Short Story Literary Analysis Essay


Short Story Literary Analysis Essay


Part I: Literary Analysis Essay Requirements:

  1. Literary analysis essay, 500 word minimum: introduction, body paragraphs, conclusion.
  2. Analyze Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle”. Your essay should offer an interpretation of the story or character(s). Consider the following ideas to help you formulate a thesis:
    a. What is the message or moral of Irving’s allegorical story? Could the “sleeping” be read as a metaphor?
    b. What does the story suggest about the position of women during this era? Consider how irony, tone, and character development contribute to a “feminist” reading of the story.
    c. What does Irving’s story suggest about the differences heralded by the American Revolution? Didn’t they just replace one George with another?
  3. Incorporate at least three direct quotations from this story for inclusion within your essay.
  4. Document the three quotations using correct MLA format.
  5. You do not need to do outside research for this assignment. The analysis must be your own.
  6. Review this guide for LITERARY TERMS & DEFINITIONS for an overview of some literary elements.
  7. Read through this LIBRARY GUIDE FOR THE SHORT STORY LITERARY ANALYSIS regarding info on writing this type of essay.


Part II: Follow these guidelines when organizing and drafting your Literary Analysis:

  1. Use correct MLA format when setting up your essay.
  2. Create an original title for your essay which reflects the central idea of your work.
  3. Within the introductory paragraph, introduce the plot but avoid an extended plot summary. Introduce the author and title of the work before/as you begin to discuss it.
  4. The thesis (the last sentence in the introduction) must focus on the theme or message the author is attempting to convey.
  5. Refer to this chart for the use of transitions in your writing.
  6. Introduce your body paragraphs using restricted topic sentences.
  7. Use at least three quotations from the short story to illustrate the main focus within the body paragraphs. Use plenty of details and examples from the story as well as your own commentary and interpretation.
  8. Document quotes from the primary source/short story with correctly formatted parenthetical citations using MLA format. Also include a Works Cited section for the primary source/short story.
  9. Finish the essay with a strong concluding paragraph.
  10. Use only third person objective point-of-view. Do not use first person–I, me, we, us– or the second person–you or your.
  11. Submit the completed essay to Drop Box. It is integrated with Turnitin software, so you will get an originality report automatically, but it may take a few minutes to process the report. You should not have more than a 15% match.
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