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LIT PAPER on a short story of my choice- Need help

2gq 1 / 5  
Feb 17, 2008   #1
Hi there, im new to this forum and I have found alot of valuable content in this forum. Thanks.

But i am still having a little problem. Im a first year college student and I have to write a LIT PAPER on a short story of my choice (story has yet to be determined).

But I have never written a LIT PAPER, i have no clue what to do. I must include TWO CRITICS in my LIT PAPER, and i don't even know what that means.

If anyone can help simplify or outline what or how a LIT PAPER is composed, that would be GREAT!.

Thanks in advance.

EF_Team2 1 / 1,747  
Feb 17, 2008   #2

I think you must be talking about a critical literary essay. In that case, your essay would start with an introduction composed of a rather general statement, followed by a more specific one, which will be your thesis. You should mention the story's title and author in this opening paragraph. For example, "O. Henry's 'The Gift of the Magi' is a tale that probes the nature of love and sacrifice. In this short story, a newlywed couple surrenders items which are precious to each of them, but finds a greater gift within that loss."

I'm not sure about the "two critics" part; it may be that you are to find two authors who have criticized the work and discuss their take on it. If your instructor is at all approachable, I would recommend getting clarification on this part.

I hope this helps!


Sarah, EssayForum.com
OP 2gq 1 / 5  
Feb 17, 2008   #3
Thanks Sarah, I have some notes on what she wanted. When i get those from my lap top, i will post them up so we can get a better idea as to what she is looking for.

Be back in a few, Thanks again!
OP 2gq 1 / 5  
Feb 17, 2008   #4
Hello again. So this is the outline of what the paper is/should be.


Well written LITERARY essay, on a topic of your choice that meets the criteria below. Choose a short story you like from the listed authors, and create a unified study of some aspect of the chosen story. For example: a topic concerning theme or characterization or reliability of the narrator.

Include at least one direct quotation and one other reference -- whether direct quotation or not - to each of your two critical works. (SO, THAT'S 2 CRITICS, TWICE EACH!)

I have yet to choose an author, but to the matter at hand; how would I go about writing such a paper?
How would I go about including the critics in the paper?

And my Proff is not approachable. She is one of those, " you should have done this in high school, ask a classmate".
OP 2gq 1 / 5  
Feb 17, 2008   #5
Hi again.

I found that author, "O. Henry", was an author i could write about.
I read, "The Gift of the Magi," and i found it to be filled with irony. As well, the tone and style may be something to regards, to this story.

I may be interested in choosing this as my author and story. Just to give you an idea as to where i am leaning towards.
EF_Team2 1 / 1,747  
Feb 18, 2008   #6

I'm glad you seem to understand the assignment now, because I am confused! When she says "one direct quotation and one other reference" does she mean a direct quotation from the story (for instance, "Gift of the Magi"), or does she mean a direct quotation from an article which discusses that story? If I had to guess, because it is a "research paper," I would say that she means from another source which discusses/critiques the story. The good news is, if you choose a well-known story like that one, there must be tons of literary critiques written on it over the years. You shouldn't have any trouble finding sources.

When you begin writing, remember that you will need a thesis which adopts a certain position on the topic. For example, "The Gift of the Magi artfully employs irony and a humorous tone to present the story's theme of the importance of love over material possessions." (It's been a while since I've read it, so don't take my word for that; use your own research and judgment.) Then go on to discuss the results of your research, how other authors have analyzed this aspect of the story.

I hope this helps get you started!


Sarah, EssayForum.com
OP 2gq 1 / 5  
Feb 18, 2008   #7

Yes, i believe she meant a quote from a critic, which you assumed to be the case.

I have been googling for critics, however i have not found anything of use at the moment. Do you know of any other methods of finding any critics on this story?

Also, im unsure of which topic i want to persue. I have to have enough info for a 650 word essay, and frankly this is not my place of expertise. I am not asking for someone to give me my topic and examples but, some feed back or info on the particular story would be great, to get me a jump start.

thanks again, this forum is GREAT
EF_Team2 1 / 1,747  
Feb 18, 2008   #8
Greetings! (and thank you!) :-)

After doing a few internet searches myself, I see what you mean--it is not as easy to find literary analysis of this famous short story as one would have thought. If such does exist, the best way to find it would be to use your school library's database to search for, preferably, peer-reviewed journals pertaining to literature and literary analysis. If you've tried this and come up empty, it is possible you might want to choose a different story, however likable this one is. In that case, I would suggest trying different authors' names from your list and doing searches with them in the school library's database; you're bound to find some that have stories which have been analyzed.

Best of luck!


Sarah, EssayForum.com
OP 2gq 1 / 5  
Feb 18, 2008   #9
Hello again.

I decided to do my lit paper on, Kate Chopin: "The story of an hour".
The main point I will be talking about is the theme and to a lesser not, the irony in the story.

If you know of any resources for this story, let me know and hopefully it will make my writing process more enjoyable.
EF_Team2 1 / 1,747  
Feb 19, 2008   #10

I would suggest that you use the JSTOR database through your school's library to find literary journals. There is one called American Literature that might be useful, and I am sure there are others of a similar nature which contain articles that analyze and critique literary works. You could use the title of the story and/or the author as search terms once you're in JSTOR to find what you need.

Give this a try and let me know how it goes!


Sarah, EssayForum.com

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