Select a story to analyze. Recommended Stories are:
Chinua Achebe “Marriage is a Private Affair”
Edgar Allen Poe “The Tell-Tale Heart”
Louise Erdrich “The Red Convertible”
Write an literary analysis of the story. I recommend you use the following outline:
Paragraph One: Introduce the story and explain what you are going to do. Be sure to include a thesis.
Paragraph Two: Analyze theme. Remember to state the theme as a sentence that makes sense apart from the story. (When you are planning, be sure to select your symbol along with your theme so that you can connect them later.)
Paragraph Three: Analyze setting. Be sure to address when, where, mood and cultural context.
Paragraph Four: Analyze plot: Do NOT do a retelling of the story! Identify rising action, minor conflicts (3), one major conflict, climax, falling action (optional), and resolution.
Paragraph Five: Analyze point of view. Be sure to justify your selection with examples and quotes from the story.
Paragraph Six: Analyze characterization. This will be a long paragraph if you do it well. Pick one character to analyze and identify the following: round/flat, static/dynamic, epiphany? and indirect characterization. There are five things to look for regarding indirect characterization: 1. How the character looks/dresses, 2. How the character acts, 3. How the character speaks/vocabulary use, 4. The character’s private thoughts and feelings, and 5. How other people treat that character. Be sure to provide examples from the story to support everything you say.
Paragraph Seven: Analyze irony. Look for examples of verbal, situational and dramatic irony, but they may not all be present in your story.
Paragraph Eight: Analyze symbolism. Clearly identify the symbol and what it represents. Justify your selection with details from the story, and then discuss the author’s purpose by explaining how the symbol supports the theme. This will bring your analysis full circle.
Paragraph Nine: Give the story an overall evaluation. Discuss who would like the story and why, and who would not like the story and why. Discuss ambiguity, and any weaknesses you noticed in the story.
Final thoughts: This is a blog post, so it is a good idea to find a picture that relates to the story and sets the mood for your analysis. This is a professional post, so use a smaller font, although not so small that I need to enlarge my screen so that I can read it. There is no word count minimum–do a thorough job, and you will not need to worry about the word count.
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