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Literature is a form of knowledge with intrinsic elements—point of view, setting, character, style, structure, imagery, tone, genre. What gives a literary work status as art, or as a great work of art, is how all of its elements work independently and how they work together to create the reader's total experience (thought, feeling, gut reactions, etc.) The appreciation of literature as an art requires close reading--a careful, step-by-step analysis of literary devices and explication of the text (the language of the work). An analysis may follow from questions like, how does each literary device contribute to the effect of the story? Do various elements work together to shape the effect on the reader?
Formalist critics don't deny the historical, political situation of a work, they just believe works of art have the power to transcend by being "organic wholes"--akin to a being with a life of its own. Formalist criticism is evaluative in that it differentiates great works of art from poor works of art. Other kinds of criticism don't necessarily concern themselves with this distinction. Formalist criticism is decidedly a "scientific" approach to literary analysis, focusing on "facts amenable to "verification" (evidence in the text).
Go to the table of contents of the textbook Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing. Specifically glance at chapters two through eight in the table of contents. You will note that each chapter is devoted to ONE literary device. They are as follows: Point of View, Characters, Setting, Structure, Tone and Style, Symbolism and Allegory, and Idea or Theme.
Choose ONE chapter that is focused on the literary device you are interested in, and then choose ONE story that is contained in that chapter. (Make sure the short story does NOT appear in the course calendar.) In a three-to-four page essay, analyze the short story according to the literary device that is explained in that chapter.
Follow the guidelines below when writing your essay:
Read the story carefully, keeping the literary device, keeping the literary device that is the focus of that chapter well in mind.
Take notes on the story, again, in accordance to the literary device.
Write an essay in which you explicate/analyze your selected story using your chosen literary device.
Your essay should be a minimum of three-to-four pages long.
Write the essay in present tense unless you are referring to an historical event.
Write the essay solely in third person.
Assume you are writing to an audience that has already read the story. Your goal is to persuade your audience to interpret the story according to your literary device in a way that your audience may have not considered.
Make sure your essay does not turn out to be simply a summary of the story. It must be persuasive, containing an argument with evidence.
You must include evidence from the story to substantiate your main point. You must quote lines from the story in your paper and refer to specific passages that support your position. .
Smoothly blend quoted lines into the text of your essay and insert in-text citations according to MLA guidelines, giving credit to the author of the short story.
Include a Works Cited page.
Do not editorialize. The essay should focus solely on the story and the effects the literary device has on the story.
Format your essay according to MLA style guidelines. It must be set in the standard 12-point Times New Roman font and double-spaced.
It is due no later than Sunday, June 26.
Literature is a form of knowledge with intrinsic elements—point of view, setting, character, style, structure, imagery, tone, genre. What gives a literary work status as art, or as a great work of art, is how all of its elements work independently and how they work together to create the reader's total experience (thought, feeling, gut reactions, etc.