Analyzing and interpreting literature: assignments 1 – analysis essay


Literature is an essential part of our culture and how we express  ourselves. In this course, you learned how to understand and analyze  different types of literature, from poetry to novellas.  For this  assignment, you will choose one of the two prompts below and write an 800-1200-word essay  in response about it. Include quotations and textual evidence from the  works you’ve chosen and cite them in MLA format. Please cite any lessons you use as resources (including lesson title and  instructor’s name). Your essay must be followed by an MLA style  References page with at least 2 sources. Do not include an abstract.  Including a cover page is optional. 

Assignment Prompts

  1. In this course, you learned about a variety of literary  characteristics including connotation, denotation, tone and mood. Select a poem from the reading list, explain how at least one of these characteristics is employed and  how it contributes to the overall message of the poem. Use examples from the poems you’ve chosen to support your claims. 
  2. Oftentimes it’s assumed that the main character of a work of  fiction is meant to represent the author, though authors frequently deny  that this is the case. Which character that you’ve ‘met’ in this course  best represents you? How did the author of that work use literary  techniques like inference, context and other literary techniques covered  in this course to make this character so relatable? Use examples from  the work you’ve chosen to support your claims. 


Reading List


  • Select two of the following Shakespearean sonnets to read: 
    • Sonnet 18 
    • Sonnet 60 
    • Sonnet 94 
    • Sonnet 116 
    • Sonnet 130 
  • Read all of the following poems: 
    • ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ by John Keats 
    • ‘Annabel Lee’ by Edgar Allan Poe 
    • ‘My Last Duchess’ by Robert Browning 
    • ‘Song of Myself’ by Walt Whitman 
    • ‘Funeral Blues’ by W.H. Auden 
    • ‘Birches’ by Robert Frost 

Short Fiction

  • Choose one of the following novellas: 
    • Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad 
    • Animal Farm by George Orwell 
    • Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton 
  • Select two of the following short stories to read: 
    • ‘Story of an Hour’ by Kate Chopin 
    • ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ by Charlotte Perkins Gilman 
    • ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’ by Flannery O’Connor 
    • ‘The Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson 
    • ‘The Life to Come’ by E.M. Forster 
    • ‘A Clean, Well-Lighted Place’ by Ernest Hemingway 

Dramatic Works

  • Read all of the following dramatic works: 
    • Oedipus the King by Sophocles 
    • Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett 
    • A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry 
  • Select one of the following to read: 
    • The Crucible by Arthur Miller 
    • The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams 
    • The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde 
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