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ENGWR 303 (Tittle) - Short Fiction Essay

ENGWR 303 (Tittle) - Short Fiction Essay


Textbook for ENGWR 303

Your Assignment

Choose ONE of the short fictions from those you have read so far to write a 5- to 7-page research essay incorporating analytical language derived from our readings in AAL (e.g. elements of fiction), as well as in-text quotes and paraphrases from researched sources. 

“Orientation” by Daniel Orozco
“Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid
“How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life” by Jon Ronson [non-fiction; current events; opinion/analysis]
 “A Visit of Charity” by Eudora Welty
"Araby" + "Counterparts" + "Eveline" by James Joyce
"A&P" by John Updike
"A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner
“What We Talk about When We Talk about Love” by Raymond Carver
“Soldiers Home” + “Hills like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway
“Good Country People” + “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor
 “Jealous Husband Return in Form of Parrot” by Robert Olen Butler
"Two Kinds" by Amy Tan

Content of Your Essay

Your essay should attempt to answer one or more of the following questions:

  • How do various elements of the story—plot, character, point of view, setting, tone, diction, images, symbol and so on—reinforce its meaning(s)?
  • How are the elements related to the whole (that is, its theme)?
  • What is the overall significance of your findings from your reading and analysis?  Attempt to derive a thesis from your answer to the above question.

The theme, as you know from your reading, is the central idea or meaning and can be discerned by answering the following questions: “What did the author reveal about a particular subject related to the story about the behavior of human beings, about the conduct of society? (e.g. mother-daughter relationships, parenting, gender roles/stereotypes, the after-effects of war, science vs. faith, etc.),” “What is the author attempting to say by the way that he/she constructed the fiction?”

Focus on and then propose an overall theme and support the presence of this meaning (stated in a specific and focused thesis statement, perhaps using the thesis statement worksheet doc) by looking at any of the elements of fiction discussed in the chapters we have read so far. You may choose only one element of fiction to focus on or several, just be sure you are answering the questions above.


Notes About Your Essay

  1. Essay must be at least five [5] FULL pages to avoid receiving 50% of total points and no feedback.  Your name label in upper-left corner, nor your works-cited page, count toward total pages.  Remember:  upload your documents using one of the following file formats only:  doc, docx, or rtf.
  1. The majority of your research essay must consist of your own ideas (about 80%).  For this essay, then, only present about 20% (one fifth for a five-page essay) of your essay as outside sources.  Approximately twenty percent would equal about one page (aggregately) of a five-page essay.   You have a requirement of at least five [5] sources for citation (the short story itself is one); the other four-plus must be from scholarly, peer-reviewed articles or books from academic databases.
  1. Though not required, you may elect to use one interpretive perspective provided by any of the analytical approaches from AAL, Ch. 8 (e.g. Deconstruction, Postcolonial, Psychoanalytical, Feminist, Marxist, etc.) and any support you find while researching other academic scholars’ work which uses one of these critical methods (e.g. a literary journal article written from a postcolonial approach).
  1. For ENGWR 303, time will not be spent on sentence-level issues.  If your writing skills are not at the level expected of students who have completed the required prerequisite English courses, it is recommended that you sign up for tutoring or expect to receive less than satisfactory grades until your writing skills improve.  If your essay has more than five sentence-level errors on the first page alone, I will stop grading your essay, and it will be returned to you with 60% of the total points and no feedback.
  1. When writing about the content of the literature, the present tense is used.  For example, if you’re summarizing plot or describing a character, don’t use past tense just because the author wrote the piece a long time ago.  On the other hand, if you’re quoting the literature, as written, and the past tense is used by the author, then stick with the past tense.  Perhaps the only exception to this rule is when describing biographical information about an author that happened in the past (e.g. Joyce had lived outside of Ireland for much of his adult life).
  1. Write in third-person only. Do not use first-person or second-person (results in non-passing grade).
  1. Use MLA format (double-spacing; 1” margins; Times New Roman 12-pt. font; label upper-left corner of 1st page:  name, class, my name, assignment, date; upper-right corner of all other pages use a header with last name then page number).

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