Use one to three quotes from the story, each no more than four lines long. Do not use quotes from anywhere other than the story. Cite each quote using MLA parenthetical in-text citation. Write about the main character (protagonist). How? Notice the way he or she interacts with the other characters; look at the main character’s conflict, or problem, in the story. Example: In “Everyday Use”, how does Dee’s visit back home affect Mama? What kind of a daughter or sister is Dee? What makes Dee an interesting character? Or, if you find Mama interesting, discuss why. Or, maybe you find Maggie intriguing. What do you think of Maggie, and her reactions to what is going on around her? Also, notice how the setting affects the protagonist, or the way the antagonist (the person or force acting against the protagonist) affects the protagonist. Remember, setting has to do with the place where the story happens, and the time in history when it occurs. If you like psychology, the setting can be within the character’s mind. What is going on in the main character’s mind? In “A&P”, Sammy is a rather comical character who shares his thoughts about working in a grocery store. In “The Tell-Tale Heart”, what causes the narrator to commit murder?
In “To Build a Fire”, how important is the setting when you look at the main character’s conflict? What happens to him as a result?
*In addition, in which point of view is the story written? For example, first-person point-of-view comes from the person telling the story. In “Everyday Use”, Mama tells the story from her point-of-view. In “A&P”, Sammy tells the story from his point-of-view. In both stories, the point of view is first-person. How does the point-of-view affect our reading of the story?
Organize your writing. Watch the Easy Essay video in the Student Resources (S.R.) Module. Also, look closely at the student example essays in the S.R. Module.Important: Avoid being overly judgmental about fictional characters. Really, there is nothing more boring than reading an entire essay about how immature Sammy is, or how Dee acts like she’s better than her family. Steer clear of too much negativity! Look at all sides of a character’s personality.If you want to earn the highest grade possible, write an essay that shows your understanding of the Unit 1 Literary Devices.Use your critical thinking skills when you write this essay. What do you notice about how the main character reacts to other people? What is important to know about the story’s setting? Close reading will help you answer those questions and write excellent papers.Avoid re-telling plot. A plot summary is a book report, and we all did those in junior high. It’s time to move on. If you are trying for an A, do not summarize the plot. I already know the plot. I am interested in your critical thinking.Incorporate literary terms in your essay. Don’t use the trite phrase “the writer is teaching a life lesson.” Instead, try “The story’s theme resonates,” or “This coming-of-age story shows how accepting responsibility for his actions changes Sammy’s outlook.” Check out Units 1 and 2 Literary Devices in the SR Module.Do not use “I” and “me” in your essay. The paper is about your analysis of the story, not about your life story.*Important: Always title your essays. Not having a title will cost you five points. Make up your own title. If you can’t think of one, use this: My Analysis of “A&P” (or whatever story you choose to write about). Do not use the story title as your essay title.
*Remember, you do not need to include a Work Cited page. There is no need, because you are not using material outside our textbook.
You do, however, need to include in-text citations (also known as MLA parenthetical citations) for quotations from the story. To earn your best grade, you should include at least one quote from the story, and cite it. Weave it into your essay. Don’t just drop the quote into your paper.Here is an example of a correctly done MLA in-text citation:
Once Sammy quits his job, he looks for the girls, but “they’re gone, of course. There wasn’t anybody but some young married screaming with her children about some candy they didn’t get” (24).
This is very important: Do not go online and look up someone else’s opinion or analysis of the story, and use their ideas in your paper. I am asking for your thoughts and ideas. In other words, you should not use outside sources for this assignment. Any material other than the story in Backpack Literature is an outside source.