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Assignment one

After reading Richard Straub’s, “Responding–Really Responding…” take this quiz to test your understanding. (5 questions)   

1)According to Straub, what kind of reader should you consider yourself?

Select one:

a) like a judge        b) friendly            c) like a teacher 

2) List 3 ways you can present your comments. 

3)Match the answers and questions below. 

Instead of telling the reader what to do, you should ____________ what the reader might do.       suggest            demand            give praise       help others          rewrite

What should your goal be as a reader?

suggest            demand           give praise         help others                  rewrite

What is one thing you shouldn’t do to someone’s paper?

suggest                demand              give praise           help others                rewrite 

4)What are the four things you should consider before you begin commenting?

Answer:
 

5)You should sound like yourself when you are commenting. 

Select one:

True              False 

Assignment two

 For this discussion, post your working thesis, which will be the argument or analysis you want to make about the story you have chosen to write about for your final essay. You should use the literary analysis example thesis handout located under the final essay materials folder. This should be ONLY the thesis statement (1-2 sentences), not an introductory paragraph or any part of the actual essay.  

Assignment three 

you will find the assignment sheet for the final essay, example essays, and other helpful materials. READ all of the contents before moving on.   

I’m only looking for the intro and the first two body paragraphs to be complete. 

Here are some links to resources that show you how to add comments in Word. I recommend take a

look at all of them. You can also google the topic if you want further explanation.

Youtube video on how to insert a comment in Word

Step by step instructions with pictures

http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/26867/how-to-add-comments-to-documents-in-word-2010/

Additional instructions

http://smallbusiness.chron.com/use-insert-comment-feature-microsoft-office-word-63387.htmlhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfwHE2BdYlshttp://www.howtogeek.com/howto/26867/how-to-add-comments-to-documents-in-word-2010/http://smallbusiness.chron.com/use-insert-comment-feature-microsoft-office-word-63387.html

Learning and Tutoring Center, Summer 2011 Page 1 of 4

LITERARY ANALYSIS THESIS

A thesis in a literary analysis or literary research paper can take many forms. When given an assignment to

analyze a work of fiction, poetry, or drama, you must first determine the requirements of the assignment. Make

sure that you understand the nature of the assignment and that you follow the instructions of your professor.

Once you decide what work you will analyze, you will begin the analysis of the work and do any research

required. As you think about your topic, be sure to construct a thesis that will guide your analysis as well as

serve to focus and organize your essay. A good thesis is specific, limited in scope and offers a perspective or

interpretation on a subject. A literary thesis should be clear and focused, setting up an argument that the essay

will support with discussion and details from the work.

SAMPLE THESIS STATEMENTS

These sample thesis statements are provided as guides, not as required forms or prescriptions.

#1 The thesis may focus on an analysis of one of the elements of fiction, drama, poetry or

nonfiction as expressed in the work: character, plot, structure, idea, theme, symbol, style,

imagery, tone, etc.

Example:

In “A Worn Path,” Eudora Welty creates a fictional character in Phoenix Jackson whose determination, faith, and cunning illustrate the indomitable human spirit.

Note that the work, author, and character to be analyzed are identified in this thesis statement. The

thesis relies on a strong verb (creates). It also identifies the element of fiction that the writer will

explore (character) and the characteristics the writer will analyze and discuss (determination, faith,

cunning).

Further Examples:

The character of the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet serves as a foil to young Juliet, delights us with her

warmth and earthy wit, and helps realize the tragic catastrophe.

The works of ecstatic love poets Rumi, Hafiz, and Kabir use symbols such as a lover’s longing and the

Tavern of Ruin to illustrate the human soul’s desire to connect with God.

Useful Information: Literature is classified in categories, or genres, which have sub-classifications

or forms of their own. Being familiar with the characteristics of the genre in which the work is

classified will provide context for your analysis of that work. In the list below, which is not

exhaustive, are common forms of literature with the genres they represent.

 Fiction: myths, parables, short stories, novels (picaresque, romance, historical, gothic, science fiction, mystery, modernist)

 Poetry: sonnets, ballads, epics, limericks, elegies, free verse, odes, lyrics, tercets, villanelles

 Drama: tragedies, comedies, theatre of the absurd

 Nonfiction (sometimes called creative nonfiction): slave narratives, personal essays, memoirs, biographies, travel writing

Learning and Tutoring Center, Summer 2011 Page 2 of 4

#2 The thesis may focus on illustrating how a work reflects the particular genre’s forms, the

characteristics of a philosophy of literature, or the ideas of a particular school of thought.

Example:

“The Third and Final Continent” exhibits characteristics recurrent in writings by immigrants: tradition, adaptation, and identity.

Note how the thesis statement classifies the form of the work (writings by immigrants) and

identifies the characteristics of that form of writing (tradition, adaptation, and identity) that the

essay will discuss.

Further examples:

Samuel Beckett’s Endgame reflects characteristics of Theatre of the Absurd in its minimalist stage

setting, its seemingly meaningless dialogue, and its apocalyptic or nihilist vision.

A close look at many details in “The Story of an Hour” reveals how language, institutions, and

expected demeanor suppress the natural desires and aspirations of women.

#3 The thesis may draw parallels between some element in the work and real-life situations or

subject matter: historical events, the author’s life, medical diagnoses, etc.

Example:

In Willa Cather’s short story, “Paul’s Case,” Paul exhibits suicidal behavior that a caring adult

might have recognized and remedied had that adult had the scientific knowledge we have

today.

This thesis suggests that the essay will identify characteristics of suicide that Paul exhibits in the

story. The writer will have to research medical and psychology texts to determine the typical

characteristics of suicidal behavior and to illustrate how Paul’s behavior mirrors those

characteristics.

Further Examples:

Through the experience of one man, the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American

Slave, accurately depicts the historical record of slave life in its descriptions of the often brutal and

quixotic relationship between master and slave and of the fragmentation of slave families.

In “I Stand Here Ironing,” one can draw parallels between the narrator’s situation and the author’s life

experiences as a mother, writer, and feminist.

Learning and Tutoring Center, Summer 2011 Page 3 of 4

SAMPLE PATTERNS FOR THESES ON LITERARY WORKS

1. In (title of work), (author) (illustrates, shows) (aspect) (adjective).

Example: In “Barn Burning,” William Faulkner shows the characters Sardie and Abner

Snopes struggling for their identity.

2. In (title of work), (author) uses (one aspect) to (define, strengthen, illustrate) the (element

of work).

Example: In “Youth,” Joseph Conrad uses foreshadowing to strengthen the plot.

3. In (title of work), (author) uses (an important part of work) as a unifying device for (one

element), (another element), and (another element). NOTE: The number of elements can

vary from one to four.

Example: In “Youth,” Joseph Conrad uses the sea as a unifying device for setting,

structure and theme.

4. (Author) develops the character of (character’s name) in (literary work) through what

he/she does, what he/she says, what other people say to or about him/her.

Example: Langston Hughes develops the character of Semple in “Ways and Means”…

5. In (title of work), (author) uses (literary device) to (accomplish, develop, illustrate,

strengthen) (element of work).

Example: In “The Masque of the Red Death,” Poe uses the symbolism of the stranger,

the clock, and the seventh room to develop the theme of death.

6. (Author) (shows, develops, illustrates) the theme of __________ in the (play, poem,

story).

Example: Flannery O’Connor illustrates the theme of the effect of the selfishness of

the grandmother upon the family in “A Good Man is Hard to Find.”

7. (Author) develops his character(s) in (title of work) through his/her use of language.

Example: John Updike develops his characters in “A & P” through his use of

figurative language.

Learning and Tutoring Center, Summer 2011 Page 4 of 4

OTHER RESOURCES

 Refer to your literary textbook. The first chapter often includes information on writing essays on literary topics, and later chapters discuss elements of literature.

 Use supplemental resources available in the LTC. Consider the following:

 McKeague, Pat. Writing about Literature: Step by Step. 8th ed. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co. 2005.

 Roberts, Edgar V. Ed. Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing. 4th Compact Ed. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2008.

 Refer to this very reputable online resource: The OWL (Online Writing Lab) at Purdue:

 “Writing in Literature: An Overview”: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/713/01/

This overview page includes links to pages that discuss how to write a thesis, how to read a

poem, how to read a novel or short story, and how to read a play, among other topics.

 Ask an LTC tutor to review drafts of your thesis statement for strength and coherence.

FINAL NOTE: Conventions for Writing a Literary Analysis Essay or Research Paper

Ensure that your essay…

 makes an argument or claim or illustrates an engaging perspective on the work

 includes a thesis which lists the key points the essay will discuss

 provides evidence to support your claim

 refers to the author(s) and the work(s) in the opening sentences. Use the author’s full name the

first time and the author’s last name in all further references in the essay.

 uses literary present tense to discuss events in the fiction, poetry, or drama.

For information on this convention, see: http://humanities.ucsd.edu/writing/workshop/present.htm

 uses strong verbs in the thesis statement and throughout the essay: demonstrates, uses, develops,

underscores, accomplishes, strengthens, illustrates, shows, reveals, serves, emphasizes, identifies,

suggests, implies, etc.

 uses formal rather than informal language

For more information on levels of formality, visit our website:

http://www.gpc.edu/~gpcltc/handouts/levelsofformality.pdf

 does more than simply summarize the work

For more information on literary analysis, visit our website:

http://www.gpc.edu/~gpcltc/handouts/literaryanalysis.pdf

1

David Monical

Mrs. Reid

English 111

September 12, 2012

Society Suppresses Mankind’s Evil Nature

The idea that mankind is inherently evil and needs society to become good is a prominent theme throughout William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies. Three of the characters that best exemplify this theme are Jack, Roger, and Ralph. Jack starts out good, but as his freedom from society grows, he becomes more and more evil. Roger, although not perfect at the beginning, becomes increasingly violent, as he puts society’s beliefs and morals out of his mind. Ralph remains good throughout the whole book but only by holding on to society and the one thing that can get him back, the signal fire. By having Jack and Roger, who have chosen to disregard the ways of society, become far more violent and evil, and by having Ralph, who still has a strong connection to society, remain good throughout the novel, Golding expresses that man is born evil and needs society to make him good.

Jack demonstrates that he is truly evil many times throughout the book as his connection to society becomes weaker. When Jack and the rest of the boys first arrive on the island, they are mostly good because the expectations of society are still very fresh in their minds. They elect Ralph as chief, and Jack does not complain too much because he assumes that some adult would get mad at him for doing so, even though there are none on the island. In other words, Jack is used to having adults around who would scold him for arguing, so he lets it slide. As the days go by, Jack’s realization grows that there is no one who can tell him what to do. When this idea fully hits Jack, he questions Ralph’s right to lead by saying, “He isn’t a proper chief… He’s a coward himself” (126). Jack feels very powerful because of this realization that no one can tell him what to do, and as a result, accuses Ralph of being a bad leader and then leaves the group. Jack goes and lives on the other side of the island with some of his hunters where he maliciously kills pigs all the time. He understands no one can tell him right from wrong and so he creates a savage tribe, which almost all of the boys join. Jack is chief and is in total control of the tribe. He hosts terrifying feasts in which they eat pig, that they mercilessly killed, and chants things such as “Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!” (182), as they reenact the killing of the pig, pretending to kill one another. The fact that no one challenges Jack and his tribe’s horrible ways fuels Jack to do even more to show his power. By the end of the book Jack is at his most evil state when he orders his tribe to kill Ralph without a second thought. The twins, Sam and Eric, who were forced to become one of Jack’s savages, describe what Jack said to the tribe to Ralph: “And Ralph, Jack, the chief, says it will be dangerous ––– and we’ve got to be careful and throw our spears like at a pig” (188-189). Jack orders the tribe to kill Ralph, pretending that Ralph is a threat so that the tribe can justify its actions. By having Jack say that the tribe has to “throw our spears like at a pig”, Golding illustrates, that Jack is dehumanizing Ralph, so that the tribe will not be hesitant to kill Ralph. Jack starts out as any other kid on the island, happy, enthusiastic, and excited for the adventure that awaits them. However, Jack is one of the first kids to stop following society’s morals and standards, and as a result, thinks that he can do whatever he wants, even if it is obviously wrong. Because Jack stops following society’s ways, Golding implies that he reverts back to what he was born as, an evil human being.

Because Roger no longer has society to suppress his evil nature, he turns extremely violent on the island. Initially, Roger’s life is still heavily influenced by society, and therefore he does not do anything morally wrong. Roger starts to feel a bit more powerful, as his connection to society weakens, but it is still strong enough to keep him from doing anything that harms others. Roger, having nothing better to do, “gathered a handful of stones and began to throw them” (62) at a younger kid named Henry. Roger does not aim to hit him, however, because “there was a space around Henry, perhaps six yards in diameter, into which he dare not throw. Here, invisible yet strong, was the taboo of the old life” (62). The phrase “the taboo of the old life” is referring to the taboo established by society that one can not harm another for no good reason. Although Roger understands that he is free from society, he cannot throw to hit Henry because the society, and therefore the taboo, is still a part of him, even if he does not realize it. If he were to hit Henry with a rock, no one would be there to scold him, but because society is so fresh in his mind, Roger feels as if he would get in trouble and, therefore, purposely misses. Roger becomes progressively violent and evil, as he gives up on society, and when he joins Jack’s tribe, he loses what little morality he has left. When Ralph, Piggy, and the twins come to the tribe to demand Piggy’s specs back, Roger starts “throwing stones” (180) and “dropping them” (180), with “his one hand still on the lever” (180). Roger is contemplating whether or not to pull a lever that would allow a boulder to roll down the hill and, most likely, kill them. Roger is deciding if he should let them live or if he should release the boulder, and take their lives. In the end, Roger, bearing none of society’s morals or beliefs anymore, “leaned all his weight on the lever” (180), releasing the boulder and killing Piggy. Because no one punishes Roger, he continues being a horrible, violent human being and becomes the tribe’s torturer. Through losing his connection to society over the course of the novel, and as a result, becoming more and more evil, Roger illustrates how society can contain a person’s evil inner nature.

Ralph remains good throughout the novel by using the signal fire as a strong link between him and society and, therefore, a link to Ralph’s goodness. Ralph is elected as chief and immediately starts to set some ground rules and stresses how important it is to get off the island by saying, “We can help them find us … We must make a fire” (38). Ralph, a smart leader, knows that the most important thing is to get rescued from the island, and that a signal fire will help them achieve that goal. Later on in the book, when Jack starts to turn evil and is questioning Ralph’s leadership, Ralph continues to stand by his morals and beliefs that he still retains from society. Ralph constantly is using the signal fire and the idea of getting rescued as an argument against becoming a savage group of people. One example is when they believe that the beast is on top of the mountain and Jack foolishly says that he is going to go and kill it, but Ralph realizes that this is just distracting them from getting rescued and states, “Hasn’t anyone got any sense? We’ve got to relight that fire. You never thought of that, Jack, did you? Or don’t any of you want to be rescued?” (102). Ralph is kept moral and fair by continually bringing up the topic of the signal fire and being rescued. When Jack leaves the tribe with most of the others, Ralph, wondering how they are going to keep the fire going, ponders out loud, “We can’t keep the fire going. And they don’t care. And what’s more … I don’t sometimes. Suppose I got like the others ––– not caring. What’ud become of us?” (139). Ralph realizes that if he gives up on the fire, like Jack and his tribe did, then he would be no better than them, evil and violent. Ralph, although it is extremely hard, maintains his connection to society and perseveres through the difficult times. Ralph, for the entire length of the book, upholds society’s values and, as a result, never falters from being good.

Golding uses the characters in the novel Lord of the Flies to conclude that if not countered by the ways of society, the true evil nature of man will reveal itself. Jack and Roger are among the first to realize that they are free of society, and in turn, they turn evil. Ralph holds on to society and its morals, allowing him to continue being good. Jack and Roger are used to demonstrate that without society man will revert back to its evil nature, and Ralph is used to illustrate that as long as man is still connected with society, he will remain a good human being. The concept that mankind’s innate dispositions are evil and that it needs society to be good is a bit exaggerated in the novel, considering that two boys were murdered and most of the boys turned very sadistic. However, there are still many examples of this theme in the real world, ranging in severity. The most explicit example is law enforcement, which will punish a criminal, by prison or other means, if they do anything illegal or against the formal rules of society. Some people will hurt, steal, and even kill for certain reasons because they have some evil tendencies, but law enforcement and society’s rules keeps many people from doing so because they know the consequences. A more basic example of this idea that society keeps people good, is a person’s own life. A person grows up with friends and family who have a certain set of morals and standards that greatly impact one’s decisions. From a young age, a child is taught not to tease, harm, or steal from other people by his family and friends. A young child, until about age four, will not listen to the adults but instead will do whatever they want to do, even if it is evil, because the child has not had enough time to understand what is acceptable in society. Once the child starts to grasp the idea of society’s expectations, through maturity and discipline, the child can then act appropriately in society and, consequently, be a good human being. As long as the child, and people in general, are influenced by society, their evil inner nature will not be revealed.

McClellan 1

Sara McClellanProfessor ObermeierEnglish 20012 September 1997

 Initiation and Social Identity of “the girl” in “Boys and Girls”

Recent history boldly notes the protests and political unrest surrounding the Vietnam Conflict during the 1960s and 70s. However, equally important in this era are the women who pushed for gender role reevaluation and publicly rebelled against the established social norm of a woman’s “place.” Although Alice Munro may not have been burning her bra on the courthouse steps, threads of a feminist influence can be found in “Boys and Girls.” Munro’s main character, a girl probably modeled after Munro’s own childhood experiences on an Ontario farm, faces her awakening body and the challenge of developing her social identity in a man’s world. “The girl,” an unnamed character, acts as a universal symbol for the initiation of a girl into womanhood. Through first-person narrative, Munro shoes the girl’s views of her budding femininity and social identity by describing the girl’s conceptions of her parents’ work, her parallel to the wild mare Flora, and the “mysterious alterations” in her personal nightly stories (Munro 474).           As if to forsake her femininity and forego a life of confinement and housework, the girl reveres her father’s work and condemns her mother’s duties. The sum of the girl’s respect seems to lie with her father, as is evident in her reference to his work outdoors as “ritualistically important” (468). On the other hand, while the girl recognizes that her mother is busy, she still considers her mother’s “work in the house [to be] [·] endless, dreary and peculiarly depressing” (468). The division between her parents’ tasks is especially apparent in the girl’s reaction to her mother’s presence at the barn. She feels threatened by her mother’s appearance, calling it “out of place” and saying her “mother had no business down [there]” (468). The girl distrusts her mother and believes her to be out of touch, while helping her father in “his real work” (468).  Surprisingly, the girl’s desire to avoid the manifestation of her femininity in womanly tasks, such as cooking and cleaning, influences her into feeling that her mother is “plotting now to get [her] to stay in the house [. . ]. and keep [her] from working for [her] father” (469). The girl chooses to dismiss her mother, thereby dismissing her own future role as a housewife.           In an attempt to reflect the girl’s changing awareness of her social identity and femininity, Munro weaves in a young sorrel mare, Flora. As the expectations of the girl’s pending role in society grow, Flora takes up residence in the stable and adds an “air of gallantry and abandon” (470) to the girl’s sheltered life. Just as the girl experiences confusion and angst, “Flora [is] given to fits of violent alarm” (470) of more of tangible nature. An approaching crossroad in Flora’s life, namely her death, parallels the crossroad of identity the girl is facing. With the realization of Flora’s death, the girl adopts “a new wariness, a sense of holding-off, in [her] attitude to [her] father and his work” (473), causing her to question the very foundation of her social opinions up to that point. By allowing Flora to escape through the gate, the girl symbolically opens the passageway to her feminine side. Even in its futility, this act sets the stage for a new level of consciousness for the girl.          Ironically, one of the girl’s most heightened moments of awareness to her changing role comes during an instance of imagination. Rather than “opportunities for [personal] courage, boldness and self-sacrifice” (466), as in her past stories, the girl’s new stories concern themselves with her personal peril or need for rescue. Also, the added element of “what [she] looked like” comes into play to the degree that “the real excitement of the story [is] lost” (474). This “damsel in distress” mentality is a recognizable universal factor in the maturation of a girl to a woman. The girl’s climactic realization becomes clear to her family, too, as she breaks into tears at the dinner table. Whether this quantifies complete acceptance with the girl, however, is not solidified by Munro due to the final sentence: “Maybe it was true” (475).          Through opinion, comparison, and imagination Munro details the girl’s journey from a rebellious tomboy to a slowly blooming woman. The characteristics so endearing to the girl’s developing identity, such as her assistance in Flora’s escape and her unwillingness  to easily submit to the social constraints of life as a woman, also lend themselves to her universality as a representative to initiation to femininity. Munro’s own personal views of femininity arguably color this work, “Boys and Girls.”

Works Cited

Munro, Alice. “Boys and Girls.” The Norton Introduction to Literature. Eds. Carl E. Bain, Jerome Beaty and J. Paul Hunter. 6th ed. New York: Norton, 1995. 465-75. Print.

PAGE

1

Jane Doe

May 30, 2007

Dr. Ward

ENL 5236

Millwood’s Masculinity and Barnwell’s Femininity in George Lillo’s

The London Merchant

George Lillo’s play The London Merchant tells the story of a prostitute who seduces naïve George Barnwell in order to take advantage of him. She uses him for money and eventually, Barnwell is accused of murder because of his involvement with Millwood. While in jail, Barnwell has a reawakening when visited by Trueman and Thorowgood. Although Millwood is the leading female character in George Lillo’s play “The London Merchant,” she actually takes on a patriarchal role progressing from a physical “male” position, to a mental “male” attitude. In doing so, she feminizes George Barnwell, and causes his ultimate downfall, which in turn, allows her to take revenge on all the men that have done her wrong.

In the beginning of the story, Millwood uses her femininity in the initial seduction, but assumes the role of man in her relationship with George, in turn, feminizing him. Millwood methodically plans how to ensnare George, and she makes sure that she just happens to bump into him, after watching him for some time. She realizes that he will never make the first move, so she must be the aggressor, the role that the man usually fulfills. When relaying their first meeting to her maid Lucy, Millwood says, “Having long had a design on him, and meeting him yesterday, I made full stop and, gazing wishfully on his face, asked him his name…I begged his pardon for the freedom I had taken and told him that he was the person I had long wished to see…” (Lillo 17). Millwood physically places herself at the right place at the right time, so that she can initiate a relationship with George. Because of this initial step, Millwood begins to place herself in the role of male aggressor and by doing so, she feminizes George. If Millwood is the man, then he must be the woman. Millwood invites George over and “He swallowed the bait” (17).

When George arrives, Millwood continues to assume the role of male aggressor, forcing herself physically on George. She acts surprised that he is there, and when he suggests, “I fear I am too bold—“ Millwood answers, “Alas, sir, all my apprehensions proceed from my fears of your thinking me so” (18). However, her intentions are to be bold, so that she can trap him and have him under her control. Continuing with her aggressive position, Millwood invites Barnwell to sit down beside her and she “accidentally” lays her hand on his leg. Here, Millwood feminizes Barnwell not only by the fact that Millwood is once again the physical aggressor between the two of them, but also by his reaction to her touching him. He says to himself, “Her disorder is so great she don’t perceive she has laid her hand on mine” (18). This also reveals Barnwell’s naiveté, which is usually a feminine characteristic. In addition, Barnwell’s innocence and purity, which are feminine qualities, are exemplified when Millwood, very forwardly asks him about love. Barnwell responds, “If you mean the love of women, I have not thought of it all. My youth and circumstances make such thoughts improper in me yet” (19). This is a very feminine answer in that it is something that one would expect a young woman to say. It is very humorous that George claims never to have thought of women before because women are usually the object of men’s desires, but it seems that George does not have these desires, or does not express them, because he thinks it improper. But of course, George is the object of Millwood’s desire, putting him into the female role in their relationship. Barnwell’s reaction to Millwood’s interest in him also displays his naiveté. He says, “Oh, Heavens! She loves me, worthless as I am” (21). He has no suspicions that her intentions may not be true, and falls for her seduction easily.

Not only does Millwood put herself into role of being the male aggressor, but she also expresses her wishes to become male physically, or bodily. When Millwood finds out that George has a male companion that he loves and cares for, she wishes that she too, could be male, so that she might also be loved by and live with Barnwell. She says, “What have I lost by being a woman! I hate my sex, myself! Had I been a man, I might perhaps, have been as happy in your friendship as he who now enjoys it” (20). Millwood not only wishes to become a man, but she also denounces the female sex, making her even more patriarchal in nature. Once she has said this to George, his feminine naiveté is further displayed. He says to himself, “How strange, and yet how kind, her words and actions are!” (20). However, George’s instincts are telling him to leave, but her power is greater than his instinct. When he tries to leave, Millwood takes control of the situation, again becoming the dominant male, and she makes a daring move. She makes him stay by crying, which appeals to Barnwell’s sympathies, another feminine characteristic that he possesses. Because George stays the night with Millwood, he misses an appointment with his master. Upon returning to his apartment, Barnwell laments his sins and vows not to see Millwood again.

However, Millwood will not allow that to happen, and once again exercises her dominant male position over Barnwell, by appealing to his feminine characteristic of sympathy, or guilt. Millwood visits George and tells him that the man who supports her will no longer do so because she entertained George. When he inquires about where she will go, Lucy, Millwood’s servant, tells him that she has nowhere to go. At first, it seems that Barnwell is going to end it with Millwood, but she knows what she is doing, and by making him fell guilty, he falls for her plan. She knows it is working when Barnwell says to her with concern, “To be exposed to all the rigors of the various seasons, the summer’s parching heat and winter’s cold, unhoused to wander friendless through the un- hospitable world in misery and want, attended with fear and danger, and pursued by malice and revenge. Whould’st thou endure all this for me, and can I do nothing, nothing to prevent it?” (37). It works, and Millwood tells him that if she pays her debt to the man then she will be free. Then, the innocent George Barnwell takes money from his master and gives it to her.

Because Millwood devises the plan to trap George and to take his money in the first place, she immediately begins to take on the role of all the men that she has ever known. In addition, she feels that if she can conquer Barnwell and ruin him, then she will be getting revenge on all the men that did her wrong. When Millwood explains her intentions to her servant Lucy, she justifies her actions claiming that she is only treating men the way they treat women. She says, “Men, however generous or sincere to one another, are all selfish hypocrites in their affairs with us. We are no otherwise esteemed or regard by them but as we contribute to their satisfaction” (13). Millwood justifies her intentions by claiming that men do it daily, so why shouldn’t she? Millwood puts herself in the role of the man by wanting to act as they act. She does just that by carrying through with her plan. After George steals from his master, he says, “What drew me from my youthful innocence to stain my then unspotted soul, but cursed love? What fills my eyes with tears, my soul with torture never felt on this side death before? Why, love, love, love!” (47). These are all very romantic notions and all things that one would expect to hear from a woman, but it is because of his feminine quality that Millwood is able to dominate Barnwell so easily.

Millwood knows that he is completely under her control. After the theft that George commits, he returns to Millwood because he can no longer live with his master. However, George is no good to Millwood if he does not have money, so Millwood tells him that he must kill his uncle and take his money. Lucy tells another servant about Millwood’s request, and the servant is shocked. Lucy says, “She[Millwood] was no sooner possessed of the last dear purchase of his ruin but her avarice, insatiate as the grave, demands this horrid sacrifice” (46). At this point, Millwood crosses the line and completely assumes the role of the man, as she knows it.

George murders his uncle and returns to Millwood fearing for his life. Millwood is very unsympathetic and says to him, “Then it seems you are afraid of your own shadow or what’s less than a shadow, your conscience” (57). Once again, Millwood feminizes George by pointing out his weakness and calling him a coward, another characteristic usually attributed to women. Furthermore, when Millwood realizes that he did not take any treasures or money from the uncle, she is furious with him. She says to him, “Whining, preposterous, canting villain! To murder your uncle, rob him of life…then fear to take what he no longer wanted, and bring to me your penury and guilt!” (58). Millwood’s insensitive and selfish nature further demonstrates her patriarchal tendencies, those attributes being typically designated to men. While George is crying and repenting, she realizes that she might soon be found out, and calls the police to have George arrested because he is no good to her if he does not have any money.

After George is arrested, his master, Thorowgood shows up at Millwood’s home, having heard about her scheme from her servants, Lucy and Blunt. Thorowgood confronts her, and Millwood’s masculine role is continued. She does not succumb to Thorowgood like a weak woman, but instead, she talks back to him, giving him a story of her own. She tries to blame Lucy, but Thorowgood does not fall for it, and once the police show up, and secure Millwood, a screaming match ensues between her and Thorowgood. Millwood embraces her masculinity to the utmost when Thorowgood calls her “deceitful, cruel, bloody woman!” and she tells him, “Thou canst not call me that!” (64). Millwood has reached the epitome of manhood, declaring that she not be called a woman. Millwood tells Thorowgood that she is only behaving in the way that men behave, in the ways that men have treated her. She tells him, “Men of all degrees and all profession I have known, yet found no difference but in their several capacities. All were alike wicked to their utmost of their power. In pride, contention, avarice, cruelty and revenge…” (65). Now Millwood has fully taken on the role as man as she knows it, and by ruining George Barnwell’s life, she is taking revenge on all the “men” of the world. Millwood screams at Thorowgood, “I hate you all! I know you, and expect no mercy—nay I ask for none. I have done nothing that I am sorry for” (65). She intends to “to take it like a man,” unlike George, who cries and repents in jail. In her last speech to Thorowgood, Millwood justifies her actions by telling them, “The judge who condemns the poor man for being a thief had been a thief himself, had he been. Thus, you go on deceiving and being deceived, harassing, plaguing, and destroying one another, but women are your universal prey” (66). By becoming the man, and feminizing Barnwell, Millwood makes him her “universal prey.”

Thorowgood has Millwood arrested, and she is treated no differently than George. She is taken to jail and they are both sentenced to death. However, George repents and believes he has been forgiven and will go to heaven, whereas, Millwood refuses to do so. When discussing the trial, George is described as pitiful “with many tears and interrupting sobs he confessed and aggravated his offenses,” portraying him as emotional and feminine (67). Where as, Millwood “loudly insisted upon her innocence and made an artful and a bold defense but finding all in vain…how did she curse herself, poor Barnwell, us, her judges, all mankind!” as if she is a loud and boisterous man (67). At the end, when they are in the gallows, George is very emotional and he begs Millwood to repent. But Millwood refuses saying, “Away, I will not hear thee! I tell thee, youth, I am by Heaven devoted a dreadful instance of its power to punish” (85). Millwood and Barnwell are both hanged, and Millwood is punished just as equally Barnwell, as if she was a man. Finally, Millwood makes her final transformation, encompassing everything male, as she hangs next to a man, equal in punishment.

George Lillo wrote his play, The London Merchant, in a time when Literature was transforming from Restoration to Sentimental. He encompasses this sentimentality in George Barnwell, thus feminizing him. However, Millwood, the main female character, takes on the role of man, in her pursuit to take revenge on all the men that did her wrong. She does not possess any of the characteristics that are normally attributed to women; therefore, she becomes masculine and insensitive.

Works Cited

Bentley, Gerald E, and George Lillo. The London MerchantThe Development of English Drama: An Anthology, Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc, 1950, pp. 555–585.

Paul 1

Paul 2

Assignment Sheet–

Final Essay: Literary Analysis (700-1000 words)

For this essay, you will be doing a critical analysis on any of the short stories or poems that we are reading for this class. The purpose of this assignment is to get you to move beyond the surface level meaning of a text and to analyze its deeper meaning.

Learning Outcomes:

Students will be able to-

• move beyond summarizing the story  

• assess or analyze what you read 

• offer interpretations and judgments about what you read 

• give evidence to support your evaluation

A Successful Essay:

· Will properly introduce the story and author

· Will provide a clear thesis that makes a claim about a story and uses evidence to support that claim

· Will thoroughly analyze a reading, not merely summarize it

· Will properly integrate evidence from the reading in MLA format

TOPICS:

1. Analyze the plot, the meaning of the sequence of events in one of the stories listed above. Make sure that in writing this essay you go out on a limb—in other words, don’t stick to facts but go to the mysterious aspects of the text, the why for example, so that you are forced to form an opinion that needs to be supported in your essay. Your thesis could state what happens and what the story suggests causes these events—for example—because the question of cause is often a debatable one. In this case your thesis would be a claim, a statement of opinion, about what happens and why. Remember to support your claims (thesis and sub claims) with evidence, explanation and reasoning. Or you could write about how the events change the main character or protagonist of the story or what the events reveal about this character or what they are trying to do to the reader.

2. Analyze an important symbol or motif (series of interlinked symbols), in one of the stories. State what you think it symbolically represents and support this claim (thesis) with evidence, explanation and reasoning. For example: In “Saboteur” food symbolizes____________ or In “The Kidney-Shaped Stone that Moves Every Day” the stone symbolizes or In “Recitatif Maggie comes to represent . It needs to be clearly stated, almost as though it were an equation. Make sure that you use the descriptions of the object from the story, concept or image you are analyzing to support your claim about its meaning. Remember that the way we read certain objects, colors, figures, images as a culture is important, but even more important when you interpret literature is how the text itself creates associations surrounding the symbol. I recommend you run your idea by me, just to make sure you really have identified a symbol in the text. Sometimes an object is just an object, serving a function in the text, but not a symbolic one. You can email me your ideas or discuss them with me in class or during the break or visit me at my office.

3. Analyze an important character in one of the stories. What do the character’s actions suggest about this character’s motives? How do the events or the character’s past contribute to the character’s behavior. What is the basic point conveyed through or about the character in the short story you chose? Sometimes the story attempts to reveal something about the reader (you) even more than it attempts to convey something about the characters. Is the story you chose one of these types of stories? If so, how is the description of the character attempting to reveal to you something about yourself?

A Checklist:

1. Make sure your final version is in MLA format including a works cited page.

2. Make sure you use the word “narrator” or “speaker” to denote the person telling the story. The voice in which the story is told does not necessarily represent the author him or herself.

3. Give your essay an appropriate title. Do not underline or put quotation marks around this title, but do capitalize first letters of all important words: Ironies in an Hour. If you include the title of the fiction in your title you do want to indicate that is a title by putting quotation marks around it: The Real Sabotage in “Saboteur”

4. Don’t say “I believe” or “I think” or “in my opinion” in your essay. Readers should be aware that literary analysis deals with forming opinions that are then supported, so it is redundant to say these are your opinions. (Note: This is my preference and not a hard and fast rule, so I will not grade you down if you choose to say “I believe”)

5. The first time you mention it, formally introduce the author’s whole name and the story title. Put quotation marks around titles of short stories, poems and lyrics, such as “The Yellow Wallpaper” and “I Sell My Dreams” Underline (or italicize) longer works divided into parts or chapters, such as the novella The Metamorphosis. Thereafter, refer to the author by his or her last name. Beginning: In Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis… Later: Kafka reveals Gregor’s state of mind by….

6. State your thesis early (a common place is the end of the introduction, but the introduction can take more than one paragraph to form). Provide an introductory paragraph or more; body paragraphs wherein you make claims and provide evidence (quotes, paraphrases, facts), explanation and reasoning to support the thesis; and a conclusion.

7. Use the present tense to describe events in the story unless you must distinguish the past from the present.

8. Do not ignore the ending of the story, because that’s where the meaning really takes shape. An analysis of what the ending finally does to the meaning of the story as a whole is essential even if you analyze it only briefly.

9. Organization: Avoid summarizing the story. You don’t have to tell readers everything that happens in the story and often the best evidence you have to support your claims will come late in the text, so do your best to hunt evidence and organize around supporting your thesis with that evidence. Start body paragraphs with claims such as “The main character’s behavior shows that she is selfish” or signal phrases that remind us you are about to introduce another piece of evidence. “More evidence that she is selfish can be found in the scene where her husband tries to talk her into moving to a less expensive apartment.” If your body paragraphs begin with summary statements such as “First the couple wakes up in the middle of the night to the sound of the faucet dripping” that’s a sign you may be summarizing instead of organizing it as an essay, where you make claims and then back them up with evidence. Look at opening sentences of your body paragraphs to check if you are organizing properly and really writing an essay.

A note about introductions. Your introduction should include your thesis, but sometimes you want to work up to that. A good place for it is often late in the introductory paragraph, perhaps even the last sentence of the introduction, because once you have stated it, the reader wants to start hearing why you interpret the story as you do. So what do you write before the thesis? It makes sense to introduce the author and title somewhere in the introduction. If you are going to use any important terms that need defining, make sure that you do that when needed.

But besides those essentials here are 3 different suggestions of ways to introduce a literary analysis: 1) Explain a way or ways the story has already been analyzed by other critics, to show how your reading is fresh and different. 2) Begin by introducing the author and his or her background (this is especially effective if you will be using biography as part of your argument). 3) Introduce an issue or theme you will focus on in your essay, historical roles of women or men, for example, or the nature of religious faith in general or a quote from another text that is relevant to what occurs in the story. Also, look at the pieces of criticism we read in class or other models in the online library database. See what kinds of introduction you prefer and use that style in your own essay if appropriate.

Also: A very nice technique is to use a pertinent quote as an epigraph to focus the attention of your readers on the relevant theme of your essay. The quote can be from another work entirely or from the story itself. Integrate it with the following format:

The Creeps

“Much madness is divinest sense To a discerning eye;”

–Emily Dickinson

It becomes obvious about 1/2 of the way through Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” that the narrator is going mad. But her madness makes quite a bit of sense…

A note about conclusions. Your readers may have different needs depending on how you have proceeded in your paper.

A “Big Picture” or “So What” conclusion is often effective. Don’t make new claims about the text that need supporting, but do analyze why what you’ve revealed in your essay is interesting or important, perhaps to the meaning of the story.

Circling is also very effective. If you come back to something you said much earlier, it will give readers a very clear feeling that you have completed your task. For example: When Emily Dickinson claims “Much madness is divinest sense” she describes perfectly the irony that someone mad, like the narrator of “The Yellow Wallpaper” is clearly both hallucinating and acting out her problem…This would be a circling technique if it came as the ending for an essay that began as in the last example listed under A note about introductions), the example with the Dickinson quote.

Learning and Tutoring Center, Summer 2011 Page 1 of 4

LITERARY ANALYSIS THESIS

A thesis in a literary analysis or literary research paper can take many forms. When given an assignment to

analyze a work of fiction, poetry, or drama, you must first determine the requirements of the assignment. Make

sure that you understand the nature of the assignment and that you follow the instructions of your professor.

Once you decide what work you will analyze, you will begin the analysis of the work and do any research

required. As you think about your topic, be sure to construct a thesis that will guide your analysis as well as

serve to focus and organize your essay. A good thesis is specific, limited in scope and offers a perspective or

interpretation on a subject. A literary thesis should be clear and focused, setting up an argument that the essay

will support with discussion and details from the work.

SAMPLE THESIS STATEMENTS

These sample thesis statements are provided as guides, not as required forms or prescriptions.

#1 The thesis may focus on an analysis of one of the elements of fiction, drama, poetry or

nonfiction as expressed in the work: character, plot, structure, idea, theme, symbol, style,

imagery, tone, etc.

Example:

In “A Worn Path,” Eudora Welty creates a fictional character in Phoenix Jackson whose determination, faith, and cunning illustrate the indomitable human spirit.

Note that the work, author, and character to be analyzed are identified in this thesis statement. The

thesis relies on a strong verb (creates). It also identifies the element of fiction that the writer will

explore (character) and the characteristics the writer will analyze and discuss (determination, faith,

cunning).

Further Examples:

The character of the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet serves as a foil to young Juliet, delights us with her

warmth and earthy wit, and helps realize the tragic catastrophe.

The works of ecstatic love poets Rumi, Hafiz, and Kabir use symbols such as a lover’s longing and the

Tavern of Ruin to illustrate the human soul’s desire to connect with God.

Useful Information: Literature is classified in categories, or genres, which have sub-classifications

or forms of their own. Being familiar with the characteristics of the genre in which the work is

classified will provide context for your analysis of that work. In the list below, which is not

exhaustive, are common forms of literature with the genres they represent.

 Fiction: myths, parables, short stories, novels (picaresque, romance, historical, gothic, science fiction, mystery, modernist)

 Poetry: sonnets, ballads, epics, limericks, elegies, free verse, odes, lyrics, tercets, villanelles

 Drama: tragedies, comedies, theatre of the absurd

 Nonfiction (sometimes called creative nonfiction): slave narratives, personal essays, memoirs, biographies, travel writing

Learning and Tutoring Center, Summer 2011 Page 2 of 4

#2 The thesis may focus on illustrating how a work reflects the particular genre’s forms, the

characteristics of a philosophy of literature, or the ideas of a particular school of thought.

Example:

“The Third and Final Continent” exhibits characteristics recurrent in writings by immigrants: tradition, adaptation, and identity.

Note how the thesis statement classifies the form of the work (writings by immigrants) and

identifies the characteristics of that form of writing (tradition, adaptation, and identity) that the

essay will discuss.

Further examples:

Samuel Beckett’s Endgame reflects characteristics of Theatre of the Absurd in its minimalist stage

setting, its seemingly meaningless dialogue, and its apocalyptic or nihilist vision.

A close look at many details in “The Story of an Hour” reveals how language, institutions, and

expected demeanor suppress the natural desires and aspirations of women.

#3 The thesis may draw parallels between some element in the work and real-life situations or

subject matter: historical events, the author’s life, medical diagnoses, etc.

Example:

In Willa Cather’s short story, “Paul’s Case,” Paul exhibits suicidal behavior that a caring adult

might have recognized and remedied had that adult had the scientific knowledge we have

today.

This thesis suggests that the essay will identify characteristics of suicide that Paul exhibits in the

story. The writer will have to research medical and psychology texts to determine the typical

characteristics of suicidal behavior and to illustrate how Paul’s behavior mirrors those

characteristics.

Further Examples:

Through the experience of one man, the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American

Slave, accurately depicts the historical record of slave life in its descriptions of the often brutal and

quixotic relationship between master and slave and of the fragmentation of slave families.

In “I Stand Here Ironing,” one can draw parallels between the narrator’s situation and the author’s life

experiences as a mother, writer, and feminist.

Learning and Tutoring Center, Summer 2011 Page 3 of 4

SAMPLE PATTERNS FOR THESES ON LITERARY WORKS

1. In (title of work), (author) (illustrates, shows) (aspect) (adjective).

Example: In “Barn Burning,” William Faulkner shows the characters Sardie and Abner

Snopes struggling for their identity.

2. In (title of work), (author) uses (one aspect) to (define, strengthen, illustrate) the (element

of work).

Example: In “Youth,” Joseph Conrad uses foreshadowing to strengthen the plot.

3. In (title of work), (author) uses (an important part of work) as a unifying device for (one

element), (another element), and (another element). NOTE: The number of elements can

vary from one to four.

Example: In “Youth,” Joseph Conrad uses the sea as a unifying device for setting,

structure and theme.

4. (Author) develops the character of (character’s name) in (literary work) through what

he/she does, what he/she says, what other people say to or about him/her.

Example: Langston Hughes develops the character of Semple in “Ways and Means”…

5. In (title of work), (author) uses (literary device) to (accomplish, develop, illustrate,

strengthen) (element of work).

Example: In “The Masque of the Red Death,” Poe uses the symbolism of the stranger,

the clock, and the seventh room to develop the theme of death.

6. (Author) (shows, develops, illustrates) the theme of __________ in the (play, poem,

story).

Example: Flannery O’Connor illustrates the theme of the effect of the selfishness of

the grandmother upon the family in “A Good Man is Hard to Find.”

7. (Author) develops his character(s) in (title of work) through his/her use of language.

Example: John Updike develops his characters in “A & P” through his use of

figurative language.

Learning and Tutoring Center, Summer 2011 Page 4 of 4

OTHER RESOURCES

 Refer to your literary textbook. The first chapter often includes information on writing essays on literary topics, and later chapters discuss elements of literature.

 Use supplemental resources available in the LTC. Consider the following:

 McKeague, Pat. Writing about Literature: Step by Step. 8th ed. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co. 2005.

 Roberts, Edgar V. Ed. Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing. 4th Compact Ed. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2008.

 Refer to this very reputable online resource: The OWL (Online Writing Lab) at Purdue:

 “Writing in Literature: An Overview”: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/713/01/

This overview page includes links to pages that discuss how to write a thesis, how to read a

poem, how to read a novel or short story, and how to read a play, among other topics.

 Ask an LTC tutor to review drafts of your thesis statement for strength and coherence.

FINAL NOTE: Conventions for Writing a Literary Analysis Essay or Research Paper

Ensure that your essay…

 makes an argument or claim or illustrates an engaging perspective on the work

 includes a thesis which lists the key points the essay will discuss

 provides evidence to support your claim

 refers to the author(s) and the work(s) in the opening sentences. Use the author’s full name the

first time and the author’s last name in all further references in the essay.

 uses literary present tense to discuss events in the fiction, poetry, or drama.

For information on this convention, see: http://humanities.ucsd.edu/writing/workshop/present.htm

 uses strong verbs in the thesis statement and throughout the essay: demonstrates, uses, develops,

underscores, accomplishes, strengthens, illustrates, shows, reveals, serves, emphasizes, identifies,

suggests, implies, etc.

 uses formal rather than informal language

For more information on levels of formality, visit our website:

http://www.gpc.edu/~gpcltc/handouts/levelsofformality.pdf

 does more than simply summarize the work

For more information on literary analysis, visit our website:

http://www.gpc.edu/~gpcltc/handouts/literaryanalysis.pdf