LITERARY ANALYSIS PROJECT (SHORT PAPER 1) INTRODUCTION TO CHICANX LITERATURE A literary analysis is not a summary of a literary work. Instead, it is an argument about the work that expresses a writers personal perspective, interpretation, judgment, or critical evaluation of the work. This is accomplished by examining the use of devices the author uses within the work.
For this short paper, you can draw from Bless Me, Ultima by Gloria Anzaldua or Under the Feet of Jesus by Helena Mara Viramontes (as well as the supporting materials provided). You can also revisit these core texts through biographical, historical, or gender/feminist contexts: the creation of the Chicanx literary canon, the exploration and reworking of feminine archetypes, etc.
YOUR MAIN GOALS 1. To demonstrate thoughtful reading and understanding of the text. 2. To create a clear and specific thesis about the
details and specifics of the text(s) that you are analyzing. 3. To provide evidence from the text itself to support your thesis. 4. To use MLA style and formatting for writing about literature i.e., in-text citations. 5. To create a Works Cited page using MLA. Note: No external research is required. OTHER SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS LENGTH: 4+ pages in MLA format (1 margins, 12 point font, running page header, double- spaced, etc. See example on D2L) not including images, if applicable. HOW TO WRITE A LITERARY ANALYSIS 1. Select a major idea or theme. Think about what the author is trying to say through the major ideas or themes of the work. What is your reaction to the ideas or themes presented in the work? Why are they important? How do these themes or ideas fit within the context of the Chicanx canon? Are these ideas or themes truthful or relevant to today and how? 2. Review the text again. Select important passages in the text and/or annotations you made as you read that relate to the idea or theme youre selecting. 3. Make sure your topic has sufficient supporting evidence. You should make sure to include specific details to support the topic. 5. Write a working thesis
. Your analysis will need a strong thesis that states your perspective or opinion but in a way that also allows it to be debated and creates a space for readers to arrive at their own conclusions. Example of a debatable thesis: _____________ is about the speakers efforts to overcome the adversity she experienced growing up while drawing attention to the larger systemic issues at play in society. (This is a debatable thesis because it asks the reader, Does the speaker actually overcome the adversity she experienced? What kinds of adversity did she face? Is she complicating or reinforcing stereotypes?
How much of her singular experiences are representative of society?) 6. Make an extended list of evidence. Find more evidence from the text to support the working thesis. Then select the evidence that will be used in the paper. 7. Refine the thesis. Make sure the thesis fits with the evidence that has been presented. 8. Organize the evidence. Match the evidence to the order of the thesis. Delete any of the original textual supports that may no longer follow the thesis and gather new evidence if needed.
9. Interpret the evidence. When writing a literary analysis, it is very important for writers to make sure they express their own personal interpretation of the work. Be careful that the literary analysis is not a summary. 10. Create a Shitty First Draft. When writing a rough draft, there are several methods that may aid you in creating a strong final draft. Here are a few methods: Freewrite: A short ten-minute freewrite will help to get all of your thoughts on paper. It will allow you to focus on the content rather than the punctuation and spelling. Once the freewrite is complete, you can read through it and circle the points that are strong, as well as omit the ones that are not. Concept Map: A concept map allows you to draw connections from one idea to the next. It will give you a visual idea of the direction of your literary analysis, as well as help you see the connections between the topics. This can help you transition from one topic to another more fluidly. Outline: An outline will help you organize your thoughts and ideas. It will remind you of the order of your supporting points and allow you to see the relationship between those points and your thesis. 11. Revise the Analysis. After completing the first draft, revise the analysis by considering the following questions: Is the thesis clearly stated
? Does the structure of the analysis emphasize the main ideas and reinforce the thesis?
Has the present tense been used to discuss the work? (This is just a weird lit rule) Have quotation marks been used around direct quotations? Are in-text citations used? Has the source been cited correctly according to MLA style? Has extraneous information that does not support the thesis been eliminated?
Have clear transitions been used between sentences and paragraphs?
12. Proofread. Once the content of the essay is well-developed, it should be proofread for grammar, punctuation, and spelling. It is often helpful to read the paper slowly and clearly out loud. If possible, another person should listen and read along as the paper is being read
. Be alert to common grammatical errors such as sentence fragments, comma splices, or run-on sentences. Remember to consult a style manual for grammatical or citation questions, and if further assistance is desired, individual appointments are available through the Universitys Writing Center (or me