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Assignment: Explaining Two Aspects of a Short Story that Lead to the Theme


To develop student ability to use critical analysis skills in writing to demonstrate an understanding of the concepts discussed in class and to further develop composition skills learned in previous English classes.

Choose one of the short stories in the textbook to compose a paper explaining how at least two aspects of the story lead to the theme.  Only use one which has been assigned on the syllabus.

1.   Use your active reading strategies to re-read the story you choose for your paper.  Be sure to read any accompanying notes from the text.  You may also read critical information you access through the library website, but if you use those ideas, you will need to footnote them using MLA parenthetical citations and a Works Cited page. Two sources are MacGill and Literature Resource databases.  Do not google the story or use Wikipedia because those sources are not reliable. 

2.  We have covered all of the aspects of short stories such as setting, symbols, characters, etc. Choose at least two of these to analyze the way they lead to the theme of the short story. 

3.  Your audience is me as the teacher. Because we have discussed this story and you and I have both read it, you do not need to retell it. If you choose to summarize the story, only one or two sentences will be sufficient. However, you must be sure to use examples for any point you make. The examples are the proof for your thesis and must have page numbers with them even if they are not quoted.

4.  Remember to have an introduction, topic sentences for every paragraph, transitions between paragraphs, a conclusion and enough examples for each point to be sure to convince the audience. Carefully, edit your final draft.

5.  Your thesis will be an opinion about what two aspects reveal the theme of the story you have chosen.  State the thesis objectively:  don’t say I believe or I think because this is your paper. Instead, simply state your thesis about the way the elements reveal the theme.

6. Credit any ideas or words taken from someone else using MLA style. Your text and handbook are sources for using MLA.

7.  Put the heading as the handbook explains and number your pages.  MLA tells you specifically how to do the numbering and the title for your paper. Do not use a cover sheet or a folder. 

8.  The paper is usually 2 to 4 pages long, not including the works cited. That is only an estimate. The quality of the analysis and writing are more important than exactly how much you write. However, one page will not be sufficient to explain any of the stories.

9.  This paper should be 12 pt, Times New Roman type, double spaced,  and at least 3 pages long, not including the Works Cited. You will cite the story and any sources you use. 

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