Work of Fiction

Your task in this assignment is to analyze a work of fiction. There are two typical approaches:   Theme analysis: examine and explore a theme that you see at work in the story. Make sure you can express the theme in a thesis statement! Ex. “The Lottery” explores the danger of unexamined belief. The tradition in “The Lottery” dehumanizes the people of the town. In “A & P” we see how Sammy struggles against being trapped by the conformity and conventionality of his small town. In “The Story of an Hour” Mrs. Mallard discovers that she values freedom more than love.

Character Analysis: examine how a character is developed in the story. Explore what motivates or drives the character, or what conflicts they have to struggle with. Again, make sure you develop a strong thesis: Ex. In “A & P” Sammy’s inherent idealism causes him to fight the conformity of his small town. In “The Story of an Hour,” Mrs. Mallard experiences an awakening and discovers that self-determination is “the strongest impulse of her being.”

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Important points to keep in mind:   Stay close to the story, but do not spend time retelling the plot!   Back-up generalities about theme, character, or whatever point you are making with specific examples.   Build up evidence to support a specific, clear thesis.   Explore or develop a chain of reasoning so that your reader will understand the logic of your argument.   Ask yourself, what am I trying to prove?—what is my evidence?

An analysis essay should include:   An introduction which may include any of the following:   A general sense of your subject. Possibly, a brief introduction of the points you will develop in your essay. An interesting “hook” that pulls the reader in, making him want to read more. A statement of your thesis, your controlling idea, or at least an indication of the direction you intend to follow.   The body of the paper: well-developed, well-unified paragraphs that explore the main points you want to develop.   A conclusion which may include:   A general summation. A final evaluation. Final observations that bring a satisfying sense of conclusion to your paper

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