For the midterm, you’ll write a literary analysis about Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery” using what you’ve learned
about analyzing literature over a prompt that will be provided when you begin the exam.
• Understand and demonstrate the persuasive application of language.
• Respond appropriately to a variety of rhetorical situations and constraints.
• Critically evaluate a variety of texts, both individually and through group discussion.
• Draw conclusions from the interpretation of a wide range of genres (historical, philosophical, political, literary, and
ethnographical, among others) and mediums (visual texts, multimedia, speeches, recordings, among others) that
challenge student perspectives of person, place and identity (questions that relate to personal, social, and civic
• Master common genre terminology.
• Compose multi-paragraph essays in appropriate rhetorical styles, such as argumentation, critical analysis, and
other forms of advanced persuasive discourse.
• Prepare written analyses on a variety of texts and genres.
• Utilize prescribed research methods to support a logical thesis statement, as well as integrate and document the
ideas of others in a competent manner.
• Demonstrate a thorough understanding of the appropriate conventions of style as applicable to upper-level
courses and disciplines (MLA, APA, and/or CMS).
First, read the short story carefully (a PDF is provided in the current module) and study the Analyzing Literature
presentation and your feedback for Writing Exercise 4: Short Story Dossier. Once you begin the exam, you’ll have 2 hours
to write a literary analysis that responds to a prompt about the story. (The prompt will appear once you begin the exam.)
You can begin the exam at any time from Monday, October 12 at 12:00am to Sunday, October 18 at 10:00pm. Once you
start the exam, you must complete and submit your work within the two-hour timeframe; you cannot start the test and then
return to it later.
You’ll be provided with a response box to write your exam. Consider typing your essay into a word processing program
(such as Microsoft Word) before copying and pasting your text into the box provided so that you can save your work
periodically. Should you encounter any technical difficulties, send your saved essay to me by email within the two-hour
Use a classic essay style to organize your analysis, separating your main ideas into paragraphs as necessary. Plan your
time wisely; give yourself time to get your initial thoughts down, develop a logical structure for the information you want to
include, and revise and edit your work. No special formatting style is necessary for the essay itself (MLA, etc.) since you’ll
be typing your essay into a response box with limited formatting options. Don’t worry about including a heading, doublespacing, indenting paragraphs, etc. Simply skip a line between paragraphs by hitting “enter.” There is no minimum word
count; instead, you’ll be graded on how thoroughly you answer the prompt. (See rubric below.)
Title. Choose a creative and original title for your review that reflects your thesis in some way. Avoid overly generic titles
such as “Essay 3” or “Literary Analysis.”
Introduction. Your introduction should start by introducing the topic and the short story. Be sure to state the full title of the
short story and the full name of the author. (Use the author’s last name only for any subsequent references.) Provide a
brief summary of the short story (1-2 sentences). Remember that the focus of a literary analysis should be on analyzing
the material, so keep your summary concise; assume that your reader has read the text in full.
End your introduction with a clear thesis statement. Your thesis should be one sentence only and should focus on
answering the prompt by analyzing and interpreting the text. You should list your main supporting points in your thesis and
discuss them in your body paragraphs in the same order. In a literary analysis, your supporting points will be the literary
elements that you choose to focus on (setting, symbolism, irony, etc.). Don’t try to discuss every single literary element
that the author uses; instead, focus on a few key elements that you think are most important to the story and to answering
Stephen Crane’s short story “The Open Boat” shows that nature is indifferent towards man through its use of
characters, point of view, and symbolism.
Claim: Stephen Crane’s short story “The Open Boat”
shows that nature is indifferent towards man.
Supporting points: The story uses characters, point of
view, and symbolism.
Body. Each body paragraph should focus on one literary element that you’d like to analyze to support your thesis. It is
crucial that you discuss how each element contributes to your thesis rather than merely summarizing. Discuss your
supporting points in the same order as you have listed them in your thesis. Use topic sentences at the beginning of each
paragraph to introduce each supporting point, and use transitions to move from point to point. Support your thesis with
evidence from the short story. For example, if you thought the story used point of view to accomplish its purpose, talk
about what details the author included that you made you feel this way. All of your body paragraphs should work to
support your thesis in some way. Consider the following literary elements (all of which are discussed in detail in the
Analyzing Literature presentation):
– Point of View
CAUTION: Remember to stay focused on answering the question in the prompt!
Conclusion. End your analysis with a conclusion that reiterates your thesis and main points in light of the information
provided in your body paragraphs. Make sure your audience understands why your analysis is important to understanding
the overall message of the story.
Point of View
Since the focus of this essay is on analyzing the short story, not on your own personal feelings of the short story, you
should use the third person point of view (he, she, it, etc.) only, and avoid using first person point of view (I, me, my, etc.)
when writing your analysis.
You must cite from the short story at least 3 times within your essay, including proper MLA in-text citations. End your
essay with a work cited entry using the bibliographic details of the short story provided below. List the details (author, title,
etc.) of your work cited entry in the correct order, but don’t worry about using double-spacing or a hanging indention since
you’ll be typing your essay into a text box with limited formatting options. See p. 585 of your textbook for details on how to
cite a work in an anthology. Cite the author’s name (not the editor of the anthology) and the page number in your in-text
citations. (If the author’s name is mentioned in your sentence, omit the author’s name from your in-text citation.) Limit your
quotations to about 10-15% of your total essay. The majority of your writing should be made up of your own words and
ideas. Use what you learned from English 1301 to properly integrate quotations, using summary and paraphrasing as
needed. Essays that do not include at least 3 citations will be sent back to you for revision and lose points. Though you
may need to do some research to learn more about the short story, you should not use any other outside sources to
support your analysis.
IMPORTANT: Note that you are provided with a PDF version of the short story created specifically for this class within
the current module. Because this version of the short story was originally printed in an anthology, you must cite the
source as a “work in an anthology,” using p. 585 of our textbook to create your works cited entry. Use the following
Short Story Details
Title of work: “The Lottery”
Author: Shirley Jackson
Title of Anthology: Backpack Literature
Editors: X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia
Year of Publication: 2012
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