Writing 4-6 pages essay on a short story provided.

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Essay Four: The Literature of Protest

  • write an interpretative essay about selected short stories using MLA format and documentation.

The theme uniting all the literary works in this module is protest, either subtly or overtly. The authors are calling attention to a problem in society (and, by extension, suggesting it needs to be fixed).

Prompt: Analyze a short story to determine its meaning. How do various elements of the story work together to create its meaning? What, precisely, is the writer protesting?


Tips on Quoting

Quoting a Poem or a Short Story

First of all, titles of poems and short stories belong in quotation marks. Do not italicize.

With poems, you are generally going to quote just a few lines at a time, or even only a single line, as you explicate. Show line breaks with a backslash ( / ):

“After the Terror” begins with the lines, “Everything has changed, though nothing has./ They’ve changed the locks on almost every door” (lines 1-2).

In the parenthetical citation, you do not give the page number the poem is on. You give the line numbers. (You’ll see line numbers given every five lines in the right hand margin of your anthology; this will help you.)

If you are going to quote more than three lines of poetry, set it up as a block quote. But as I said in Module 4 of Othello, typically you do not want too many block quotes as there is little need to quote large chunks of text.

Having said that, to do a block quote, indent two tabs (10 spaces) from the left hand margin and then type the lines out exactly as they appear in the text. Set it up like this:

Adrienne Rich ends the third section of “The School Among the Ruins” in this way:

A morning breaks without bread or fresh-poured milk

parents or lesson-plans

diarrhea first question of the day

children shivering it’s September

Second question: where is my mother? (lines 38-42)

As for a short story, it is a general work of fiction (a novel, a short story). Identify who is speaking, quote him or her, and cite the page number. Example:

Lyman describes seeing the convertible for the first time: “The first time we saw it! I’ll tell you when we first saw it . . . There is was, parked large as life. Really as if it was alive. I thought of the word repose” (967).

If your quotation is going to exceed four lines of text, then set it up as a block quote. BUT, notice how, above, I avoided the block quote by omitting extraneous information and showing the omission with ellipses.


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