Literary Analysis Paper I:

Literary Analysis Paper I:



You will select one of your response journals and develop it further, turning it into a 3-page (750-word) literary analysis paper, which will count as your midterm grade. This experience will involve honing your thoughts further to develop a central, organizing idea (thesis) and making sure the main points and details you select from a close textual reading support that thesis. Looking at the sample papers I link to below will be helpful.


You can also add research to support your analysis (1-2 scholarly sources, not general Internet sources, articles from JSTOR database on NHTI library’s site are preferred). You will use MLA in-text citations, as you did in your more informal journal, but for this formal pieces of writing, you will add a MLA (9th ed.) Works Cited page.


You need only select ONE (maximum two) text from our readings so far to focus on. This will be your primary source. It’s helpful to pick a text that has an element that interests you (e.g., a theme, a type of character, a literary genre, a form, and so forth). You will craft a substantive thesis statement and support it in the body of your paper.


You should use the good paragraph development skills (see me or Writing Center if you’d like help). You will avoid mere summarizing in favor of using details, quotes, and concepts from the text to support your analysis.


Again, you must have MLA in-text citations, which often look like this (Walker 45). If you’re talking about a poem by Robert Frost, for example, it might look like this with line numbers (Frost 4-6). You must have a properly formatted MLA Works Cited page. Again, the Writing Center in the library’s ACE has friendly coaches who are very willing to help with all aspects of your paper, but are especially talented with helping with paragraph development, thesis writing, and MLA.


Other tips for formal academic writing:


Use topic sentences for paragraphs to state what the paragraph is about. Stick to one main idea per paragraph.

Be sure to introduce quotes. Ex. Walker writes, “…” or According to critic Stanley Fish, …

End paragraph with analysis rather than a quote.

Avoid the “you” and “I” voices in formal academic writing. Using phrases like “one” and “the reader” can help avoid those voices.

Use literary terms, including narrator, protagonist (main character), stanza, symbolism, and so forth. (See terms handed out in class on day one, particularly relating to poetry.)

Properly format titles in the body of your work. Poem, short story, and essay titles go in italics (e.g., “Bernice Bobs Her Hair”). Book and journal titles are italicized (e.g., Good People).


You will be graded on the quality of your analysis, the quality of your writing, the ability to use primary and secondary sources, MLA citations. I WANT YOUR ANALYSIS TO BE YOUR OWN, ORIGINAL ANALYSIS, AND NOT A REGURGITATION FROM OTHER SOURCES. ANY OUTSIDE SOURCES SHOULD BE SCHOLARLY AND ONLY USED TO SUPPORT YOUR OWN IDEA.

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