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Objective: Show how a piece of prose literature creates meaning.

What does this mean? You need to show me why you think a short story means what you think it does by using the structures of literature that we discuss in class.

Sources: A single short story from our anthology

Outside Sources: None

Length: 5 pages

Format: MLA


Prose is not simply words that sit flatly on a page. It may not always have the same lyrical quality and passion of a poem, nor does it necessarily have the fire of a live performance like drama; however, Prose has the opportunity to develop the thoughts, the motivation, and the very soul of its characters, its plot, and its message.

In a 5 page MLA format essay, argue how a piece of prose creates meaning through character, narrative, tone, and language. In essence, take a story from our readings and show me step by step how the piece functions. Do not simply summarize the plot, but rather show me how that story is influential, powerful, or masterful due to the construction of narrative, characters, tone, and language. You may also choose to show how a piece fails to do this by pointing out the flaws in the piece’s construction. Again, do not summarize the story; analyze it. If it uses an alienating character, why is this important? If it denies you denouement, why is that important to the meaning of the story?

You should start outlining and pondering the question now, and make sure you are clear on what I am asking you to do. This is an essay built around analysis, not simply stating what happens. If you are not using words like sympathetic character, unreliable narrator, etc, and you are not taking direct quotes from a short story, you are likely not going to do well here.

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