ENC1101 literary analysis paper on a short story

Your Mission: To write a 1,300-1,500-word literary analysis paper based on one of the three stories discussed in class:

  1. Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”
  2. James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues”
  3. James Joyce’s “Eveline”

This paper requires you to develop a critical analysis of one of the short stories we read this semester. Your objective is to offer an interpretation of the story, discussing its themes, conflicts, or issues. So, although part of your paper might be concerned with character development, plot development, or symbolism, the idea is to show how these support themes and issues. As you provide your analysis, you must quote from the story to support your reading.

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Technical requirements: This paper must quote from the story two to three times per page, effectively integrating these quotes in a way that adds to your paper’s ideational (i.e. ideas) momentum. These quotes require in-text citations, and the paper requires a works cited page (not included in the word count).

This paper also requires you to incorporate one research source: You must integrate a critical article from a library database. You must directly quote from this source at least twice. Although students are customarily asked to do their own research, I’ve narrowed down the possible articles you can use for the stories we read in class:

  1. “‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ and Women’s Discourse” by Karen Ford (from the database JSTOR)

2. “‘Sonny’s Blues’: James Baldwin’s Image of Black Community” by John M. Reilly (from the

database JSTOR)

3. “‘Eveline’ by James Joyce, 1914” by Clive Hart (from the database Literary Themes for


Where can you find the database?

1) Go to: http://libguides.broward.edu/az.php?a=all

2) Select the category “General (Multidisciplinary)”

3) Choose the database that fits your topic (see list above).

To log into the library you simply need your Broward College ID# and your password (month and day, e.g. January 5 would be 0105)

Your paper will be graded based on how well you establish and maintain your voice while using quotes from the short story and article. Write for a general readership. (You are speaking to the world, not to a class.) Your thesis must connect the message of the story to how the story is written. In an organized, cohesive argument, show how symbolism, imagery, irony, structure, diction, or narrative style creates the message of the story. Do not create a list of topics from paragraph to paragraph. Create an interpretation that flows from the beginning to the end of the paper.

Example of literary thesis: Ralph Ellison’s short story, “A Party Down at the Square,” evokes the religious symbolism of hellfire, serpent imagery, and divine intervention to illustrate the horror and trauma of racism in American history.

Your ideas and examples should play the major role in the paper. The quotes from the story and article should play a supportive yet meaningful role. When quoting the story, you are quoting a narrator or character. When quoting the article, you are quoting an author. Your voice should establish the focus for the paper in the intro paragraph, should begin and end paragraphs by linking ideas that connect to your focus, and should form a concluding paragraph with final thoughts on the topic. (In professional writing, conclusions DO NOT restate introductions and do not begin with “in conclusion.”) Your intro paragraph must mention the author’s full name and the title of the story. Then present a brief summary of the story. Then present your thesis. (An intro paragraph is about half of a page.) The rest of the paper should discuss story scenes and quote passages to support your thesis.

Your paper will be graded based on polish. This means creating an informative and catchy paper title, indenting the first line of paragraphs, double-spacing your writing, using a professional font, writing in clear and complete sentences, capitalizing the first words of sentences, capitalizing and formatting titles, and structuring your paper into a cohesive discussion.

Your paper will be graded on using MLA methods. This means introducing your sources BEFORE you quote and discuss them. This means placing titles in proper formatting. (Article and short story titles go in quotes. Newspaper, book, and website titles are italicized.) This means providing citations after quoting or paraphrasing. Citations include the author’s last name and, if there is one, a page number. If there is no author, the title of source is provided instead. *If you use any other sources, these sources must be properly credited in the paper and in the Works Cited page. Using a source without crediting it is a form of plagiarism. Plagiarism results in zero for a grade. Here is a link to the MLA Citation Guide: MLA Manual for Citation

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