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Analysis of Short Stories: Titles and Literary Interpretation

Objectives of the Assignment


Students will continue to sharpen their understandings of literary interpretation and composition by exploring key elements of 2 short stories of their choice, at least one of which we have explored in 103. Students will strengthen their own interpretation of their texts by engaging with 2-4 secondary sources (peer-reviewed studies about their chosen texts, written by literary scholars). Each essay must range between 1200 and 1300 words, be organized into 6-8 paragraphs inclusive, and end with a complete and accurate MLA bibliography.


1. Titles play rich roles in fiction. Discuss the significance of your texts’ titles in relation to any other elements within the stories.

Each essay MUST engage with 2-4 secondary sources (peer-reviewed literary studies published as journal articles, essays in collections, and/or books) and include 6-12 quotations from your primary (fiction) and secondary (scholarly) texts. In addition to their peer-reviewed sources, each student also may include 1-2 non-scholarly, non-peer-reviewed source(s) in an epigraph or the body of their essay. All sources must be documented via in-text citations and a complete Works Cited list that meet the requirements for MLA formatting

Format your essay using the Times New Roman or Arial font with twelve-point sizing, double-spaced lines, and standard (unmodified) margins. Include your name, course number and section, and word count (not including MLA bibliography) in the upper-left corner of your first page; do not include a title page. Submit the docx or pdf file in the assignment’s BlackBoard portal.

1. Appeal to your audience’s sense of logic by developing a sound argument comprised of your ideas and your chosen evidence from your texts. Remember that you are interpreting the way aspects of your chosen texts work together to create meaning.

2. Launch your essay with a provocative and informative title, then use your introduction (approx. ½ page) to engage your audience, provide essential information, and state your thesis.

3. Use your 3-5 body paragraphs (each ¾ page, including quotes) to extend your thesis with persuasive lines of argument made up of your observations plus examples from your texts, with brief and lucid signposts and transitions to guide the audience’s reading

4. Ensure that each body paragraph is well-structured, and contains varied and accurate ideas (3-4 discrete ideas about key elements of your stories) along with apt and well-documented quotations and/or paraphrasing from your stories and critical texts that support your ideas.

5. Use your conclusion (approx. ½ page) to restate your thesis and supply your audience with final observations to make your work memorable.

6. Complete the research component of the assignment by including a comprehensive and accurate Works Cited page at the end of the

7. Dedicate the following areas to your argument about your texts: thesis statement in introduction, body paragraphs, and rewording of thesis in Focus on developing your creativity in the following areas that connect to and support your argument: title, introductory hook, and concluding hook.

8. Consider incorporating the following in your paper to add variety and vitality to your argument: an epigraph and/or interludes between paragraphs.

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