Literary Analysis Essay
I am submitting the Assignment sheet as well as the list of Authors to choose from for this essay. Assignment & Purpose
Explore a literary text or texts (poems or short stories on the class list) and analyze how the literary elements work to
emphasize or contradict possible interpretations. You will not simply make an observation about how the author uses
an element in the text, but tell why the element is interesting, revealing, significant, or strange. Remember analysis is
not about “one right answer” but an exploration of multiple meanings and implications.
MLA format (heading, header, double spaced, etc.) Must have Works Cited with every draft.*
Times New Roman, 12-point font
Academic writing style
3-4 pages (excluding Works Cited)
Course Student Learning Outcomes
Identify the elements of a literary work.
Develop a controlling idea about the literary work.
Organize information to support the controlling idea.
Complete the writing of a literary analysis paper through drafting, revising, and editing using Standard
American English and MLA format.
Demonstrate critical thinking standards as they engage in analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of literary
sources in order to explore patterns and contradictions among images and present the complexity of
multiple interpretations and implications.
Write in a style that clearly communicates meaning, builds credibility, and offers fresh insights.
1. Choose complex, interesting literary sources or sources (poems or short stories on class list)
2. Read the literary piece several times and annotate the text.
3. Familiarize yourself with literary terms and apply them to the text you are studying.
4. Use analytical methods and literary terms to develop points of analysis of patterns and contradictions.
5. Find evidence (lines, words, images) to support your points. Follow MLA format for all in-text citations.
6. Write body paragraphs first, using paragraph strategies and academic writing style.
7. Your audience is familiar with the text you will write about and with all of the literary elements on the list
(do not define the terms in your paper, only discuss their significance to your analysis). Do NOT summarize
the text or explicate a poem line by line.
8. Write opening introduction to source or sources and overall analytical thesis.
9. Write conclusion with overall implications of your analysis (why does it matter?).
10. Revise, revise, revise.
See Grading Rubric on class website
The following categories determine the grade for each submitted paper: Meets Assignment, Introduction, Thesis,
Focus on Thesis, Content, Analysis, Organization, Audience, Closing, Format, and Mechanics. Not all of these
elements are weighted the same, but all are part of the final grade for your paper. The most important aspect of any
paper in this class is critical thinking.
*The paper will not be graded without the Works Cited as the last page of the essay. List of Authors
Choose a poem or short story from the following list to analyze for the Literary Analysis Essay (3-4 pages). Follow the assignment directions, using the analytical methods from the textbook, and include a Works Cited page with the Web or Print source you use for the poem or short story.
Christina Rossetti: “Goblin Market”
William Butler Yeats: “The Second Coming”
Wilfred Owen: “Anthem for Doomed Youth” or “Dulce et Decorum Est”
Emily Dickinson: “There’s a certain Slant of light” (when quoting this poem double check all capitalization and punctuation according to Dickinson’s text)
John Keats: “Ode to a Nightingale”
William Shakespeare: any sonnet
William Wordsworth: “The World is Too Much with Us” or “Surprised by Joy”
T. S. Eliot: “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
Jack London: “To Build a Fire”
E. A. Poe: “The Cask of Amontillado”
Susan Glaspell: Trifles (play)