Description of Assignment:
Analyzing a short story is fundamentally different than analyzing a poem because the short story allows for detail, complexity and story arcs that are often not the focus of poetry, which is closer to distilled language, highly stylized and condensed. The short story uses prose to create contradiction, conflict, subtlety and fully realized characters.
For this assignment, answer these questions about your short story: What are the big ideas at work? What does this story tell us about human nature? What are the principles this story asks us to contemplate? Use the literary devices outlined on pages 2-3 of The Dictionary of First Concepts handout to analyze the techniques used to create meaning in your story.
The introduction should give some key background on the story and where it fits in the canon of the author’s works. Any historical details concerning the author or the circumstances surrounding the story’s creation should remain in the introduction or conclusion. The thesis should indicate the theme (big idea, principle or overall message of the story) and which literary devices you will use to analyze the story.
The body will identify where, how and to what effect your chosen literary devices work in your short story. Use quotes (but none longer than 2-3 lines at a time), paraphrasing and outside sources to root your essay in textual analysis. Organize the body so your analysis builds on each previous paragraph, giving us the basics first and ending on whichever element you feel is the culmination or unifying element of all the rest.
The conclusion should restate your thesis and examine any new understandings about the literary devices and themes that arise from analyzing the short story. What should we take with us about this subject? What have you uncovered in the short story that is worth remembering?
• MLA formatted with in-text citations and a works cited page.
• 3 pages (plus a works cited page), typed, double-spaced, 12pt font, Times.
• Three college-level sources in addition to your story, either from a printed source or the college’s online databases.
Resource for The Yellow Wallpaper: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/theliteratureofprescription/exhibition-index.html
Citation information for The Yellow Wallpaper: