Gender themes in Tim O’Briens The Things They Carried

Critique the message that a short story conveys on the theme of gender through close analysis of the work’s textual elements.

How does your story endorse or challenge a common stereotype about masculinity or femininity? How does it reflect a popular mindset about what it means to be a “true woman” or a “real man”? What point does it relate about gender, how does it relate it, and why significant?– You can take virtually whatever position you would like on such questions, so long as your stance (thesis) is based on close analysis of the story.

Textual Elements.
Your evaluation should be based on close analysis of the work’s textual elements. These include such things as plot, characters, point of view, symbols, and imagery. It’s up to you to decide which elements to analyze, though it’s generally smart to discuss the obvious ones. Your analysis should be limited (i.e., centered on 1-2 elements) and focused (i.e., provide examples that support your thesis).

Provide a brief overview summary of your story before you analyze it. At the very least, give the author’s full name and title of the work. Also provide a short overview of the text in the body of your paper, before you analyze it. Moreover, in your body paragraphs, cite the story (i.e., directly quote) to provide evidence for your analysis. Like your analysis, your summary should be limited and focused. Provide just enough to inform your readers and support your ideas.

Your goal is to demonstrate how your story succeeds/fails to relate an important message about gender. Don’t simply summarize the text or provide your personal impressions. To this end, use analytical paragraph structure (i.e., P.I.E. paragraphs); write topic sentences that demonstrate the link between content and form. If you are not analyzing the story, you are not really doing the assignment correctly…


Avoiding Plagiarism.
• The assigned stories have been discussed and written about before, sometimes extensively. So be cautious about consulting secondary sources, especially from the internet; all borrowed words or ideas must be thoroughly cited, or you risk plagiarism.

• Use MLA style for in-text citations and Works Cited, if needed.
• This essay does not need a Works Cited page, unless you cite sources in addition to your selected story. (e.g., a work of literary criticism on your story).

Page Formatting.
• Final Draft must be formatted in MLA style.
Page Length.
• 4-5 pages (i.e, 1000-1250 words).

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