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The introduction presents the relevance/importance of the work you have chosen, and should do the following:

  • Offer a brief background of the work,
    • Author(s) (birth/death/other brief, interesting, relevant facts, as they pertain to the story)
    • Name of work(s)
    • Year(s) of publication/historical context
  • Offer a brief summary of the entire work (no more than three sentences)
  • Offer your thesis (the claim you are focusing on, the direction you are taking, the argument you are making—your topic + how it affects a person/people/humanity)

Body Paragraphs (3-4 paragraphs)

The body is the heart of the analysis, and will:

  • Present examples from the text and discuss their meaning to illustrate and back up your thesis
  • Explore larger themes in the work
  • Examine historical/contextual meaning
  • Analyze the work in terms of questions it poses / arguments it makes
  • Incorporate ideas from three outside sources of critical analysis to back up your claims about the story


The conclusion is where you can examine the work from a “big picture” point of view, so you should:

  • Discuss what specifically makes the work powerful, in a larger context
  • Discuss the work’s larger place in society/culture
  • Discuss what others can hope to take away from the work if they read it

Of course, your interest will spark your topic choice, and the introduction of the work, the development of the paper, and the conclusion you draw will be based upon your interpretation of the work.


In this Literary Analysis, you must:

  • analyze the short story you chose from the list 
  • write from the third person point of view (he/she/it/they), NOT the first person (I) or the second-person (you)
  • have a representative title (Though you may include title of the work you are analyzing, do not use only that title.)
  • interpret rather than summarize, always
  • utilize the writing styles of Comparison & Contrast and Process Analysis
  • make good use of direct quotation, summary, or paraphrase
  • incorporate ideas from three outside sources of critical analysis to back up your claims about the literature
  • follow all MLA formatting guidelines
  • avoid plagiarism when you borrow others’ ideas by documenting your sources (using signal phrases and parenthetical citation), following MLA citation guidelines, found at Purdue’s Online Writing Lab (OWL)

Grading Rubric


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