observation relative to your analysis?


Editing and Proofreading:

  1. Does your essay contain any errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and mechanics?
    • Are your verbs in the present tense and strong?
    • Are your sentences clear and well developed? Are they varied in structure and length?
    • Have you avoided unnecessary words?
    • Have you avoided misplaced modifiers?
    • Have you avoided abstract words, such as nice, very, great, terrific, interesting, awesome, ?
  2. Does your essay follow appropriate MLA guidelines?
  3. Does your essay meet the minimum length requirement?


NOTE:  Your essay must be documented correctly and carefully. Be sure that you handle all the mechanics of quoting and documenting material correctly.  Follow the general format and instructions given in the handouts as well your textbook.


The PROSPECTUS for your Short Fiction Essay is due ______________________.


The FIRST DRAFT of your Short Fiction Essay is due ______________________  at the beginning of class.  No late papers will be accepted.


The FINAL DRAFT of your Short Fiction Essay is due ______________________  at the beginning of class.  No late papers will be accepted.





Last Updated on March 15, 2018 by EssayPro