UCLA The Lottery and Le Guin

1. Thesis for Essay #2

Literary Analysis of Fiction

Note: You may choose ANY story you have been assigned in MLM for this essay.

1000-1250 words

Double-spaced

Sample Thesis: In the story “The Yellow Wallpaper,” the narrator turns into a crawling baby by the end, echoing the fact that she is placed in the nursery and treated like a child by her husband and sister-in-law.

Does this sound odd, weird even? Perhaps you disagree with it—we didn’t discuss this in class, and I’m not sure any of you would see the story in this light. But if I go through “The Yellow Wallpaper,” I can find lots of textual evidence to prove to you that the narrator is infantilized. Although it is bizarrely worded, a thesis like this could work. I want to free you to find a thesis that speaks to your experience with the stories. I do not want canned thesis statements that sound “correct” or “proper.” You will need to re-read the story/stories to get down into their depths and really figure out for yourselves what you believe in.

Using your critical reading skills, evolve a persuasive thesis based on one of the following aspects of your reading: (You can consult the Making Literature Matter, pages 120-136 for ideas and guidance.)

  • Characters—the way a character is presented and developed to cause the reader to think and feel a certain way
  • Plot and Structure
  • Setting
  • Theme
  • Point of view—the perspective from which the story is told, i.e. in the first-person (“The Yellow Wallpaper”) or the third-person (Paul’s Case) How much does the narrator know about the inner workings of the characters’ minds? In other words, how omniscientis the narrator?
  • Imagery/Symbolism—What is the significance of the imagery? What does it tell us about the story?
  • Form—The structure of the work as a whole
  • Tone—the feeling of the work that you perceive through the words

One helpful way to conceive of this paper is to look for patterns in the stories—look for things that stand out, and that make strong points about the work as a whole. Make a strong thesis statement, and do not shy away from speaking your truth. Develop a sense of passion about your own topic; become a true expert on one aspect of the story; show your reader how carefully you can think about words.

You will need:

1) An effective introduction with a powerful thesis statement

2) Textual evidence to support your thesis with correct MLA formatting (See MLM 195-197)

3) Transitions between paragraphs and ideas

4) An effective conclusion

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2

Story Study Guide

Please base this on the story you were assigned from this week. Please note: you should write this about the story you were assigned that is NOT “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”

USE MLM, pages 121-136 as you fill out these questions.

  1. What is the plot of the story? Consider the ABDCE formula for this story. (page 122)
  2. What point of view is used in this story?
  3. Discuss the characters in this story using the ideas on pages 125-6 as your guide.
  4. Discuss the story’s setting.
  5. What kind of imagery is used in this story? Be specific. Look for symbols and recurring images.
  6. How would you describe the language of this story?
  7. Discuss the theme of the story. Express your claims according to pages 128-130.
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