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short story analysis

Your assignment this week is to write a first draft of a literary analysis essay of a short story. It is very important that you read the lessons we’ve provided so far. They will guide and direct you. This week’s lesson includes a sample essay as well, which you might find helpful as a reference. 

By now you should have chosen your short story, created a thesis, and developed a rough outline. Consider all of that flexible. It’s not unusual for writers to modify their points or even the entire thesis as they write. Often you’ll find putting your ideas into words is the best way to clarify your thinking. Don’t feel trapped by your original thinking. You are welcome to change your mind as you go along. 

Also remember that this is the first draft of a difficult paper. Don’t be too anxious. You will have two additional drafts to make changes and iron out the problems. And you will have the help and support of your writing coach along the way. Don’t feel like you have to get it exactly right this first time. 


We’ll review organization in a coming lesson, but for now, keep in mind the basics of organizing an essay. You will want an introductory paragraph in which you grab your reader’s attention and introduce your thesis. The body of your paper should include supporting points taken from the story itself. At least one paragraph per point. Usually it’s best to save your most convincing argument for last, but that’s up to you. Finish with a concise summary paragraph that reminds the reader of your overall point.  

Length: Essays like this typically fall between 500-1000 words or two to five double-spaced pages. As always, be more concerned about the quality of your words than the quantity of them.  

See formatting guidelines.