Describe and justify your dissertation research topic. Identify key topic concepts. Identify the target population or organization.
September 10, 2018
Compare and contrast the theme of familial relationships in “A Pair of Tickets” with another work. What do these works say about loyalty and the strength of a familial bond?
September 10, 2018

Select two stories, poems, or a combination from the readings and show how, although their plots differ, they explore a similar theme. Throughout, back up your claims with specific lines or passages from the work.


Students are asked to write literary analysis essays because this type of assignment encourages you to think about how and whya poem, short story, novel, or play was written. To successfully analyze literature, you’ll need to remember that authors make specific choices for particular reasons. A literary analysis is not merely a summary of a literary work. Instead, it is an argument about the work that expresses a writer’s personal perspective, interpretation, judgment, or critical evaluation of the work. This is accomplished by examining the devices, word choices, or writing structures the author uses within the work. The purpose of a literary analysis is to demonstrate why the author used specific ideas, word choices, or writing structures to convey his or her message.

Your essay should point out the author’s choices and attempt to explain their significance. When writing a literary analysis, you will focus on a specific attribute(s) of the text(s). When discussing these attributes, you will want to make sure that you are making a specific, arguable point (thesis) about these attributes. You will defend this point with reasons and evidence drawn from the text.

Topics for “The Lottery”:

  1. ConsiderShirley Jackson’s comment on her purpose in writing the short story: “I hoped, by setting a particularly brutal ancient rite in the present and in my own village, to shock the story’s readers with a graphic demonstration of the pointless violence and general in humanity in their own lives.” Identify key elements in the story that contribute to the final effect of shock and horror. Consider the importance of point of view, setting, and symbols.
  2. Inthe short story, Jackson uses disturbing images to aid the reader in understanding the pointlessness and foolishness of blind obedience. The story stresses the importance of questioning what is put in front of you as opposed to conforming mindlessly. Identify key elements in the story that prove Jackson’s point.
  3. Throughout the short story, contrast is everywhere, even from the names of Mr. Summers and Mr. Graves. Choose instances that provide an ironic contrast of reader expectations versus the grim reality.

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