GUIDELINES FOR LITERARY ANALYSIS
1. This essay must be three to five full pages in length; in addition, it must have a Works Cited page.
2. The essay must be typed in Times New Roman, # 12 font, according to MLA style.
3. The essay must contain at least two secondary sources, and these sources must be articles taken from Southeastern’s college databases or from legitimate, scholarly print sources. See the difference between primary, secondary, and tertiary sources here: http://www15.uta.fi/FAST/FIN/RESEARCH/sources.html
4. All the sources used in the essay, including the primary source(s), must be listed in the Works Cited page.
5. A copy of at least one page of each secondary source used in the paper must be attached to the back of the paper.
6. A hard copy of the essay must be submitted at the beginning of class on the due date, and an electronic copy must be submitted to Turnitin during the allotted period.
7. The essay must have an introduction that states a thesis. The thesis statement should be the last sentence of the introduction. If the thesis lends itself to inclusion of an essay map, supply the essay map within the thesis or in the sentence following the thesis statement. The thesis or “claim” should be argued with specific examples, including quotations, from the text(s).
8. In analyzing a literary work, the title and author of the work analyzed must appear in the introduction. The first mention of the author should include the author’s first and last names; thereafter, refer to the author by his or her last name.
9. While it is important to establish the context for your argument, the essay should not consist of plot summary. Assume your audience has read the work(s) you are analyzing. Read these helpful hints:
Summarizing content in order to make a point in your argument is very much an appropriate part of papers. Provided that you subordinate the summary to a critical point that you are making, you'll be okay. Compare:
1. Hamlet then goes to talk with his mother in her bedroom or "closet" and grows more and more angry as he talks to her. Finally, he has a vision of his father's Ghost, and this restores him to some calmness
2. When Hamlet talks to his mother in her bedroom or "closet," his reproaches to her grow more and more angry and uncontrolled. Ironically, it's only his vision of the Ghost -- which she interprets as his madness -- that restores him to some degree of reasonableness.
In the first version, the writer seems to think that his summary is sufficiently interesting to hold our attention, but it just isn't -- not for anyone who has read the play. In the second version, the bits of summary are made to serve some point of interpretation or comment. To repeat: summary should always be offered as a way of supporting a point you are making about the story. Ideally, there should be no neutral narrative sentences about the characters or the action, such as "Ferris goes to visit his wife" or "The Duke then conducts his visitor downstairs." Instead, all such bits of summary should be in support of an interpretative point or comment: "When Ferris goes to visit his wife, he discovers that ..." or "The Duke's courtesy of manner can be heard as he invites his visitor to 'go / Together down' with him," etc. To put it another way: do not write a paper about the characters in a story; instead write about the story itself -- its words, its shaping or organization, its high points, symbolism, etc. 10. Take care that each paragraph of the body of the essay is clearly related to the thesis and that there are transitional expressions between paragraphs.
11. Your essay must have a conclusion. Take care that the conclusion is not merely a restatement of the thesis.
12. In discussing the events of a story, use...
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