Symbolism and Research

Rough Draft

Assignment: The purpose of this paper is to analyze symbolism in order to understand one of the larger themes or messages in ONE or TWO short stories. These are your steps:

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Decide which story or stories you would like to write about. You can choose among all the stories we have read in the class, but you cannot write about the story you wrote about in Essay #1. For this paper, you can focus on the symbolism in one story or you can find similar or related symbolism in two stories. For example, you may want to analyze 3 symbols in “Battle Royal,” or you might find symbols in both “Woman Hollering Creek” and “New York Day Women” that show the challenges that women face in our culture.
The most important step in your analysis is to answer this question: so what? By using THIS symbol in THIS way, what point/theme/message is the author trying to get across? Do not simply write, for example, that the woman in “Battle Royal” represents America. In what way? How does she represent America in this story? What is the story saying about America? What else does the woman symbolize and how is that important to the message? Think about the larger message about race and racism in the U.S. that Ellison is trying to convey through his use of symbols.
In addition to doing your own analysis, you will conduct some research for this paper. We will go over how to do this in class, but the basic reason for using research for a literary analysis paper is to either give background about the historical or cultural context or the author’s biography, or to support your own analysis with analysis done by experts in the field.

Requirements: Your paper must have these things:

You must use a minimum of 2 sources for the paper, although you are allowed and encouraged to use more than 2 sources. The sources you use for this paper must only be from the Broward College library or from websites ending with .edu. I will NOT count sources that come from .com or .org websites unless you get individual approval from me. This means that Sparknotes, About.com, Wikipedia, biography.com, etc. are not allowed for this paper. I will show you how to use the library website during class.
A clear introduction and conclusion that are separate paragraphs from the body.
Clear analysis of the symbol. Remember that a symbol is an object or action or person in the story, and that object symbolizes a bigger idea or theme. Do not write a lot of plot summary, but balance plot detail with analysis.
Specific evidence to back up your point. This means that you will use some quotes in your paper from the story, and use examples to back up your point. Do NOT talk generally about the story. Example: instead of saying “Aylmer was selfish,” find a quote in the story that shows his selfishness, quote it, and explain its significance. Use at least one quote in each body paragraph, but not more than two quotes. Limit yourself to only one block quote per paper, if that.
A thesis statement that states what symbol(s) will be analyzed, the message they are connected to in the story, and how they show that message (I will give you samples).
Structure and development. I suggest that your paper should have three body paragraphs, and they should be organized and developed. This would make a 5-paragraph essay. (A 4 or 6 paragraph essay could also be acceptable for this assignment, but no more or less).
Proofreading: fix errors that you already know about it and make sure that the paper is formatted correctly and looks good, in MLA format.
Reflecting lessons learned in class. In class, we will go over thesis statements, paragraphs, development, formatting, grammar, etc. Your paper should show that you paid attention to these lessons. In other words: take notes!
Your paper should be minimum 1100 words long. It will be typed, double spaced, using Times New Roman size 12, NOT bolded or enlarged. Your header should follow the MLA format as described in the syllabus, the textbook, and on Purdue OWL. The word count does NOT include the Works Cited page.
Must meet all the deadlines above.

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