Fiction Paper Directions
Fiction Writing Assignment: Short Story Analysis
Subject: One of the stories covered so far in this class.
Directions (Read Carefully):
Use Times New Roman Font or Arial size 12
1500 word minimum (not including the Works Cited page, which is separate)
Title in bold
Possible headings in size 12 font bold for each of the five “parts” below (this is not part of the 1500 word min. though) to make it easier to read
Use MLA Style with at least four quotes from your selected story (additional sources must be cited both in text and in the Works Cited). See pages 267-275 in your textbook, “Documentation in the Humanities: MLA Style.”
With quotes, make sure that you have a signal phrase and that you don’t have ‘hanging quotes.’ The page number is in parentheses, and the period follows. A good example of using quotes in literature: When he hears Cordelia’s answer, Lear seems surprised, but not dumbfounded. He advises her to “mend [her] speech a little” (273).
Use present tense to describe the action in the story.
Choose ONE short story from the modules “Men in Trouble” and “women in Trouble” and examine it carefully. You need not answer all the questions below, but the essay must be organized in the following manner:
Part One: The Plot (1-2 paragraphs)
Part Two: Setting, Atmosphere, Pattern/Structure, Point of
View (3 paragraphs min.) See pages 277-279 in your book.
Examine the setting, atmosphere, and pattern/structure of the story.
Is the setting significant to the meaning? Is there a mood or
atmosphere? How does the author create this atmosphere?
How is the essay structured? Is it chronological or does it involve
flashbacks? Is the structure significant to the meaning of the work?
Who narrates the story? Is the narrator reliable? What would be
gained or lost if the story was told from another point of view?
Part Three: Characters (1 page min.) See page 277 in your book.
Who is the main character? Does this person change? What sort of a
person is he/she? Is this character sympathetic? What other
characters are important? Do you personally identify with any of the
characters? How and why? This is not plot again–analyze, analyze, analyze
Part Four: Symbolism, Images, Irony (1 page min.) See page 278-279 in your book.
Identify and interpret symbols in the story. Is anything about the story
ironic? What images are most vivid?
Part Five: Theme and Meaning (1 paragraph min.) See page 280-281 in your book.
How does the title relate to the other elements in the story and to the
What is the theme of this story? How did you come to this
Works Cited Page (not included as part of the 1500 word min.)
The Words Cited minimally must include your story (see instructions below)
For other works, such as websites, consult your textbook (see the MLA part) or use easybib.com (make sure you are using MLA style)
Citation Directions: A Work in an Anthology, Reference, or Collection
Works may include an essay in an edited collection or anthology, or a chapter of a book. The basic form is for this sort of citation is as follows:
Last name, First name. “Title of Essay.” Title of Collection, edited by Editor’s Name(s), Publisher, Year, Page range of entry.
Poem or Short Story Examples:
Burns, Robert. “Red, Red Rose.” 100 Best-Loved Poems, edited by Philip Smith, Dover, 1995, p. 26.
Kincaid, Jamaica. “Girl.” The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories, edited by Tobias Wolff, Vintage, 1994, pp. 306-07.
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