V. Literary Analysis

Feel free to print out the entire Unit V, if necessary for easier access.

11/28 – 12/12

Story telling is a craft with roots stretching back to the beginning of humankind. It has been at once an art form, a science and a catalyst for the development of critical thinking skills. Critical thinking skills are necessary for – “parsing”, researching and writing about current events and related controversies. Composing the Literary Analysis unit requires transferring such critical thinking skills. Analyze the short story by identifying and describing problems, comparing and contrasting and explaining cause and effect relationships.

The short stories (see the list of short stories under “Readings” below), are assigned based on general themes selected at the beginning of the course. For more information on writing the literary analysis, see the links immediately below. Use the Literary Analysis Planning Worksheet to brainstorm, plan and get feedback during the planning stages of the Literary Analysis Essay.

For practice in analyzing short stories, use the Short Story Worksheet below to analyze short stories found in the videos listed below. Feel free to being the completed Short Story Worksheet to class as a resource for contributing to class discussions.


Literary Analysis Essays

Literary Terms


The due dates for  the following articles and videos are listed in the Unit Schedule, at the end of this unit.


Adici, Chimamanda Ngozi, “A Private Experience” [Women]

Eco, Umberto, “The Gorge” [Environmentalism]

Far, Sui Sin, “In the Land of the Free” [Immigration]

Hughes, Langston, “Seven People Dancing” [Racism]

Muslim, Kristina Ong, “Day of the Builders” [Technology]

Wong, Elizabeth, “China Doll”



Dassani, Rajeev, “A Day’s Work ” [immigration]

DUST, “Seam” [Technology]

Griffiths, D.W., “The Painted Lady” [Women]

Kampenhout, Willem, “The Surface” [Environmentalism]

Lemon, Kerith, “A Social Life” [Social Media and Entertainment]

Sanger, Erin, “The Bombshell” [Racism]

Literary Analysis Worksheet

This Literary Analysis Worksheet can be used to brainstorm about how given authors (or filmmakers) use literary and dramatic elements to make specific persuasive points. Use this worksheet to analyze assigned short stories and video dramas. is useful while analyzing assigned short stories and videos that contain short dramas. When answering. type the name of the work of short story or video being examined in the space provided at the top of the form. While answering the various questions, be sure to include evidence from the short story or video to support the points that you make. Refer to your completed worksheet during class discussions and small group collaborations. To access the worksheet, click on the link below.


Literary Analysis Essay Planning Worksheet

This worksheet is useful during the brainstorming phase of composing the literary analysis essay. completed worksheet can also serve as a basis for creating an outline that helps to create the first draft of the essay. It might help to first study the Literary Analysis Assignment Description below. Then complete the planning worksheet immediately below. In answering the questions, be sure to reference specific sections or pages of the short story. For this assignment, select the story [see the list above] that most relates to the overall theme assigned to your small group at the beginning of the course. Be sure to type the name of the story in the appropriate space at the top of the worksheet. To access the worksheet, click on the link below.




Literary Analysis Essay Assignment Description

After selecting the short story that most directly relates to the theme selected at the beginning of the term, be sure to consider the short story in the light of information gained while composing the first three assigned essay of the term. Information gained through the brainstorming phase of this assignment (using the Planning Worksheet) will also be useful. In composing the essay, be sure to answer the following questions:

  • What is the main problem addressed in this short story?
  • What statement about this problem does the author appear to be making? In other words, what point is the author trying to make?
  • In what ways does the author arrange the elements of the plot and characterization in order to make this point?
  • In what ways does information from your earlier essays help to understand the story?
  • Is the author’s story consistent with or contradictory to your own conclusions from earlier research?
  • If not, what changes would you have made in the story so that it would be more in agreement with your own viewpoint?

Possible Outline

    1. Lead In
    2. Very Brief Plot Summary
    3. Very Brief Statement of Problem with which the Story Deals
    4. Thesis: Point Author is Making in this Story
    5. Itinerary: Brief Summary List of Main Ways the Author Makes His Points
  2. BODY
    1. Author’s Strategy #1 [Plot?]
    2. Author’s Strategy #2 [Characterizations?]
    3. Author’s Strategy #3 [Other Literary Elements?]
    4. Other Observations [Considering your Previous Research]

Unit Five

Unit Five – Literary Analysis

Dates Topic Assignment
11/5 Theme and Purpose Review “Theme” and “Purpose” in  Literary Terms;

Desani, Rajeev, “A Day’s Work

Lemon, Kerith, “A Social Life”


11/7 Setting and Historical Context D.W. Griffith, “The Painted Lady”

Review Setting and Historical Context in  Literary Terms;

11/12 Characterization Sanger, Erin, “The Bombshell
11/14 Plot Kampenhout, William, “The Surface”

DUST, “Seam”

Review Plot in  Literary Terms;

11/15 Small Group Collaborations Complete the Literary Analysis Worksheet for the short story assigned to the student’s small group, based on themes selected at the beginning of the term.
11/19 Writing the Literary Analysis Review Literary Analysis Essays
11/21 Summary of Unit Literary Analysis Essay Due, 12/5

Unit Six Schedule

12/3 Review for Final Exam  
12/5 Practice Final Exam  
12/17 Final Examination