literary analysis essay on the scarlet ibis

COMP I – Literary Analysis Essay

Objectives: With this assignment, the student will:

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· Draft, organize, revise, and edit expository forms of writing in several rhetorical modes to clearly communicate ideas.

· Use Modern Language Association (MLA) standards to document sources in essays.

· Use computer technology and software designed for written communication proficiently.

· Produce a well-written literary analysis



According to John Van Ry from your textbook, a formalist criticism “determines how various elements (plot, character, language, and so on) reinforce the meaning and unify the work” (283). In other words, they do not give a summary of the story, but rather provide new insight to the story and its overall meaning by exploring literary devices, characters, and conflict in the piece. You will write a literary analysis over the short story that you chose to read- either “The Scarlet Ibis”, “The Soul of Caliban”, or “Stone Boy”. Make sure to include the following information:

· A title that grabs the reader’s attention

· An introduction that includes: the title and author of the story you chose, a brief summary of the story, and a thesis that connects one or more literary elements (found in your textbook on 16-6) to the overall theme. In other words, your thesis should answer the questions: What larger lesson did the story teach the reader? And how is that evident through characterization, conflict, setting, etc.?

o For “The Soul of Caliban” a possible theme/life lesson to explore could be the appearances versus reality and the irony at the end

o For “The Stone Boy” a possible theme/life lesson to explore could be the importance of grief and the importance of family/gender roles

o For “The Scarlet Ibis” a possible theme/life lesson to explore could be family love versus individual pride.

· A body that includes: AT LEAST three paragraphs, all with a topic sentence, support, explanation of how the support is an example of both the theme and the literary device, and transitions words/sentences.

o The support MUST be quotes from the short story AND the outside research you conducted.

§ This support should be at least THREE quotes total. Remember the paper cannot be more than 25% of outside material.

· One of the quotes must be from outside research done for this paper. You will need to do either biographical research on the author, research into the historical context of the setting of the story, or research into scholarly interpretations. All definitions of the types of research can be found on pages 281 and 282 in your textbook. I strongly recommend you use the “Questia” feature on MindTap to make sure you are finding a reputable source.


§ In-text citation for each quote and a Works Cited page will be required. Please refer to chapter 23 in your textbook for information on how to do an in-text citation. Also, the MLA bookmark on Main Page will take you to helpful websites.

· A conclusion that includes: a restatement of your thesis, a summary of your paper, and a lasting impression about the overall meaning of the story.

· Write in the present tense when discussing the plot of the story.

· Write using third person- no “I” or “You”.

· Correct MLA.

· Proper use of mechanics and grammar.

· Must be two-three pages.

General Outline for the Paper:


Attention grabbing statement

Background information on the author and/or three sentence summary of story- title and author of story must be given

Thesis that fully answers the prompt (include literary terms)

Body Paragraphs:

Topic Sentence that includes the first literary term discussed.

Quote from story or research that is an example of the literary term.

Explanation of how the support is an example of both the theme and the literary device.

Concluding sentence that summarizes first literary term and transitions to the next one.


Restate thesis in a different way.

Summarize the main points of the essay, including the literary terms.

State how the theme of the story applies to the reader and society as a whole.

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