The purpose of this assignment is to get you to start thinking about short stories in a
way that moves beyond simple plot summary. You will begin to put into use the
interpretive strategies that we have been using in class to discuss short stories we have
read. You will have to form an opinion that you have about the essay and try to
persuade your audience to believe it.
Choose a story. It can be one we have covered in class or another of your choosing. If
you pick a story we have not read, be sure to run your choice by me before you start the
Write an analysis or explication of the story based on a thesis of your own formation.
You may choose one of the following approaches: pick one literary aspect of the story to
analyze (theme, symbolism, point of view, characterization, irony, etc.); address a
question raised by the story; or explicate a limited portion of the story.
Remember to present an introduction with a thesis statement (a topic and an arguable
claim) that clearly points out what it is you are trying to prove, a body that has evidence
from the text supporting your thesis, and a conclusion. You may want to refer to the
Purdue OWL website section that focuses on writing about fiction
1. Read the story more than once? The more you study it, the more you will begin to
see, question and understand.
2. Begin to formulate ideas by brainstorming or jotting down ideas.
3. Mark up the text! Underline passages that you consider significant.
4. Determine the subject of your essay and formulate a thesis.
5. Make an outline for your essay.
6. Choose quotations from the story that are relevant, concise, and illustrate your own
7. Avoid plot summary! Assume your reader has already read the story, so do not retell it.
1. Use proper MLA heading and citations.
2. 2-3 pages in length (anything short of the page requirement will fail).
Do not use outside sources for this assignment!!