Literature essay [guaranteed a only]



This assignment is worth 10% of your overall course grade.

In this unit, we have focused on the conventions of reading and writing about narrative literature.  This short essay asks you to show what you have learned about interpreting and writing about a short story.  To do this you should review the album on Flannery O’Connor’s work in The Norton Introduction to Literature (pages 419-458).

After reviewing the album and the context for her work, choose one of the short stories (“A Good Man is Hard to Find,” “Good Country People,” or “Everything that Rises Must Converge”) and ask an interpretive question about it.  This interpretive question should be about an element of the story that can be read in more than one way.  To help you develop a question, consider the elements of literature and narrative we have discussed in this course to date as well as the types of questions you have already been asked to answer.  If you are stuck, consider the points of the story that stand out to you—what is significant about them?  Feel free to ask your instructor if you are unsure about your question. 


Write an essay in which ask and then answer an interpretive question about one of Flannery O’Connor’s short stories.  Your interpretive question should be clear from the introduction (though it need not be in the form of a question—you may also describe it).  Your thesis will provide an answer to the question, as well as forecast the organization of the rest of the paper.  Use ample evidence in the form of analysis of quotations to support your interpretive points. Your essay should be approximately 3 double-spaced pages, formatted in MLA style.


Be sure to review the course materials we have studied about the conventions for writing about literature, and narrative specifically.


Successful essays will

  1. Introduce and identify the story and the focus of the essay in the introduction.
  2. Employ a clear thesis statement that summarizes your interpretation and forecasts the organization of the essay.
  3. Address an audience of reader that are familiar with the story and author’s work but unfamiliar with your interpretation of it (in other words, you need not summarize the stories).
  4. Follows the conventions for writing about narrative.
  5. Organize the paper and each paragraph effectively, given the purpose and audience.
  6. Foreground your ideas and interpretation as main points (topic sentences about the interpretation).
  7. Show your critical thinking about the story by supporting your ideas and paragraphs with
    1. Textual evidence in the form of quotations from the story to support interpretations, and
    2. Explication (explanation of your reasoning—how you understand and interpret the evidence).
  8. Use Standard Edited American English.

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