Analyze a short story (Don't confuse this writing-class assignment with the mini-reviews for reading class!)

EZ print Instructions

Complete rubric on Microsoft Word.

Serious about getting an A or B on this?  Check out these
Outside Links

How to write a Lit Analysis Paper

Four misconceptions that can destroy this paper   
(A quick web-page from Purdue's OWL site).   

Strategies for avoiding plot summary
(A web page from Temple University, Philadelphia, PA).

Avoiding Plot Summary
(Three quick points on a PDF from Queen's University, Kingston Ontario)

This paper just tells what happened; it doesn't tell why it is important. 

  • This is just a plot summary. 
  • The introduction does not tell the reader an opinion about the movie or book. 
  • The opinion of the book or movie is merely one of quality. 
  • The body of the paper does not try to prove or support the opinion stated in the introduction. 

This paper tries to tell why it was important, but sometimes just ends up telling what happened. 

  • This paper has an opinion in the introduction. 
  • Too much space is given to summarizing the plot. 
  • Although the introduction clearly states an opinion about the movie, the body sometimes wanders from this. 

This paper doesn't just tell what happened; it tells why it was important. 

  • A strong opinion is clearly stated in the introduction. 
  • The amount of space given to plot summary is just enough to interest the reader in the movie and to understand the writer's opinion. 
  • The entire body of this paper supports the opinion given by the writer in the introductory paragraph. 

Only this page of instruction is needed.  All other pages under the "Book Review" tab at top are suggested ideas.  A writer of a review may use one of these ideas. 

Make it about a page and a half to two pages.   

Your title must be original - it cannot simply be the title of the book or movie.   
     See How to Make a Great Title

Thesis Examples:
Although over twenty years old,
The Breakfast Club still demonstrates the difficulties and classifications teenagers face today. 

Douglas Grath's version of Emma offers viewers of romance films a bonus--a character that gets the guy and learns a valuable lesson about life. 

Although clever and entertaining, Judd Apatow's film The Forty-Year Old Virgin  is distrurbing in its portrayal of someone who doesn't have sex as bizarrely different. 

After capturing the viewer's hearts with a poingnant life-and-death family story, Nick Cassavete's film John Q,disappoints audiences by turning into a political commerical.   

Oliver Stone's Platoon far exceeds any film he directed before or after. 

Rocky III shows that when a person gets soft, they lose, because there will always be someone who wants it more. 

Sense and Sensibility, as directed by Ang Lee, demonstrates the two ways women can handle emotionally difficult situations. 

Prewriting: As you read, find quotes and write down page numbers, so you have them handy when you write the paper.

The beginning should introduce the book and your opinion of it.   
Introduction: follow the ANT pattern for the introduction.
Attention-getter.  The attention-getter should be general and interesting.  It should draw the reader in.  It should also connect thematically to the thesis.
Necessary information: author's name, title of work, and a brief plot summary
Thesis: Your thesis should make the statement that there are several moments in the novel when the reader sees the characters taking someone else's perspective.

  • You must have an opinion about this book --you may not just tell what happened.  (See "Outside Links" at top right of this page.) 
  • Your opinion must be more in-depth than I liked it / I didn't like it / it's great / it stinks. 

Here are some way to think of ideas and some examples of each strategy: 
Think about the outlook of world presented by the author or director.  Why did they have this opinion of the world?  Does it address any important issues in a person's life or in our society?  What message was it trying to give the reader?   You may also compare the film to other book or movies the author if you know them, or to other book or movies in the same genre.

After  the writer  introduces the idea in the introduction, the bulk of the book or movie review now becomes a place to prove that point. 
If, in the introduction, the writer stated that "Oliver Stone's Platoon far exceeds any film he directed," the middle portion must now compare specific qualites of Platoon to Stone's other films--Nixon, JFK, etc. 

If, in the introduction, the writer stated that "Judd Apatow's film
The Forty-Year-Old Virgin is distrurbing in its portrayal of someone who doesn't have sex," the writer may in the middle discuss how our society is over-focused on sex, specific ways the main character is portrayed as an outsider to society, etc. 

Body Paragraphs: You will have four, since you need to provide four examples.  Follow the TIQA pattern:

Topic Sentence: this should have the topic of perspective taking and the limiting idea of whatever example you are providing in the paragraph.

Introduce example and quotes: Put the quote or example you are about to provide into context.  You may not just put a quote down.  You need to say something such as When Scout stands on the Radley's porch, she says,"--insert quote " (32).

Quote or example.  You can quote from dialogue or narration.  If the quote is thirty nine words or less, simply include it in your paragraph using quotation marks.  If the quote is forty words or more, indent it and do not use quotation marks. Either way, you must put the page number--for example, (10). 

Analyze the quote or example.  After you have provided the example or quote, you must spend a few sentences explaining how the example or quote supports the topic sentence, which probably says that the character you are talking about has experience perspective taking.  Then you need to explain what the character has learned.  Provide examples that support that the character is better off.  Or that good came from perspective taking.

Normally, you can repeat TIQA twice per paragraph.  The T the second time stands for transition.

The conclusion should summarize your impression of the book.
Reinforce your opinion. 
Give advice to potential readers or viewers.   
Conclusion DO NOT start your conclusion paragraph with "In conclusion" or "To summarize" or any other phrase that has been overused.  Just write the conclusion
Restate your thesis.  RESTATE, not rewrite.  Say your thesis again but differently.
Move into a brief general discussion of the theme of perspective taking and its importance to our lives in general.  How might the world be different if certain real people were to experience what some of these characters have experienced.  Use specific examples from real life.
Clincher--Round off--your last impression to the reader should relate back to the attention-getter.

Post-Draft Work:
Re-read to make sure your sentences make sense. 
Use your Cntrl-F worksheet and to proofread your paper.  Unless they appear in a quote, do not turn in with ANY first or second person "you" or "I"
Absolutely do not use the first person (I, me, my).  Do not use "I think," "In my opinion," and so on.
DO NOT.  Let me repeat, DO NOT begin body paragraphs with such words and phrases as "first," "second," "third," "to begin," "next." These are lame ways to transition.  You may want to use, not overuse, "Another example of .  .  .  is .  .  ."
Along with the above,.  I will know you are concluding if you have transitioned well.
Paper must be typed
12 pt.  Font Times New Roman should be used.
1 inch margins.
Heading should be on top right of the first page only.

Adapted from
To Kill A Mockingbird Paper  on Mr. Lettiere's English Web Site