Prince George’s Community College
English 1020 Essay 1 – Short Story Analysis
1. Students must choose a short story from chapters 7-14 in our textbook that was not an
assigned reading (if you are unsure which stories were assigned, check the Course Schedule
located in the Syllabus and Schedule tab in Blackboard).
2. There are two goals of the essay:
a. To analyze the short story using short story formalist elements. DO NOT
summarize (meaning to retell) the short story in your papers. You are encouraged to use
the chapter checklists to help you with your analysis, but do not just answer the
questions. This should be a developed essay.
b. To use outside research to expand the analysis / discussion of the short story
through either application of a school of critical theory (if using reader-response,
you must use an additional school of criticism) or literary criticism. You must
conduct research for this paper using academic sources or by using literary criticism
written about the short story (use Artemis as accessed through the PGCC
Databases). Sparknotes, CliffsNotes, GradeSaver or any study guides, or Wikipedia or
free essay websites cannot be used as research for the papers in this class.
3. Do not use first person (I, my, me, we, us) or second person (you, your) when writing the
essay (unless quoting a source that uses first or second person or including reader response
4. The audience for the paper is an academic audience. Academic audiences expect very few (if
any) sentence level errors and a professional, formal tone.
5. Essays must follow MLA format, both in appearance (Times New Roman 12 point font,
double spacing, first page heading, pagination, etc.) and citation (works cited AND in-text
citation). Refreshers on MLA format are in Course Contents in Blackboard and Chapter 3 in your
6. The minimum length of each essay is 4 full pages. Essays may exceed the minimum;
however, do not go over 8 full pages. Essays shorter than 4 pages or over 8 pages will be
penalized one letter grade (ten points). The works cited does NOT count towards page count.
7. The minimum amount of sources required for the essay is two. One must be the short story
(if you would like to see an example of a works cited page with a citation from our textbook, see
pages 22 or 39) and the other is the student’s choice (see 2b above). Students are encouraged to
use more than this, but two is the minimum.
A sample short story analysis essay can be found in your textbook on page 21; the original story
is located on page 466: “The Secret Lion”
Tips for writing:
You should include the name of the short story (which should be in “quotation marks”),
the year it was published, and the name of the author in the introduction, along with other
background information and your thesis statement. This does not mean these pieces of
information should be your first sentence, but you should include all pieces of
information somewhere in your introduction.
When referring to authors or scholars, when you first mention their names, use their full
names. Any other mention, use the person’s last name only. You can call characters by
first names, but not authors.
DO NOT SUMMARIZE WHAT HAPPENS IN THE STORY!!! This is a big mistake
students make. Use plot analysis to discuss what is the conflict, climax and resolution,
but never retell the story.
Back up observations with examples from the short story. Do not say, “X is a round
character” and stop. Explain why you feel he is a round character and use examples and
information from the story to illustrate your points. Analysis has two parts:
identification and explanation. Identification is where you note where you see an
element. Explanation (which is the bigger part of analysis) is your explanation of why
what you identified is important or worth noting.
Do not include your outside source use or quotes in the introduction or conclusion. They
should be used primarily in the body of the paper. It is ok to cite sources in your
introduction or conclusion, but the significant use of sources should be in your body
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