literary analysis paper

For the literary analysis assignment, you will write an essay based on your readings of the following texts: “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner and “Sweat” by Zora Neale Hurston. Your paper will discuss gothic symbolism through characterization and theme in the aforementioned stories. Gothic symbolism is often demonstrated through darkness or evilness, supernatural occurrences and unusual events. Moreover, writers often use gothic representations to problematize social issues. For example, all three narratives use gothic elements to critique marriage and gender roles—most notably, through the experiences of female protagonists. Likewise, grotesque characters often emphasize gothic themes. Their broken bodies and minds highlight their violent, immoral, and corrupt behavior. Through characterization, gothic symbolism can point readers to a theme or a broad, yet introspective message about the human condition.

Before you draft your paper, revisit the stories and annotate [for] gothic symbolism. Look at characters, imagery, setting and conflict. What is “gothic” about these symbols? What idea(s) do they represent? What does the symbol suggest about the theme of the narrative? If a character appears to be gothic or grotesque, study their appearance, dialogue and behavior. What do their actions and personality seem to represent? How does he/she/they reflect the theme of the story? Lastly, review past notes and Zoom lectures about gothic and southern gothic representations in the selected short stories.

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This is an argumentative essay that requires three (3) sources. Begin your search by locating journal or peer-reviewed articles written by scholars that support your thesis—meaning the scholar(s) must fully or partially agree with your argument or the article must contain general information that compliments your thesis. This essay must include MLA citations— specific lines/passages from the stories as well as quotes from scholarly articles to support your thesis. To find articles, you will use the university library website. I recommend the Gale Literature database, as well as the JSTOR and EBSCO databases. Google Scholar is also permissible. Be sure to narrow your database searches. For example, searching for specific terms and phrases such as “gothic symbolism and women writers,” or “southern gothic in twentieth century literature,” will return extensive search results. If you need help gathering sources, refer back to Professor Berg’s Zoom lecture on library resources and scholarly research on D2L. Unacceptable sources for this essay include but are not limited to: Wikipedia, blog posts, .com websites, dictionaries, and encyclopedia entries. If you are skeptical of a source, please contact me before using it in your paper. Please refer to the “Writing Resources” module on D2L for help with MLA style in-text citations and the Works Cited page.

In the introduction of the essay, contextualize your argument—mention writers, provide the titles of works, and state main ideas that shape your argument. Most importantly, include an explicit argumentative thesis, written in third person. Do not include in-text citations in the introduction.The body of your paper should be organized using several topic sentences related to the essay prompt (see first and second paragraphs) and your thesis. Within the body of your paper, include specific examples and quotations from primary texts and secondary sources to support your thesis. Do not begin and end paragraphs with quotations. Before using a secondary source, properly introduce it by providing the author’s name and title of the article. Also, before working the source into your analysis, provide the author’s thesis and/or short commentary on how the source relates to your thesis. Please note that secondary sources should remain secondary. Your arguments should guide the essay. The paper should close with a standard conclusive paragraph, where you reaffirm the main ideas of your paper (found in your thesis and topic and conclusive sentences throughout the essay).

Essay Submission Checklist
Failure to adhere to the following guidelines will result in point deductions from the essay grade:
ü The essay must be at least 5 pages, but may not exceed 7 pages.
ü Transition words/phrases and signal verbs must be included in the essay.
ü No more than 2 direct quotes per paragraph. Quotes may not exceed 3 lines (no block quotes!)
ü MLA style in-text citations must follow quotes and paraphrases. A MLA Works Cited Page is required.

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