Short Story Literary Analysis by Levone

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									Short Story Literary Analysis

   This is an essay which will analyze
   the author’s development of theme in
   a short story.
   The introduction must introduce the author,
    the title of the story, provide a brief plot
    summary, state the theme of the story, and
    explain which literary devices the author
    uses to develop the theme. Do not forget
    that the entire essay must be written in
    present tense!!!!
Examples of literary devices:
   How does the author use the following literary devices to
    develop the theme of the story?
   Setting
   Characterization (character’s actions, inner thoughts and
    motivation. Is the character dynamic?)
   Foreshadowing
   Irony
   Point of view (who is telling the story?)
   Symbolism
   Plot (conflict, climax, resolution)
Body Paragraphs
   Each body paragraph must focus on one
    literary device and how the author uses the
    device to develop the theme. For example,
    The conflict in ―The Most Dangerous
    Game‖ reveals the theme that we can not
    understand another’s perspective until we
    have experienced his perspective.
   Each body paragraph must include at least
    one quote and must follow proper format
    for integrating quotes.
   The conclusion must restate the thesis and
    summarize the impact of the theme on the
   This is at least a five paragraph essay.
   Do not use personal pronouns or
   The entire paper must be written in present
   You must use a minimum of three quotes.
Writing a
                   What is
A literary analysis is a type of paper that has the ultimate goal
of bringing some new or greater understanding of the book,
story, or poem. In addition, it is an argument because you are
proposing something original about the text which may not
have been thought of before, or you are adding more to an
existing thesis surrounding the book.
 What does it look
A good literary analysis has the following components:
*It has a solid and unique thesis statement that clearly is arguable. Your
goal is to prove this thesis statement!
*It has a solid introduction, body, and conclusion. It uses effective
transitions and the writer analyzes sufficient textual support from the
*There is at least one bit of meaningful textual support in each body
*It contains a well-formatted works cited page.
              Other helpful tips!
1. Write in the present tense
2. Normally, keep yourself out of your analysis; in other words, use the third
person (no I or you). Some instructors may require or allow the first or second
person in an informal analysis if the usage is consistent, however, so check with
your instructor.
3. Avoid summarizing the plot (i.e., retelling the story literally). Instead analyze
(form a thesis about and explain) the story in literary terms.
6. Do not confuse characters' (in fiction or drama) or speakers' (in poetry)
viewpoints with authors' viewpoints.
7. Support your points with many quotations and paraphrases, but write the
majority of your paper in your own words with your own ideas.
9. Cite prose, poetry, drama, critics, and any other sources used according to
specialized MLA standards. (See the current edition of the MLA Handbook for
Writers of Research Papers or your Writers Inc. books!.)
The following rules about parenthetical documentation can be found in
your Writers Inc books on page 260-263, but here are some highlights!
*Parenthetical references look like this:
       ―Sophomores are in need of more discipline‖(Cohrs 44).

Note: *There is nothing in the parenthesis other than the last name of
       the author and the page number. There is no punctuation of any
       kind, the first name is not mentioned, etc.
       *The period comes after the parenthesis. You do not need to
        keep the punctuation within the quote unless it is a ? Or !.
       *You should use parenthetical documentation for any type of
        citation; either direct (word for word) or indirect (paraphrased).
Some other issues . . .
*If you end a quote before you end your sentence put the parenthesis at
the end of the sentence.
EX: ―Studies show that Sophomores, while cute, can have a really nasty
bite‖ that may infect easily (Santerre 43).

So, why do we do this anyway?
*To give appropriate credit to a source of information.
*To use as a reference for the Works Cited Page that you will learn how
to develop appropriately.
*To learn how to incorporate citation information naturally within the
text rather than disrupting your paper.
Literary Criticism
   Study, analysis, interpretation and history
    of literature.
   Most often found in essay form.
   In-depth book reviews another form of
   Examines an individual work of literature
    or an author’s body of work
Why Use Literary Criticism?
   Act of interpreting literature.
   Authors present works that have multiple
   Readers are expected to consider the
    author’s work thoughtfully – to add
    interpretations of their own.
   Writers and critics create a dialog about the
    literature -- build on each others’
    understanding of the work.
Why Use Literary Criticism?
   Noted authors often have a body of
    criticism attached to their work.
   Critics evaluate and debate ideas of fellow
   Good criticism helps develop a better
    understanding of the work.
   Can develop a point of view about a work.
   May not always agree with the critic’s
Locating Criticism
   Books

   Journals, Magazines, and Newspapers

   Databases

   Websites
Journals, Magazines, and

   The following can be accessed through
    databases in the library or at home with a
      New York Times (accessed through
   GALE: Contemporary Authors & Contemporary
    Literary Criticism -- Biography and literary
    criticism on more than 120,000 U.S. and
    international authors. (Accessed with public
    library card through home access on any public
    library site.) Grinnell Public Library
   GALE: Twayne's Authors Series --Biography and
    literary criticism on more than 600 world authors.
    (Accessed through RCK library databases in
Opinions supported by evidence,
relating to:
   Characterization
   Voice
   Style
   Theme
   Setting
   Technical qualities of the writing (artistry, style, use of
   Interpretation
   Complex ideas and problems
   Relationship of work to the time, social, historical or
    political trends
Getting the most points on
your Literary Analysis Paper
    Read the Directions Carefully

   You must chose two works by different authors that
    have significant similarities as well as differences.
   Only one for Othello or The Great Gatsby
   As part of the assignment, you will quote from the
    primary text as well as include research from
    outside sources
       a minimum of 3 outside sources is required.
   Choose how you are going to analyze the two
    works you have chosen
   #1 - choose a specific literary concept
   #2 – then choose three of the following points:
    character, audience, theme, symbolism, and overall
    message (what is the work saying compared to the
    world, self, other text?).
     Summary versus Analysis
  A summary re-tells a story.
 An analysis examines the cause or effect of an
   incident in the story, compares or contrasts 2
   characters, explains how an event occurred etc…
Ex: Mary had a little lamb
   Summary: Mary had a little lamb. It followed her to
    school. No lambs were allowed in school. The
    children laughed.
   Analysis: one reason Mary may have brought the
    lamb to school was to get attention. All the children
    ―laughed and played‖, making Mary feel at the
    center and popular.
     Title & Introduction
   Clever Title
   Interesting attention getter
   Transition sentences that announce the two works
   Thesis Statement + plan of development
       Remember – the thesis is the LAST sentence in your
     Body Paragraphs
   Topic sentence with transition
   Main points need to be supported by quotes from the
    two primary works and outside sources
   Clear illustration how the quote supports your point
    Using quotes in an Essay
Using a quote requires 3 sentences
1. Your Idea
2. Quote
3. Explanation how quote supports your idea
     Quote Examples
1.  My Idea
 Mary appears to have a fetish for lamb wool
2. Quote
 Dr. Benton states that ― Mary’s proclivity for her
    lamb makes her pet it often and bring it with her.‖
    (Benton 22)
3. Explanation of how quote supports my idea.
 Mary’s constant need to touch and stroke her lamb
    illustrates Mary’s obsession.
   Restate your thesis in different words
   Tells what you’ve learned by analyzing the two
   What did you learn about poetry, short stories and
Creating Your
Works Cited Page
What is a Works Cited page?
   An alphabetized list of all the sources used
    in your paper.
   You need a Works Cited page or you are
1. Determine the type of source.
   Your literature book is an anthology. An
    anthology is a collection of artistic works
    (such as a group of short stories, or a group
    of songs).
Identify the 6 pieces of information needed.
1. Author of the selection

2. Title of the selection
3. Title of the anthology

4. Editor of the anthology
5. Publication information                Publisher,
6. Page numbers of selection
Every quotation should have a reference
     that indicates where you got it.
     I shall not see on earth a place more dear‖
     Line #:
Anytime you quote something, you need to
  give the author’s name and the page
  number the quotation can be found on.

Example- Potok 78

               NO PAGE
If you are quoting poetry, use the line
   number instead of the page number.

Example- Homer lines 68-70
                 Type line or lines so
                readers know you are
                  not referring to the
                    page number
The author’s last name and page number go after
  the quotation inside of parentheses. This is
  called the QUO-PAR-PUNC rule.

 ―I shall not see on earth a place more dear‖
                (Homer line 137).

       QUO=        PAR=       PUNC=
      quotation parentheses punctuation

(See page 128-135 of A Pocket Style Manual)
You wouldn’t wear clothes that only cover
 up the front-side or the back-side of your
  body, so don’t leave your quotation half
                naked either.
Odysseus speaks to Alcinous’ court about
his homeland in Ithaca, recalling,
    ―I shall not see on earth a place more
    dear‖ (Homer line 137).
          Thus, he demonstrates the Greek
value of loyalty to one’s homeland.
Clothe the Front
There are two ways to
begin a sentence that
includes a quotation.
1.  Use a signal phrase.
2.  Integrate the author’s words into your own
Signal Phrases
 A signal phrase indicates that you are
  about to use language that is not your
Signal Phrases
 If you do not show that these
   are not your own words it is
   Signal Phrases
 Polyphemus says of Odysseus,

(See page 120 of A Pocket Style Manual for a list of verbs to use
   in signal phrases)
Example 1
 Odysseus shows that he is an epic hero
  in the Cyclops episode, ―I would not
  heed them in my glorying spirit,/ but
  let my anger flare…‖ (Homer lines
Just adding a quotation to
     the end of a related
  sentence does not mean
    that you have used a
        signal phrase.
Example 1
 Odysseus reveals that he desires the
  credit for his deeds, saying, ―I would
  not heed them in my glorying spirit,/
  but let my anger flare…‖ (Homer lines
Be sure that you do not confuse
  the author, Homer, with the
   narrator, who is sometimes
 Homer, sometimes Odysseus.
Example 2
 Homer shows that Odysseus is an epic
  hero by saying, “I drove them, all three
  wailing, to the ships…” (line 211).
Example 2
 Odysseus shows his loyalty to his
  homeland by forcing his men to
  continue on their journey. He
  explains, “I drove them, all three
  wailing, to the ships…” (line 211).
Example 3
 Odysseus cleverly deceives the
  Cyclops. “My name is Nohbody…”
  (Homer line 360).
Example 3
 Odysseus cleverly deceives the
  Cyclops, declaring, “My name is
  Nohbody…” (Homer line 360).
Example 4
 ―…make fair sacrifice to Lord Poseidon‖
  (Homer line 650). With these words,
  Teiresias helps Odysseus to see that it has
  been his pride that has kept him from
  returning home, and he must admit his
  mistake to Poseidon in order to right the
    Example 4
   Teiresias confirms that Odysseus’ pride has
    kept him from Ithaca, commanding him,
    ―…make fair sacrifice to Lord Poseidon‖
    (Homer line 650). Thus Teiresias reveals that
    the only way for Odysseus to reestablish right
    standing with the gods is to finally
    acknowledge Poseidon’s help in the Trojan
Signal phrases must introduce your
    quote. You are not writing a
   mystery story—don’t make the
   reader guess where your quote
            came from.
Integrate the Author’s Words
      If you choose to
   incorporate the author’s
  words into your sentence,
      the result must be
    grammatically correct.
Example 5
 Odysseus’ sacrifice to Poseidon is the last
  task he must accomplish before his world is
  set right again, ―Then a seaborne death/
  soft as this hand of mist will come upon
  you/ when you are wearied out with rich
  old age‖ (Homer lines 654-656).
Example 5
 Odysseus’ sacrifice to Poseidon is the last
   task he must accomplish before a peaceful
   ―seaborne death/ soft as this hand of mist
   will come upon [him]‖ (Homer lines 654-
Example 6
 The sirens tempt Odysseus, ―The voices in
  ardor appealing over the water‖ (Homer
Example 6
 The sirens’ ―voices in ardor appealing over
   the water‖ (Homer 752) tempt Odysseus,
   leading him to beg his men to be untied.
Example 7
   The sirens’ ―voices in ardor appealing over
    the water‖ (Homer 752) tempt Odysseus,
    leading him to beg his men to be untied.
Example 7
   The sirens’ ―voices in ardor appealing over
    the water‖ (Homer 752) tempt Odysseus,
    leading him to beg his men to be untied.
    As an epic hero, Odysseus never fails to
    succumb to temptation by women, even
    that of the monstrous sirens.
Example 8
   Odysseus’ sacrifice to Poseidon is the last
    task he must accomplish before a peaceful
    ―seaborne death/ soft as this hand of mist
    will come upon [him]‖ (Homer lines 654-
    655). In this way, Odysseus finally
    accomplishes his goal of returning home to
    live happily in Ithaca with his family.
Do Not Refer to the
 Other than naked quotations,
  the most common mistake is
     referring directly to the
Do Not Refer to the
   Teiresias predicts the end of Odysseus’ life
    in the quote: ―seaborne death/ soft as this
    hand of mist will come upon [him]‖
    (Homer lines 654-655).
Do Not Refer to the
   Odysseus cleverly deceives the
    Cyclops, declaring, “My name is
    Nohbody…” (Homer line 360). This
    quotation reveals that Odysseus uses
    intelligence in situations wherein
    strength is not an option.
For Future Reference…
 Quote is a verb
 Quotation is a noun
   1.What is the American Dream? How does Gatsby represent this dream? Does the novel praise or
    condemn Gatsby's dream? Has the American dream changed since Gatsby's time?
   2. Think about the two worlds, the Midwest and the East, as Fitzgerald describes them, and what
    they represent for Nick and for Gatsby.
   3. Compare and contrast Gatsby's social class with that of Tom and Daisy Buchanan. How does
    geography contribute to the definition of social class in The Great Gatsby?
   4. What is Nick Carraway's role in the novel? Consider Nick's father's advice in chapter one:
    "Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, just remember that all the people in this world haven't
    had the advantages that you've had." Does telling the story from Nick's point of view make it more
   5. What part of his past is Gatsby trying to recapture? Is he successful? Is there a person, feeling, or
    event in your past that you'd want to revisit?
   6. What is the meaning of the title? In what way is Gatsby great?
   7. Why did Nick become involved with Jordan, and why did he break off the relationship?
   8. Discuss Fitzgerald's use of symbols, such as the eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg, the green light on
    Daisy's dock, and the valley of ashes.
   9. What makes The Great Gatsby a classic novel? Why has it maintained its place in American
   10. Discuss elements of the Jazz Age that Fitzgerald includes in The Great Gatsby.
   1. In what sense is The Great Gatsby an autobiographical novel?
    Does Fitzgerald write more of himself into the character of Nick or
    the character of Gatsby, or are the author’s qualities found in both
   2. How does Gatsby represent the American dream? What does the
    novel have to say about the condition of the American dream in the
    1920s? In what ways do the themes of dreams, wealth, and time relate
    to each other in the novel’s exploration of the idea of America?
   3. Compare and contrast Gatsby and Tom. How are they alike? How
    are they different? Given the extremely negative light in which Tom
    is portrayed throughout the novel, why might Daisy choose to remain
    with him instead of leaving him for Gatsby?
   1. Discuss Gatsby’s character as Nick perceives him
    throughout the novel. What makes Gatsby ―great‖?
   2. What is Nick like as a narrator? Is he a reliable
    storyteller, or does his version of events seem suspect?
    How do his qualities as a character affect his narration?
   3. What are some of The Great Gatsby’s most important
    symbols? What does the novel have to say about the role
    of symbols in life?
   4. How does the geography of the novel dictate its themes
    and characters? What role does setting play in The Great

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