Close Reading Analysis: Short Story (Module 2)
Point Value: 80 pts possible
- 80 pts for submitting analysis of the short story to BSP:Assignments by 11:59pm at the end of Module 2—Part 3*
*The analysis assignment will be run through TurnItIn to look for plagiarism, so be sure to leave yourself enough time to review your paper’s “Originality Report” and make any necessary changes before the due-date.
Don’t forget that Tutoring services are available to you.
If you have any difficulty submitting the assignment on Brightspace, consult the Brightspace (BSP) Help Desk
Step 1: Select a Short Story
Short Story Options
Review the short story options assigned for Module 2. Open the “Readings and Videos” subfolders within the module’s content folders on Brightspace to access the readings, and select one of those short stories that you will focus on for this assignment.
Step 2: Complete the Written Analysis
Once you select a short story, re-read it and prepare to answer the following four questions.
I strongly recommend annotating (taking notes on) the short story as you read it—make note of words to look up, questions you have, and thoughts that occur to you as you read.
If you are having trouble accessing any of the resources to complete this assignment, please email the instructor asap for assistance.
Prepare your analysis.
You can do research into the author and the short story using scholarly websites, such as the Purdue OWL website, or scholarly journals like those you can access through the HWC library; or the author’s personal webpage [for more contemporary authors].
- Consult this HWC Library Guide on locating sources
- Go to the CCC library list of databases and use the “Literature Research Center (Gale)” to research your author and their work
- Review the “Research and Citation Resources” as well as the “Literature, Visual Art, and Architecture Resources,” which are posted in BSP:Content:Course Resources. Focus on those resources pertaining to literature for this assignment to familiarize yourself with some terms and techniques that will be useful for you to incorporate into your analysis.
- Do not rely on Wikipedia or other non-reputable sources.
Complete your answers to all four of the questions below, and submit your final draft of your answers to BSP:Assignments by the end of Module 2—Part 3.
Use the included rubric (see pages 5-7) as a checklist to ensure you have provided the reader with everything required.
Your analysis should be about 5 paragraphs (paragraph=5 sentences) and answer the following 4 questions about the short story (you may number your responses):
- Author Biography and Plot Summary (15 pts)
Explain in 2-3 sentences a brief outline about the author’s life, focusing specifically on any particular experiences or aspects of their background that are important to know about in order to better understand the choices they made in writing this short story. Be sure to cite all biographical information about the author that you learned from outside sources
Additionally, explain in 1-3 sentences a brief outline of the story’s plot (you may follow the “Somebody-Wanted-But-So-Then” structure for your plot summary, or you may follow your own structure that highlights the main sequence of events experienced by the protagonist.
- Style of Narration (15 pts)
Explain in 1 paragraph about what style of narration is utilized in the story, and how that choice of narrator provides the reader with certain information about the characters and the plot, as well as how that choice of narrator prevents the reader from knowing other pieces of information that a different narrator could provide (Is it told by a Participant or Non-Participant narrator? If Participant: which character is telling the story? If Non-Participant: is it Omniscient, Limited Omniscient, or Objective? Or can you apply an even more specific style of narration?). Be as specific as possible about the evidence in the story (quoted text passages) that allowed you to identify the style of narration and describe the impact of that narrator on the story that gets told.
- Literary Device (15 pts)
In 1-2 paragraphs, describe one literary device or technique that is particularly important to the reader’s understanding of this short story (ex: metaphor, irony, etc.). You may use this list of literary devices or the Purdue Online Writing Lab as resources for literary device terms. Identify at least one piece of evidence in the story (quoted text passage) that demonstrates this literary device, and explain its significance.
- Meaning/Message (15 pts)
In 2 paragraphs, explain the short story’s message or meaning. Elaborate on how the characters, plot, style of narration, and other literary devices work together or work in tension/opposition to convey the message. In other words, think of this fourth question as a way to tie together observations from questions 1 through 3 and explain what the short story makes you realize and wonder about. Your response should be as detailed as possible and draw on particular passages in the short story as well as on general observations about the story’s overall mood.
- Include a Works Cited section, and be sure to spell- and grammar-check your work (10 pts)
Be sure to cite all information about the author or story that you learned from outside sources, and be sure to cite all quoted passages from the story itself. Note that there are particular guidelines to follow when quoting short passages and others for longer passages.
Other Writing Tips
Begin writing from the point of having selected the short story. Do not narrate why/how you made the short story selection or how you looked up information about it; just tell the reader how the pieces of information you found all support your argument.
Your paper should adopt an authoritative tone as you articulate your interpretation of the short story and support it with evidence, and it should be written in the third person, not using “you.” Instead, describe what “one recognizes” or “the reader understands.”
Quoting and Citing your Sources
- When you incorporate background research about the author or short story, you should only use scholarly sources, such as journals like those you can access through the HWC library, or the author’s personal webpage (if they have one). You must also make sure to abide by the rules of academic honesty and provide appropriate MLA citations to avoid plagiarism in your write-up. TurnItIn will create an “Originality Report” for your work, marking all text that matches another student paper or another source. Be sure to resolve any issues with your Originality Report before the due-date by fixing the issue in your paper and resubmitting a new, corrected draft.
- If the Originality Report only highlights passages of “matching text” that have been properly quoted and cited in MLA format (following the three steps listed below), then you are fine.
- If, however, the Originality Report highlights any passages that have NOT been placed in quotation marks AND ALSO provided with an in-text citation and Works Cited page citation in MLA format, then you must fix these issues and resubmit a new draft by the due-date. Resubmissions made after the due-date will be treated as late papers, but that is better than failing the assignment (or course) due to plagiarism.
Information that resulted from your research (and didn’t originate in your own head) must be appropriately cited using MLA format:
Step 1: Put all borrowed wording in quotation marks, using proper MLA style
Formatting quotations in MLA style
(Note that there are different formatting guidelines for quoting lines of poetry and for quoting lines of prose. Also, the length of the quotation affects the formatting that you should follow).
Step 2: Construct in-text parenthetical citations for all borrowed wording and ideas, using proper MLA style
- MLA In-text citations (basic book)
- MLA In-text citations (electronic sources)
- MLA In-text citations (artwork, movie, etc.)
Step 3: Construct a Works Cited page, using proper MLA style
Use the included rubric (see pages 5-7) as a checklist to ensure you have provided the reader with everything required.
Close Reading Analysis: Short Story Rubric (80 pts)—due on BSP:Assignments
|Criterion||Exceeds Outcome||Pts||Meets Outcome||Pts||Emerging Skills||Pts||Does Not Meet Outcome||Pts|
|Thoroughness||Author’s paper meets the requirements concerning length and fully addresses topic.||5||Author’s paper meets the requirement concerning length and addresses most of the topic.||4||Author’s paper is one to two paragraph shy of the length requirements and partially addresses topic.||3||Author’s paper is one section or more shy of the length requirement and does not adequately address topic.||2|
|Citations||All ideas and wording that came from the story or from outside sources are cited accurately in MLA style with in-text parenthetical citations and a Works Cited citation, and only reputable or scholarly sources (like museum websites, journals) are consulted.||5||All ideas and wording that came from the story or from outside sources are cited in MLA style with in-text parenthetical citations and a Works Cited citation, but there are some minor formatting errors||4||Ideas and wording that came from the story or from outside sources are given incomplete citations with in-text parenthetical citations OR a Works Cited entry; OR student copies and pastes large chunks of text from sources instead of incorporating details into the student’s own answer; non-scholarly sources (Wikipedia, blogs, etc.) are sometimes relied upon for info that was available from scholarly sources (museum websites, journals).||3||No quotations from the story or outside sources were consulted, but assumptions were made that should have been investigated and cited; OR non-reputable sources (Wikipedia, blogs, etc.) are exclusively relied upon for info that was available from scholarly sources (like museum websites, journals).||2|
|Exceptionally clear, mechanically sound presentation that suffers only from rare, minor errors in sentence structure, grammar, or punctuation. Terminology and names are used accurately.||10||Generally clear, mechanically sound presentation that suffers from only occasional, not persistent, grammatical errors or from a repeated error that would not be caught by spell-check. There is no more than one minor inaccuracy regarding terminology or names.||9||Frequently unclear or mechanically unsound presentation that suffers from one persistent grammatical error or a few occasional grammatical errors. OR Misuses terminology or names numerous times.||7||Extremely unclear or mechanically unsound presentation demonstrating a lack of quality that does not meet expectations for a college-level paper (i.e. 10+ fixable errors). Has not been spell-checked. OR Frequently misuses terminology or names.||5|
|Author Biography & Plot Summary||Provides a well-organized and concise description of the author’s historical context and individual experiences to help illuminate choices the author made in structuring the short story.
The short story’s plot is described accurately and concisely.
|15||Provides a mostly clear and organized description of the author’s historical context and individual experiences that are relevant to the short story, but extraneous details are included.
The short story’s plot is described but with a minor inaccuracy or omission, or with some excessive detail.
|13||Provides a scattered or overly detailed description of the author’s historical context and individual experiences, such that important details are obscured.
The short story’s plot is partially described, or contains several inaccuracies.
|10||Provides a generic or confusing array of information about the author’s historical context and individual experiences; copies and pastes large chunks of text from sources instead of incorporating details into the student’s own answer.
The short story’s plot is not addressed or contains numerous errors.
|Style of Narration||Identifies accurately and with great detail the short story’s style of narration, and explains the implications of that choice in revealing certain information to the reader and obscuring other information. Thoroughly incorporates evidence from the story to support their assertions.||15||Identifies accurately the short story’s style of narration and explains some of the implications of that choice in revealing certain information to the reader and obscuring other information. Incorporates evidence from the story to support their assertions.||13||Identifies the short story’s style of narration but only minimally explains the implications of that choice in revealing certain information to the reader and obscuring other information. Incorporates some evidence from the story to support their assertions.||10||Does not clearly or accurately identify the style of narration or explain the implications of that choice on the story that gets told. Incorporates minimal or no evidence from the story to support their assertions.||6|
|Literary Device||Identifies thoroughly and accurately a significant literary device that is relevant to the short story and shows clearly how the author used that literary device to contribute to a certain mood or message.||15||Identifies with a minor error or omission a literary device that is relevant to the short story and shows how the author used that literary device to contribute to a certain mood or message.||13||Identifies a literary device that is relevant to the short story, but with some error, and shows only part of how the author used that literary device to contribute to a certain mood or message.||10||Does not clearly identify a relevant literary device, or selects a literary device that is not in fact utilized in the short story.||6|
|Message/ Meaning||Clearly explains what the short story conveys to the reader, and all aspects of that interpretation are thoroughly supported by quoted evidence from the short story and by analysis of the short story’s style of narration and other literary devices.||15||Explains what the short story conveys to the reader, and most aspects of that interpretation are supported by quoted evidence from the short story and by analysis of the short story’s style of narration and other literary devices.||13||Explains part of the message the short story conveys to the reader, and some aspects of that interpretation are supported by quoted evidence short story and by analysis of the short story’s style of narration and other literary devices.||10||Explains little about what the short story conveys to the reader, and that interpretation is rarely supported by quoted evidence short story and by analysis of the short story’s style of narration and other literary devices.||6|
If the submission “does not meet outcome” in all categories=33 points/80 (41%)
If the submission demonstrates “emerging skills” in all categories=53/80 (66%)
If the submission “meets outcomes” in all categories=68/80 (85%)
If the submission “exceeds outcomes” in all categories=80/80
- If the links to Library Database (Literature Resource Center–GALE) that are included in the assignment instructions are not working out for you, please follow these steps instead. Navigating to the sites directly from the CCC home page seems to work better than the links, for whatever reason. From www.ccc.edu, select student tools, then libraries, then library databases, which should then allow you to access the Literature Resource Center (GALE). ↑
- Consult the Purdue OWL website for information about the writing process, academic writing, grammar, punctuation, and mechanics. ↑