English 1A – Literary Analysis Guidelines
Guidelines for Writing a Literary Critical Analysis
· This is a 3-page literary analysis of 3 – 4 stories from Salinger’s Nine Stories.
· This is not a book report. You are analyzing the novel and explaining what you think Salinger is telling his audience. What is his purpose in writing these stories?
· Find out who Salinger is and introduce him to your audience.
· Analyze the treatment of one of the following themes or motifs in order to come to a conclusion about the meaning the text intends to impart: gender roles; landscape; sentimentality and/or romanticism; mythology; feminism: art. If you have another idea, run it by me for approval.
· Use 1-3 secondary articles you found during your research that backs up and/or further explains your analysis (you can use any of the video’s and/or articles from our class or if you found something from our library or other reliable source), cite all the sources you use (for a quotation, paraphrase, or summary), and include them in the works cited page in MLA style.
· Avoid logical fallacies.
What is a literary critical analysis?
A literary critical analysis explains a work of fiction, poetry or drama by means of interpretations. The goal of a literary analysis (as with any other analysis) is to broaden and deepen your understanding of a work of literature.
What is an interpretation?
An interpretation is an individual response that addresses meaning. Example: The mother in Jamaica Kinkaid’s story “Girl” cannot speak directly of her love for her daughter, so Kinkaid uses details about a woman’s everyday life to convey her pride and anxiety about her daughter.
How do you develop an interpretation?
Interpretations are developed by an in-depth examination of a text. An interpretation often will be the thesis of your paper.
How do you conduct an “in-depth” examination of a text?
1. Before reading the work, make sure to examine the title carefully. Often the title is a clue to an important idea in the work.
2. Make sure you look up in the dictionary any words with which you are not familiar.
3. After reading the work the first time, ask yourself the following questions:
· What is the geographical, historical and social setting?
· How does this affect the story?
· Who is (are) the main character(s)?
· Who are the secondary characters, and how are they linked to the main characters?
· Does the main character change? If so, how and why? If not, why not?
· What is the conflict? Can you trace the development and resolution of the conflict?
· Who is telling the story? How does this influence the story?
4. As you re-read the work, make sure you can answer these questions. Then ask yourself the following questions, which may help you to discover deeper meanings that will lead you to an interpretation.
· Can you summarize the author’s meaning in one paragraph?
· Can you state a theme of the work in one sentence?
· Can you identify any symbols or metaphors? What do they mean?
How do you prove your interpretation?
You prove your interpretation by finding a pattern of examples in the literature that support your idea. You find this pattern in the literary elements, such as plot, point of view, character, setting, symbols, tone, and style.
If interpretations are a response through a literary lens, is that interpretation valid?
· Because an interpretation must be supported, the strength or weakness of your interpretation rests on the strength or weakness of your argument. In other words, you must organize a discussion that convinces the reader that your point of view is astute.
· Where do you find evidence to support your interpretation?
· In a literary analysis evidence is found mainly from the work you are discussing. Secondary sources (published critical analyses) may support your point of view as well.
How much of the story should you retell in a critical analysis?
You do need to locate your reader to the scene or section of the story that you are discussing; therefore, some plot summary is necessary, but re-telling the story is not considered an analysis. You can assume your reader has read the work.
What should be documented in a critical analysis?
· Any secondary sources, i.e. research
· Direct quotes
· Pictures and charts
· The novel…did I mention the novel? Please cite the novel.
1. Use Word, double-space, and use one-inch margins and 12-point times New Roman, Garamond, Palatino, Book Antiqua, or Courier New.
2. In the upper left corner of your paper, write your name, the instructor’s name (Ms. Fritzchle), English 1A, your course section number, and the due date.
3. Center the title of the assignment.
4. Things to include in your essay:
· Your thesis statement
· Salinger’s background (one or two paragraphs)
· Direct quotes, summary, and paraphrases
· Brief explanation of the lens you are using
· Use examples from the novel when talking about how it fits into the lens you chose.
· Talk about the theme (using the lens you picked)
· Two to three outside sources
· Use third person point of view only
· In-text citations
· MLA Works Cited page
Here’s how you can lose points.
The following list shows the point value I will deduct.
· Using less than the minimum required articles – 3 points
· Writing less than the minimum required pages – 5 points per absent required page count.
· Failure to use third person point of view exclusively – 5 points
· Missing in-text MLA citation references – 10 points
· Missing MLA Works Cited page – 10 points
· Inappropriate title (titling your essay with the ‘type’ of paper) – 3 points
· Numerous typos, misspellings, grammatical errors (that results in a major distraction from the topic)– 5 points
· Incorrectly formatted in-text citation reference information from your sources – 3 points
· Incorrectly formatted Works Cited page – 3 points