For your final paper in this class, you have been asked to prepare a 1,000-word literary analysis in which you discuss the literary elements found within your chosen work of literature. You also have the option to write about your chosen author’s life, but keep in mind that your paper must include some aspect of literary analysis (as opposed to just writing 1,000 words on your author’s life).
Once you’ve decided upon a work of literature to analyze, decide which literary elements you’d most like to discuss (characters, plot, setting, symbols, etc); then begin researching your chosen work, carefully reading your outside sources. Again, I recommend that you also search for a biographical source about your author’s life; then, you can work within your essay to show the connection between the author’s life and his or her work.
For example, let’s say I’ve decided to write my final paper on Langston Hughes and his poem, “Harlem.” Below is an example of a thesis statement I might use:
By examining the life of poet Langston Hughes, readers can better understand the imagery and themes of his famous poem, “Harlem.”
From there, I can structure my paper around making that connection between his life and his work. Below is an example of an outline I could use to organize my ideas:
I. Intro: thesis statement
II. Author’s biography
III. Imagery in “Harlem”
IV. Themes in “Harlem”
Remember that you don’t have to include biographical information on your chosen author, but that you do have to include some discussion of the literary elements within his or her works.
Pulaski Technical College
By examining the life of poet Marge Piercy, readers can better analyze symbolism to the feminist movement and tone found in her famous poem, Barbie Doll.
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