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Short Stories & Film Adaptations

ENGL 2341 with Dr. Dalvi

The Assignment

Short Story Analysis 10% of the final grade


For this assignment, you will analyze one of the short stories selected this semester.

Your essay should be about 1000-1200 word analysis of the story of your choice that explores a unique point of view. You are arguing about a specific idea that the reader may not have thought of and urging the reader to understand and agree with you. You may focus on characters (ie. compare and contrast two), tone, or subject-matter (theme). The claim must be narrow and specific, which you develop with evidence in the body of your essay. (Choosing a wide or general theme is not a good idea, because it forces you to state the obvious.) Your paper must have a clear thesis stated early, evidence and reasoning to support it throughout the body of the essay, and analysis of the significance of this reading to an understanding of the story.

This is why focusing on a narrower claim will be helpful. A poor claim summarizes the story; a strong one makes a pointed, clear, and arguable claim about the story. Your thesis would include your claim and an overview of your proof to the reader (in other word, how exactly will you prove your claim?). The order of your proof is followed in the structure of your analysis. Your thesis does not have to be only one sentence, but it must direct your reader in what to expect from your argument.

Developing and supporting an analytical argument, researching and using persuasive authority, practicing documentation and revision skills. This is a critical/analytical argument paper and not a general, informative paper.

  • You must be able to apply your findings to an issue and draw a conclusion that will offer your readers a unique insight into the story.
  • A good analysis concentrates on details: you should quote portions of the story to show how the text supports your thesis.
  • Then you should offer comments and analysis that show how the portion you’re interpreting contributes to the work as a whole.
  • As a general rule, “say more about less”: limit your focus to a small enough topic so that you can cover it in detail in this assignment.

You must use and cite one secondary source. Make use of the library databases to find articles that talk about the short story. 

  • You should choose appropriate secondary sources. General sources such as encyclopedias may be consulted but not used or cited.
  • All internet sites must be either from academic institutions or other authoritative and verifiable sources.
  • You should not use Google to find sources.
  • Wikipedia and AI Chat are not an appropriate source.
  • Neither is SCHOOMP, or other commercial study guides.

I want your ideas. You must include a Works Cited page. You may use any software to assist you, but the final product is yours.

  • MLA Style Guide
    Last Updated Feb 20, 2024 1821 views this year

Grading: You will be graded on the following criteria

  1. A clear summary of the story in the introduction
  2. An argumentative, strong thesis that is divided into sections
  3. Body paragraphs that chronologically explore the thesis
  4. Correct and appropriate use of the primary text (the short story) for quotes
  5. An appropriate secondary source (scholarly article) that is used to forward your ideas
  6. A conclusion that wraps up the argument and hints at possible further research
  7. MLA format in header, spacing, and citation work


Use this trick with the title of the story and/or the author's name.

Use AND to separate concepts/ideas/keywords and narrow down the search results.

It's not cheating to look at the references to find more articles!

Listed with the bibliographic information are keywords that the database uses. Redo your search using some of these.

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