Length: At least 2 pages, including analyzed quotations from the story. Your essay may be longer, but please do not make it longer by relating unnecessary details about the story’s plot.
Sample thesis: William Faulkner deliberately chooses the townspeople to narrate “A Rose for Emily” in order to preserve Emily’s reputation and present an element of mystery.
Format: You MUST follow the outline below.
This is the introduction paragraph of your paper. Include a brief summary of the main details of the story (no more than four or five sentences), then offer a thesis statement that includes the purpose of the essay.
Note: there is no central idea statement for this essay.
Identify the narrator and offer proof (1 quote needed for support). Then briefly explain that Faulkner deliberately chooses the narrator(s) because he (they) has a vested interest in the preservation of Emily’s good name. Also explain how her reputation is connected to the old southern town. No quotes are needed in this paragraph (except for the narrator identification) since its purpose is simply to establish the discussion points of the following paragraphs.
Discuss how the town has a history of caring for and excusing Emily’s behavior, thereby preserving her good name. Remember, use examples that show how they take special care of her (and give her special treatment) and how they make excuses for her strange behavior. All of your examples for this paragraph MUST come from sections I & II of the story. (at least 3 different quotes/examples needed for support)
Discuss how the town appears to cover up Emily’s ill-deeds and refuse to divulge any questionable goings on in her life in order to preserve her good name. All your examples for this paragraph must come from sections III, IV & V of the story. (at least 3 different quotes/examples needed for support).
The conclusion should summarize what you have discussed in the essay. Do not bring up new information, or offer new ideas of analysis.
DO NOT recycle quotes for support. There are plenty of examples to choose from, so do not reuse any throughout your essay.
Each support paragraph must begin with a clear TOPIC STATEMENT consisting of your own words (no quotes included). A topic statement identifies the specific purpose of the paragraph. It is usually one or two sentences (no more than two). The topic statement is crucial to the reader’s understanding of your paragraph’s goal. If you don’t have a clear topic statement, then there is no established purpose for the paragraph’s contents. Include the outline’s bold typed key words (or synonyms) in your topic statements. After the topic statement, you may begin discussing and supporting your topic with the first claim.
A specific CLAIM must come before a quoted example or be integrated with the quoted example. The function of the claim is to provide purpose for that specific example. The claim establishes your first point in support of the paragraph’s topic, and the quote that follows is the evidence for that point. If you don’t provide a clear claim, then you will probably be merely retelling the story with no stated reason.
You must integrate QUOTES into your discussion. Don’t just throw them in randomly. Quotes must be integrated smoothly into your sentences and the integration must follow grammar and syntax rules. Quotes are usually integrated with the claims, but they can be integrated with the analysis as an alternate. Avoid integrating quotes with both, the claim and analysis, at the same time in one long sentence. This usually creates wordy, run-on sentences or confusing ideas. Also, only use the part of the quote that you need – anything more distracts from your point. See “Quotation Inclusions” under “Resources” in Blackboard for help on integrating quotes. Also, see the sample paragraph provided, “Tension”. The minimum number of quotes required in each paragraph is indicated in the outline above. Don’t provide quotes that merely state or restate a claim; provide quotes that illustrate/prove your claims. The required number of quotes should also each reflect different examples. All references to examples from the story must be quoted in your paper. Quotes longer than 3 lines is NOT acceptable. This means BLOCK QUOTES are NOT allowed.
ANALYSIS must follow your quoted example. Your analysis explains (and persuades) how the quoted example proves the previously stated claim and paragraph’s topic. Remember, quotes do not speak for themselves. They must be explained and put into context to support the point you’ve made. The key to literary analysis is to thoroughly explain your ideas.
You must use the MLA format for documentation and citation. A works cited page must accompany this assignment as well as quotes, with parenthetical citations, to support your ideas. Failure to submit a works cited page based on our class textbook will result in a full letter grade deduction. Failure to include parenthetical citations based on our class textbook will result in a full letter grade deduction.
DO NOT use first person “I” in this essay (ex: I believe…), second person “you” (ex: you see…), and never refer to your essay in third person (ex: “this essay will discuss”, “as mentioned in the previous paragraph”, “this example proves”…). Also avoid terms/phrases like: “for example”, “this shows”, “the author says”, “the second paragraph of the story indicates”, “first”, “second”, “finally”. Also be sure to avoid repetition in your essay. Poor quote integration and/or poor analysis usually results in repetition.
Consider this: a lawyer doesn’t simply dump a stack of papers in front of a jury and say, “all this evidence proves my case. Thanks for coming…good luck in your deliberation”. Instead, a lawyer briefly states his case at the beginning, and then spends the next week arguing (attempting to convince) and explaining his evidence to his audience that what he is saying is true and correct. It is a persuasive goal. This is the approach you should take when writing a literary analysis. Your goal is not to simply state an opinion. Your goal should be to convince the reader that your opinion/analysis is correct. This requires quoted examples, and explanations to help show how the example proves your point.
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