Literary Analysis


Literary Analysis: 4-5 pages   Literature is jam-packed with meaning. Every word that a writer inserts into his or her short story or poem is important to the overall meaning of the piece. But what’s most interesting about literature is that every reader walks away with a different interpretation of what the story means. Thus, whenever you interpret a piece of literature, you have to carefully support your interpretation with evidence from the text to prove that your reading is logically possible.   For this essay, you will conduct a close reading of a short story or poem from the various stories and poems you’ll read in the next few weeks. When you’re doing a close reading, you are dissecting how the author of that text creates meaning for the reader. You will look closely at these hows and whys, paying particular attention to literary devices (tone, voice, foreshadowing, point of view, etc.), patterns of similarity or difference, and the moves the author makes.   In this essay, you should organize your essay carefully around a coherent and contestable thesis. This thesis should be interpretive and debatable, but most importantly, supported by the text. You should quote directly from the text to provide evidence for your thesis.   HOW TO DO A CLOSE READING   Step 1: Read carefully. When you’re reading the text, notice what you notice—make annotations in the margins, mark passages where something clicked for you, underline lines you find significant or interesting or confusing. Keep track of your thoughts in the margins.   Step 2: Pick a piece, one which you find interesting and which raises some interesting questions for you. It’s okay if you don’t know how to read the piece yet. That’s what you’ll be trying to do in this essay.   Step 3: Reread the piece carefully, paying attention to how the author uses literary devices to create this poem or story. Look for patterns, pay attention to voice, look for repetition, style cues, point of views, etc. Ask yourself what the author is doing and why she is doing it. Take some notes in the margins, or on a separate sheet of paper as you do this.   Step 4: Start to think about what you’d like to say about the passage. This should coalesce into some sort of coherent thesis around which you will organize your paper. Think about why that passage is important or significant to the rest of the story. Make sure this thesis is contestable (not something that everyone can agree on), and that it is supported by the text. You must use specific examples to back up and support your argument.   Step 5: Start to organize your essay. Write. This is the questions the prof answer and I answer can help you for the essay What motivates a character? Jig is motived to make the American happy. She even says, “Oh, yes. But I don’t care about me. And I’ll do it and then everything will be fine.” This implies that all she wants is for their relationship to go back to way things were before and they will be happy together. Where does a character’s conflict come from? Jig’s conflict comes from within herself. She wants to be happy with her boyfriend and will do anything to make that happen. He questions whether she truly wants to have the operation or not. However, after a while she wants to drop the conversation because she feels that the operation will make the relationship happy again. To whom is a character most faithful? Jig is most faithful to the American. She says she does not value what she thinks. Every time the American asks her if she wants to have the operation or not, she in returns asks if it will make him happy and if their relationship will be as good as before. This gives a sense that she is more faithful to her relationship with him than her own self-worth. Should we sympathize with or admire him/her? The readers, today, should sympathize with Jig. In the time that Hemmingway wrote this story, woman should be seen and not necessarily heard. This mentality influenced Jig to desire the happiness of their relationship over what she could possibly feel about the operation. The readers should also sympathize because when she tried to make the mood a happy and fun one, the American dismisses the gesture until Jig plainly says, “I was being amused. I was having a fine time.” Then he realizes how offensive he was. What are his/her values? Jig values the American’s thoughts and feelings. She also values the relationship they had before, and the possible relationship that will happen after the operation. She also values happiness. She shows this when she tries to make the mood amusing instead of glum. How has he/she transformed over time? Jig is transformed by the way the American values her opinion about the operation. At first, she is only concerned about what he thinks, losing him, and the relationship diminishing after the operation. As the story progresses, she realizes that she is happier to keep the relationship with just the two of them. Jig says, “But I don’t want anybody but you. I don’t want anyone else.” What is the defining moment in the story after which the main character is changed? The defining moment in the story is at the end when Jig realizes that she feels fine about conducting the operation. Jig says, “There’s nothing wrong with me. I feel fine.” She realizes she actually has feelings about the abortion, and that she is fine going through with it. Who is the more powerful person in the story and does the power shift during the story? At the beginning, the American holds most of the power. The start of the story portrays him as a typical American male who makes all the decisions. The transition of power from the American to Jig is when he starts expressing that her opinion on the operation matters. When this idea starts to unfold, the American makes sure that Jig know it is in her power to continue with the operation or not go through with it at all. What are a character’s distinctive traits? Two of Jigs distinctive traits is that she is funny and creative. At the beginning she tries to lighten the mood by saying the hills look like white elephants. Jig also has strong devotion for her relationship with the American. What is the significance of the setting or the imagery? The setting is very descriptive for the story to set the mood for the readers. There is a river dividing hills with sun shining down on them and a train station that is creating shadowed area for the characters. The sunny hills represent life, while the shadowed area represents death. Since rivers are naturally long and windy,  it foreshadows that the characters will have back and forth conversation and decision to make between life and death. There is also a curtain of bamboo beads at the train station that symbolize life and rebirth. This refers to the relationship after the operation.   (the under line is the answers that I write for the story)   •           analyze and investigate ideas and to present them in well-structured prose appropriate to the purpose and audience.   •           understand and apply rhetorical principles of argument, as applied to literature (poetry, drama and/or fiction), non-fiction prose, and other cultural texts (film, popular culture, new media and/or other visuals) in order to improve the persuasiveness of your writing.   •           develop your ability to locate, evaluate, use, and document information to support your thinking and writing   DETAILS:   Please use MLA format for in-text citations, works cited, and the format for the paper. The paper should be about 4-5 pages, not including the works cited page.         SOURCES:   Please use at least 3 sources.  One source will be the short story that you’re writing about.  The other sources should be from the NOVA library database. (don’t worry about the citation I will do it) Just skip it     CITATIONS:   For this essay, you must cite the piece you choose to close read using MLA in-text citations. When quoting for the text for the first time, you must use the author’s last name and the page number in a parenthetical citation at the end of the sentence.   A parenthetical citation in MLA includes the author and the page number in parenthesis after the quote.   Example: “That would be the two-word version of our story: we fell” (Russell 9).   GRADING   In grading essays, I use the following general criteria:             An “A” level grade (90-100%) marks an essay that engages the reader in a provocative conversation.  Its author anticipates and responds to possible reader questions well, uses a wide range of supporting evidence to the best effect, engages the reader in a provocative conversation, provides unexpected insights, and/or uses language with care and facility.   This is the link for the story I choose, and which have the same 10 answers underline:

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