English 202 Essay 1: Critical Analysis of a Short Story

English 202

Essay 1: Critical Analysis of a Short Story

Worth: 100 points

Due Date: Friday, July 1, 2016

Steps to Follow:

  1. Read Chapter 40 in your textbook “Writing About a Story” pages 1315-1337, including the sample student essays which provide examples of the various ways to approach this type of essay: Explication, Analysis, Comparison/contrast, and Response paper.

This reading will give you important background information on how to begin and write these types of essays.

  1. See pages 1338: TOPICS FOR WRITING MORE EXTENDED PAPERS (600-1000 WORDS). Choose one of the topics from #’s 1-6 for doing your essay.
  1. Choose a short story (or short stories) from those found in Chapter 11: Stories for Further Reading in your Literature textbook, pages 338-445.

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • You must type this essay in MLA format, which means including a Works Cited page that correctly lists the story/stories you refer to in your writing.
    • See Rules for Writers textbook MLA section and MLA Info tab on the main menu of the Blackboard site for this course for more on this.
    • In the 8th edition of Rules for Writers, there is general information on how to do a Works Cited page on p. 470-471.
    • In the 8th edition of Rules for Writers, see p. 491, #35 for how to list one selection from an anthology or a collection.
    • If you have another edition of Rules for Writers, these sections are in those editions too but you’ll have to see the index for page numbers.


  • Do NOT use outside sources for this analysis: I want to read what your analysis, interpretation, and thoughts are on this story, not what others have said.
  • Do not plagiarize. Here are ways to avoid plagiarism:
    • Do not look on the internet or elsewhere for what others have had to say about the story you chose as your focus for this essay. I know it is tempting—but Don’t Do It!
    • Have confidence in your ability to find meaning in the story, to express those thoughts in your own words, and to back up what you think. Focus on making a reasonable and logical argument for your interpretation.
    • Know the rules for MLA formatting an academic essay correctly.
    • Know the rules for MLA in-text citations including how to cite a direct quote, summary, or paraphrase of the story you are writing about.
  • If you are finding it difficult to come up with something to say about the story, then choose another story. Find one that is easy for you to understand, has a theme you can relate to, or one that you find memorable.

See the next page for how this essay will be Graded.

How this Essay will be evaluated:

Thesis:  all essays require a thesis.

  • Is your thesis clear?
  • Does it say something significant but not entirely obvious about the story?
Development & Support for the thesis and other major claims:

  • Does your evidence, examples, and explanations serve to advance the argument put forth in your thesis related to the topic you chose.
  • Is your argument clear and logical?

  • Does your paper have an interesting and compelling title?
  • Does your introduction draw the reader in? Does it prepare the reader for what is to come?
  • Does each paragraph contain a topic sentence and smooth transitions? Do transitional words and phrases help signal movement from one idea to the next?
  •  Is the conclusion effective?  Does the conclusion provide a sense of closure?
Use of Standard English:

  • How well did you edit and proofread this paper?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, punctuation, or sentence structure errors?
  • Are there errors in language use?
Following Directions:

  • Was the essay set up according to MLA rules & was a Works Cited page included and set up correctly? If not, this essay will not be graded until corrections are made.
  • Was a topic for doing this essay chosen from the list on p. 1338 of the Literature textbook?
  • Was an appropriate story (or stories) chosen from the Chpt. 11 of the Literature textbook as the focus for this essay?
  • Was this essay turned in by the due date?

PLAGIARISM:  If plagiarism is suspected, this paper will not be graded or scored until that issue is resolved.

Please Note: Your paper will receive “0” points if MLA formatting and citation is NOT done correctly because this is a form of plagiarism. Contact the instructor if you need help with this. You will be asked to revise with corrections and resubmit in order to earn points.

Approximate Grading Scale:

90-100 pts ~A      80-89 pts~B   70-79 pts~C  60-69 pts~D   Below 60~F


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