Short Story Explication

For this assignment, I want you to write an explication of a short story from your book that we have not covered in class. This explication should be three to four pages in length and should follow all MLA guidelines. For this assignment, you will not need to do any outside research. The only tools you will need are your textbook and perhaps a dictionary. Below you will find some suggestions for how to approach this assignment.

1. The most efficient way to begin is to read the story you have chosen and decide the theme of the work. Why did the author feel the need to write this story? What message is she trying to communicate to you through the work? After deciding upon the theme, write it down in your own words.

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2. Now that you have the theme, go back through the story and look for the tools the writer uses to communicate this theme. These tools will be the topics we have covered in class (and the chapters we have read for homework) such as tone, characters, diction, point of view, and so on. Once you have found the tools that the writer uses, you are ready to begin the explication.

3. The explication of the story should not simply cover the events that happened. Do not simply recount the plot to me. Instead, show me how the tools you have focused on convey the theme. Show me that the theme you claim to see in the story is accurate because the tools you have found prove it.

4. If you need to use a dictionary (and I believe most everyone will want to), I suggest using the Oxford English Dictionary or the American Heritage College Dictionary. Both of these dictionaries can be found in any public or college library. Please remember that if you do use a dictionary, you will need to include a works cited entry for that dictionary.

5.  You will need to have a works cited page that must include the textbook as the source of the literature analyzed and any other resources you used in the paper.  Please also note that all assignments must be formatted according to MLA standards.  Assignments must also follow the suggestions on the “Writer’s Reminders” sheet.  Assignments that do not follow the above requirements will not be graded.

*** I can send pictures of the short story.
“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” Author: Joyce Carol Oates

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