Assignment 3: Literature Analysis

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Write an analytic response (minimum: 500 words) to a fictional story (no poetry) from our Lesson 3 readings. See Sub-Lessons 3-1 to 3-8 for the readings that will qualify for this assignment.

An analytic response focuses on the deeper meaning as opposed to a summary. An analysis includes identifying the setting, purpose, symbolism, and theme(s) of a piece of writing to grasp the underlying meaning. (These literary terms are explained below.)

Read the story several times. Take notes on its themes, characters, setting, plot, and so on. Be sure the notes include looking beyond the surface to the deeper meaning the author is trying to relay. Include how the author’s message and the themes then impact setting, characters, plot, and so on. An analysis also looks at why the meaning is important.

Do NOT summarize or re-tell the story. Remember that your audience has already read it! The majority of the essay must move beyond summary to analysis.

Here is an outline (WORD and PDF) that you can use to help you structure and organize your paper.

Explanation of Literary Terms

  1. Setting – The setting is where and when the story takes place.
  2. Purpose – What was the author hoping to accomplish or communicate in writing this story?
  3. Symbolism – A symbol is a character, place, thing or event that stands for something else, often an abstract idea.
  4. Theme – A theme is a general message or insight into life revealed through a literary work. It is basically what the writer suggests about people or life.

Below is a list of the readings that can be used for this assignment:

  • From Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  • “Prometheus and the First People” by Olivia E. Collidge
  • “The Orphan Boy and the Elk Dog”
  • From Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali by D.T. Niane
  • “Rama’s Initiation” from The Ramayana by R.K. Narayan
  • “Cupid and Psyche” by Lucius Apuleius (Retold by Sally Benson”
  • “Ashputtle” by Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm
  • “Arthur Becomes Kings of Britain” from The Once and Future King by T.H. White
  • “Morte d’Arthur” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
  • From Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  • “Damon and Pythias” by William F. Russel
  • “Two Friends” by Guy de Maupassant

Please open and type your analytical response in this APA template. If you are struggling with APA, the following video tutorials might be helpful:

All sources, including your textbook, need to be cited in-text and on your reference page. Please be sure to watch this tutorial on Characteristics of Scholarly Sources and Locating Academic Sources for Assignment 3.

  • Be sure that your in-text citations are properly formatted using APA.Your in-text citations should follow this format: (author’s last name, date of publication, page number written with a p.) Ex. (Jones, 1998, p. 3). If there isn’t a date or a page, use n.d. or n.p., but keep in mind that scholarly sources typically have all of that information.
  • When citing the textbook, you should use this format: Author’s Last Name, Author’s First Initial. (2012). “Title of Work.” Prentice Hall: Literature, Grade 10, Part 2, Common Core Edition. [Bookshelf Online]. (pp. #-#). Retrieved from…
  • When citing a website in your reference list you should use this format: Author’s Last Name, Author’s First Name. (Date of Publication). “Title of Article.” Retrieved from website address.

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