English Composition II
Paper Guidelines: Literary Analysis
Directions: Use the story “Eleven” by Sandra Cisneros to write your paper, “B”.
“B” Paper (Primary Sources only (from the story); 80% or higher; 90% or higher is still a
“B” grade): (800 words; you can exceed the word limit)
1. WHAT IS AN ANALYSIS? An analysis looks at parts of the whole to which they
belong. An analysis shows how the elements contribute to the whole meaning of the
work. An analysis is not a paraphrase or a summary; instead, it is an explanation of
the way a text communicates. An explication unfolds the meaning of a work. It explains
in detail how an essay, short story, poem, play, or novel communicates to the reader. A
literary analysis often focuses on one or more elements of literature, including—but not
limited to the following:
a) central idea
g) person (point-of-view)
2. THE TEXT: You MUST write Papers “B” on a short story you HAVE
NOT written about in this course. The story MUST come from the Norton text used in
class. You cannot choose a text outside of Norton.
3. CHOOSE A TOPIC: Read the story you will analyze again. Find a theme that is
interesting and develop your topic based on that theme. For example, mental illness
is instrumental to “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Mental illness, then, is your subject; postpartum depression is your topic. Please give your paper a title. For example,
“Understanding Post-Partum Depression in Gilman’s ‘The Yellow Wallpaper.’”
4. SELECT THREE POINTS: Examine three points in the text that can be expanded and
assist you with organizing your paper. The Pre-Writing process can aid you in this
endeavor (brainstorming, clustering, outline, etc.). You can also formulate questions to
guide you. Here are some questions you can utilize, for example, from “The Yellow
a. What is the story’s central idea?
b. What attitude does the husband have about his wife’s condition?
c. What role does the sister play in the story?
d. What does the text suggest about women artists?
e. Who is the targeted audience?
f. What role, if any, does the title have to the story? How does the title drive the
Sample Thesis from the story “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne:
Hawthorne uses a physical setting to explore the conflict between evil and its triumph over
the faith of the protagonist Young Goodman Brown.
The three topics/points are: setting, conflict, and central idea (or theme)
Sample Thesis from the story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose
Pierce: In this literary narration, Bierce cunningly uses third person point of view, a rustic
setting, and his elaborate portrayal of feeling to suggest that Farquhar escapes.
The three topics/points are: point of view, setting, and central idea (or theme)
5. WRITE THE PAPER: A critical analysis will allow you to examine each point and
show how they work together as part of a whole to achieve the author’s purpose. Such
an analysis involves your interpretation of the work. With this in mind, you must use
the following pattern to structure your paper. Do not begin or end paragraphs with
quotes. Do not use the first or second person. Use the present tense only.
a) First paragraph: In the first sentence identify the author and the title of the
work being analyzed. Next, briefly provide a synopsis of the text. Finally,
create a thesis statement and underline your thesis statement at the end of this
paragraph. This should be no more than half a page and it should
incorporate three points that you plan to examine.
b) Second paragraph: Begin with a topic sentence that introduces your first
point. Analyze this point. Be sure to include quotes from the text to
support/explicate your position and to support your interpretation of the work.
You MUST explain each quote you use. Provide the entire quote and do
not use hanging quotes. It is required that you use citations for each quote.
Use the 1, 2. 3 Step Process when quoting from the text: (1) Introduce the
quote, insert the quote (with citation), and explain the quote.
c) Third paragraph: Explain the impact of your first point. Use the 1, 2, 3 Step
Process. You will use this process for ALL body paragraphs.
d) Fourth paragraph: Identify and analyze your second point. Include
quotations from the text to support your analysis and interpretation. Explain
each quote using the 1, 2, 3 Step Process.
e) Fifth paragraph: Show why your second point is important. Remember that
each of the body paragraphs must include quotes that you must explain.
f) Sixth paragraph: Identify and analyze your last point. Use quotes and
explain what they mean.
g) Seventh paragraph: Explain the importance of the last point.
h) Final paragraph: Create a conclusion that sums up the essence of the
analysis. Do not simply restate your main points, however. Answer the “so
what question”? In other words, why does this analysis matter? Take a step
beyond and offer a directive or evaluation concerning the effectiveness of the
work. Do not use the phrase “In conclusion.”
6. PROOFREAD AND EDIT: Read it and check for spelling and grammatical errors.
Determine whether the paper flows from one to another and from paragraph to paragraph. Edit
your paper. Avoid repetition. Cut and splice: You may want to expand upon one point and/or
reduce another (be organic, but also be cognizant of spatial awareness.
7. DOCUMENTATION: DO NOT use secondary (outside) sources for Paper “B.”
Quotes taken from the primary
source (the text itself) must contain proper citations. DO NOT USE WIKIPEDIA.
Failure to cite material is plagiarism. Plagiarism, or intellectual property theft, is a
crime. If you are caught, I will issue an F for the course. Please be mindful of the
legal repercussions of plagiarism beyond this class.
8. LANGUAGE: This is a formal written assignment and should be treated as such. Do
not use slang or clichés. Your language should be formal.
English Composition II