ELIT 10 Intro to Fiction
Short Analysis Paper
Background: With the help of our Kennedy/Gioia textbook, we've spent the first five weeks of this course developing basic competency in reading fiction by sampling stories that illustrate the elements of fiction: plot, point of view, character, setting, tone & style, theme, and symbolism. You've memorized definitions for each of these terms, been quizzed on them, and seen them exemplified in the work of a variety of mostly modern authors: John Updike, William Faulkner, Raymond Carver, Amy Tan, Ernest Hemingway, Kurt Vonnegut, and Ursula LeGuin, not to mention Edgar Allan Poe and John Steinbeck--a nice sampling. Now it's time to apply all that learning to a single story of your own choosing.
Assignment: Peruse the stories in Chapter 12 of our textbook, "Stories for Further Reading." You may enjoy several of the stories you find there, but choose one that you would like to spend more time studying. Pick a story that appeals to you in some way, but that you do not fully understand. That way, the assignment will have genuine value for you in that the task of writing a paper will have the benefit of teaching you how to appreciate a good story on a deeper level that you were perhaps capable of when our course began. Using the two sample student papers in our text as models (Poe 639-642 and Steinbeck 256-258), write an analysis of your story that focuses on a single element of fiction, the one that seems essential to you in interpreting the story's theme. The result will be an argument of interpretation, in which you illustrate how the element acts as the key to unlock the meaning of your chosen story. (Helpful hint: choose the story first, then figure out which of the elements is most essential to "getting" the story.)
Specifics: Your typed paper will fall between 2 to 4 complete pages, with the finished product coming in around 750 words. Write your paper for someone who has already read the story. Thus, there is no need to summarize it for them. In fact, until you stick your neck out and say something arguable, assume they're not going to be interested at all. Your purpose is to explain a single aspect of the story, arguing that this aspect will deeply enhance their understanding and appreciation of the work. Delicately use the skills of paraphrasing, quoting, or summary as needed to substantiate your most important claims.
Submission: Upload your paper to our Turnitin.com account by 11:59pm Monday, November 6. If you have never used Turnitin.com, please read the instructions for use on the ELIT 10 Course Syllabus.
Paper Format: Use the Modern Language Association's (MLA) paper format and citations method. For details, see OWL's excellent web site w/examples: MLA Format. You might also find these short MLA Format Videos helpful.
100 points possible. A five-point per day late penalty will be imposed upon papers received after the deadline.