Paper 2: Literary Analysis

Paper 2: Literary Analysis

The second paper will be a literary analysis. You will analyze one of the texts we have read/will read for class. You will choose one lens through which to analyze the text. That can take many shapes (gender studies, race, class, psychoanalysis, etc); for example, I have had several successful papers that examine Christianity and/or Paganism in Beowulf. By examining specific aspects of the poem through the lens of the Christian religion (or Paganism), the papers’ authors read the text in new, more developed ways. This is the purpose of the final paper. You may also choose to compare two shorter poems through a certain lens.

Please note: this is a literary analysis, not a research paper. I encourage you to include sources that may help you with your analysis (don’t forget in-text citations and a Works Cited page!), but the paper should keep the focus on the text, not exclusively, or primarily, on research. All sources used in the paper should be reputable (stick to books, academic articles from the library’s online database, or .edu websites. Do not use Spark Notes,, Schmoop, Wikipedia, etc. I must approve any .com sites).

In your paper, don’t assume that the author is the speaker/narrator of the text (unless it’s indicated in the text, such as Sappho, Douglass, and Baldwin), and avoid discussing what the author believes, is doing, or is trying to do. Those notions are very difficult to know/prove and have little impact on the analysis. Instead, focus on what the text is doing exclusively.

Logistics: The paper should be 4-6 pages (not including Works Cited). Do not turn in a paper that is less than 4 pages. The paper must be typed, using MLA style: your name, my name, course title, and due date in the upper left-hand corner, 1″ margins all around, Times New Roman 12 pt. font, double spaced, no extra space between paragraphs, page numbers in the top right corner, and a title centered in normal font (no bold or underline) at the top of the first page. Include a Works Cited page as the last page of your paper (this does not count toward the page count). Any papers that do not meet these minimum requirements will be returned ungraded and penalized as late.

**There are examples of literary analyses on D2L. Please read these to get an idea of what the assignment looks like. These are not perfect papers, but they are good examples of what a literary analysis entails.

You may write about the same texts as the ones used in the examples (if they have been assigned for this class), but do not write about the same topic. For example, one of the examples analyzes Ichiyo’s “Separate Ways” through the psychoanalytical lens of abandonment. You may write about “Separate Ways,” but don’t replicate the lens of abandonment.

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