What does the lens show you about the story?

Published by Jeannie R. Ferrell

Nov 18, 2022


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Literary Analysis Essay – Critical Theory and Inquiry
Due Date: November 20, 2022 (Final Draft)
Purpose and Introduction
In a literary analysis, the idea is to carefully analyze a work of literature and create an interesting, original argument about the text. It’s an exercise in finding an implied message from a text that doesn’t state this directly. This skill applies in a number of practical ways in life.
In this essay, you will use a literary theory to shape a critical analysis of a text read for this class. Remember, this essay is not about the literary theory. Your task is to apply the theory to a story. What does the lens show you about the story?
Let the theory and story guide a process of inquiry. There are a few ways to approach this.
1. Begin with the story. You may have questions about the text that you can answer by looking at the work through a specific lens.
2. Choose a theory that interests you and reread the story with the theory in mind.
3. Apply the theory to a character or specific passage of the story.
Your goal is to use the theory to inform your perspective and make an argument about the work.
Use a recognized literary criticism lens to write a 1000-1250 word research-based literary analysis of one of the Raymond Carver stories read for this class: “Cathedral” or “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” or “Neighbors” or “Why Don’t You Dance?” Use two secondary sources to help support this argument.
The critical lens and text are up to you. A list of the critical theories we explore in this class is listed below.
Critical Theories:
o Formalist Criticism
o Biographical Criticism
o Gender/Feminist Criticism
Support (Evidence)
Your essay must have the following:
• 1 primary source: the Carver story you choose (minimum 4 quotes)
• 2 secondary sources (minimum 1 quotes each)
o Secondary sources should be from the YTC Library A-Z databases (Bloom’s Literature, the Literary Reference Center, and Short Stories for Students are all highly recommended). Anything from sources like Wikipedia, Ask.com, Sparknotes, Shmoop, or Quora will not be an accepted source.
MLA Format
Your essay should be properly formatted according to the most up-to-date MLA standards found in the supplement provided in your textbook. If you do not have access to that supplement, please follow the guidelines found at the Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) Link to Purdue Owl MLA
Proper formatting includes the following criteria:
• MLA General Format (double-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman or Arial font, 1 inch margins, etc.)
• In-text citations (MLA style)
• Works Cited page that follows all MLA guidelines
Submission Guidelines
Your essay should be submitted as a .doc, .docx, .pdf, or .rtf file via the D2L Dropbox before the due date (November 20, 2022)
Rough Drafts
You will submit a rough draft to the rough draft Dropbox folder by 11:59 PM on November 16, 2022 for review.
Raymond Carver stories read for this class: “Cathedral” or “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” or “Neighbors” or “Why Don’t You Dance?” Use two secondary sources to help support this argument.
need to be familar with these stories


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