Compare and/or contrast a minimum of three elements in two short stories. Your essay of approximately six pages must include reference to at least three of the seven elements of short fiction described in WAL: plot, character, point of view, setting, theme, symbol, and style, although these elements do not have to dictate the focus or organization of your essay. If you prefer to approach the stories from historical or psychological point of view, for example, I encourage you to do so. However, you must refer specifically to each of the elements you choose as a way of demonstrating your understanding of them.
Stories to choose from include those in Chapter 4 of WAL, as well as those in the Resources folder. You may not write a comparison of Chopin?s The Story of an Hour and Gilman?s The Yellow Wallpaper as that comparison is already developed in the text. In looking for something with which to compare and contrast these stories, consider author, theme, time period, or setting as a basis for a search. Consider the form of literary criticism that most appealed to you; what would make an interesting comparison based on that interest? For example, a New Critic may choose two pieces with similar language, tone, and setting, as two stories by Kate Chopin would share. A writer interested in cultural studies or postcolonial criticism may choose non-canonical writers, like Bharati Mukherjee Zora Neale Hurston. If you are uncertain about the stories you have chosen, contact me.
Read the pieces you?ve chosen many times. Think critically about how the elements are illustrated. Delve beyond the surface. Look for unusual connections between the two pieces and offer many examples from both to support your claims. At the same time, avoid long quotes that do not serve a very specific purpose. It is better to integrate short passages into your own writing. Remember that you are working to convince your readers of the similarities and differences between these two pieces.
The sample paper on pages 79-81 of WAL is a rough model, though it does not include literary criticism or a Works Cited page, and it focuses on just one element.
You must incorporate at least one piece of literary criticism, because ?having read and thought about a number of authors? ideas and arguments, you are almost certainly more prepared to construct an argument of your own? (Schlib and Clifford 201). This literary criticism must be accessed from our library databases.
You might incorporate this criticism as follows: In Chopin?s ?The Story of an Hour? and Gilman?s ?The Yellow Wallpaper,? the protagonists do not lead the traditional domestic lives of the women of their era. Although other texts by Gilman, like Herland, may see some form of domesticity as empowering, ?The Yellow Wallpaper? suggests that she ?finds literal housekeeping deeply contradictory, reviling it as drudgery and a source of women?s suffering? (Kalayjian). The fragile mental state of the protagonist in ?The Yellow Wallpaper? denies her the role of keeper of the house, presenting her instead to a single room and the care of her husband.
Remember to write in the literary present. For example, Kalayjian asserts that, ?once professionalized, domestic tasks (which Gilman believes are ineptly performed as well as unpaid in the private sphere, and therefore the root cause of women?s dependence) become the source of women?s pride in workmanship and actually afford financial independence.? Note that she uses ?are? and ?become.?
Review the Essay Basics handout in the Resources folder. Avoid first (I, me, my, we) and second (you) person.
Your essay must be in MLA format. This includes a 12-point font, 1 inch margins (not 1.25?), a header with your last name and page number (Student 1, for example), appropriate in-text citations, and a Works Cited page. Be very careful to cite your sources appropriately. An essay with any plagiarism in it will receive no credit, as stated on our syllabus.
Read, revise, and edit your essay carefully. Refer to my comments on your other writing as a guide. Avoid having an essay full of distracting and easily corrected mistakes. These errors will impact your grade. If you have not reviewed the rubric, sample essays, and Essay Basics (in the Resources folder), do so before you submit your essay.
Submit your complete final draft to me via the Dropbox by Monday, October 28 for up to 100 points. You must submit your essay through the Dropbox to receive credit for it. Per our syllabus, late essays drop one letter grade. Late essays may only be submitted for one week past the due date. Also per our syllabus, an essay with any plagiarism will receive a zero.
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