In popular fiction—murder mysteries and the like—plot is the most important element
Times New Roman, standard print size (12).Objective: In popular fiction—murder mysteries and the like—plot is the most important element. However, in the literary short story, what happens in the story is driven by character. To put it simply, the main character, the protagonist, runs into some kind of conflict as the result of encountering an antagonist (whether a person/people or an internal conflict which can be considered antagonistic), and this conflict gives rise to a significant event or moment that changes the protagonist’s life in some way. As discussed in the literary terms review (under Lecture Notes), the significant part of the character arc is how the protagonist changes from the beginning of the story to the end. These changes can be dramatic or subtle and can range from changes within himself/herself and/or how the character views the world or others. For this essay, you will choose a main character from one of the stories discussed in the discussion boards and examine how this process works: Your paper will analyze the way this particular character functions in the story by tracing his/her character arc. What do we initially know about the character, and how do plot events change him/her and bring about an epiphany for the character ultimately resulting in change by the story’s end.
The paper will have the following elements:
• Title for Essay: Your title will indicate the main focus of your essay
• Introduction: The introductory paragraph will engage readers, be relevant to selected story and will lead to thesis statement. (Be sure to identify the story and its author somewhere in this paragraph.) Short story titles are placed in quotation marks.
• Thesis statement: You will state a thesis in the last sentence of the introduction, a one to three sentence statement that sums up the main focus of your paper and be indicative of the objective of characterization. This thesis will make a claim about the character and his or her role in the story. For example: Because of William’s abusive and violent past, as an adult, he refuses to trust anyone he meets and ultimately lives a lonely, bitter life. So, here, this thesis is indicating an analysis of William’s former life and what happened to him and how it changed him as an adult. For your thesis, do not use first person or what is known as the announcement tone—<link is hidden> “In this paper, I will…”
• Supporting body paragraphs: Each paragraph of the paper will begin with a clear topic sentence that makes a point about the character (i.e how the character is initially presented, behavior and actions of the character as a result of plot that lead to subsequent conflict etc.) that supports your argument. Each sentence in the paragraph will support that claim with your analysis and textual evidence from the story. In other words, readers will be presented with an initial portrait of the character but then the protagonist’s character arc will be traced. Plot events will be discussed and analyzed in terms of how they are affecting the character and how it leads to an ultimate change. The body of your essay should NOT just be a summary of the story. Yes, you will mention significant plot events, but then go beyond identification to analyze how these plot events are affecting the protagonist (whether it be mentally, emotionally, physically or a combination thereof).
• Conclusion: Your concluding paragraph will begin by re-examining/reiterating the thesis and then reflecting on how the character has changed by the end of the story. You should include how this epiphany emphasizes the theme/message of the story and if said theme/message is universal in nature.
• Citations from story: Please cite page numbers from the story only when quoting directly. (Note: Try not to “over-quote.” Select direct quotations that best support your thesis and avoid extended quotes (more than four typed lines). Consider working quoted words and phrases neatly into your own sentences <link is hidden> Finally, Mrs. Mallard says her first words “over and over under her breath: “free, free, free!”(416). Another way to integrate a quote is to introduce it with a full signal sentence, followed by a colon, then the extracted quote—<link is hidden>Finally, Mrs. Mallard abandons her fear and embraces her epiphany: “But she saw beyond that bitter moment a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely. And she opened and spread her arms out to them in welcome” (416). Please follow the conventional MLA placement of period outside of the parenthetical citation.
• There is no research required for this story. Please avoid going online to unreliable websites such as Sparknotes, Bookrags, Schmoop, and Wikipedia. These sites are not deemed as scholastic sources. Your essay should be your own critical insights. If there is any evidence of plagiarism within the essay, the essay will receive a failing grade. Refer to plagiarism policy in our Syllabus. Because you will be using only one source (the selected story within your textbook), you do not need a Works Cited page.