750 word essay – mla format


Essay: 750 words count, double-spaced and MLA format. The short story “Bloodchild” will be attached.

Instruction for Paper 1: What is the significance of the literary element (plot, setting, characterization/character, diction, theme) you have chosen as the focus for your paper? You will develop a paper that answers this question and demonstrates the following outcomes for writing and literature:

  1. Analyze literature for a purpose
  2. Distinguish digital or print materials through annotation to demonstrate reading and summary skills
  3. Identify a literary element–such as plot, setting, character, diction, or theme–in a short story
  4. Identify one to three examples in the story that support the thesis
  5. Write a thesis that clearly states your interpretation of the “meaning” (significance) the story based upon evidence related to the literary element you have selected to examine in the story 
  6. Write clear topic sentences for paragraphs that let the reader know what each paragraph of the body of the paper will discuss
  7. Write paragraphs that explain how the examples from the story support the thesis
  8. Arrange a paper by presenting paragraphs in a coherent, purposeful manner
  9. Write sentences in standard American English that clearly express ideas
  10. Demonstrate the MLA style of formatting in the layout of a paper
  11. Demonstrate the MLA style of formatting by documenting material from the story within the paper and on a Works Cited page
  12. Explain in a clear and logical fashion what you have learned about your writing

*Hints: Remember that your reader has read the story and is familiar with it; extensive summary is not useful. Rather, explain and analyze how “meaning” is derived from the story by the author’s implementation of a literary element. Note that the paper is to be about the story, not the author, so repeated references to the author are unnecessary and ill advised.

*Special Hint about Plot: Be aware that a paper analyzing a piece of literature is NOT a plot summary.  Summary, if you must have it, should provide only details necessary to identify parts of the story required to develop the paper, no longer than three to four sentences.

Select one from the literary elements listed below: 

Plot – the arrangement of ideas and/or incidents that make up a story

  • Foreshadowing –      When the writer clues the reader in to something that will eventually occur in the story; it may be explicit (obvious) or implied (disguised).
  • Suspense –      The tension that the author uses to create a feeling of discomfort about the unknown
  • Conflict –      Struggle between opposing forces.
  • Exposition –      Background information regarding the setting, characters, plot.
  • Rising Action –      The process the story follows as it builds to its main conflict
  • Crisis –      A significant turning point in the story that determines how it must end
  • Resolution/Denouement –      The way the story turns out.

Characterrepresentation of a person, place, or thing performing traditionally human activities or functions in a work of fiction

  • Protagonist –      The character the story revolves around.
  • Antagonist –      A character or force that opposes the protagonist.
  • Minor character –      Often provides support and illuminates the protagonist.
  • Static character –      A character that remains the same.
  • Dynamic character –      A character that changes in some important way.
  • Characterization –      The choices an author makes to reveal a character’s personality, such as  appearance, actions, dialogue, and motivations.  

Look for connections, links, and clues between and among characters. Ask yourself what the function and significance of each character is. Make this determination based upon the character’s history, what the reader is told (and not told), and what other characters say about themselves and others.

Setting – the place or location of the action.  The setting provides the historical and cultural context for characters. It often can symbolize the emotional state of characters. Example – In Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, the crumbling old mansion reflects the decaying state of both the family and the narrator’s mind. We also see this type of emphasis on setting in Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice. A feature such as weather may determine setting, for example, in Kate Chopin’s “The Storm.”

Diction – word choice that both conveys and emphasizes the significance of theme or other literary element of a story through distinctions in sound, look, rhythm, syllable, letters, and definition. For example, in the story “Of Mice and Men,” Lenny’s language conveys his intellectual impairment.

Theme – the central topic or idea explored in a text. All works of literature contain some sort of theme. Themes are generally universal in nature and relate to the condition of being human. Thus, the theme in a work of literature crosses boundaries and makes a story meaningful to people of any culture or age. While readers may not understand all the references and language in a book from a different time period or culture, the theme of the [work] is what makes it comprehensible. Usually the theme of a work of literature can be stated in one word, such as “love” or “solitude.” A work of literature can, and often does, have more than one theme. The theme is generally not stated explicitly in the text, but instead is expressed through the characters’ actions, words, and thoughts and can be stated in one word. 

Short Story:

“Bloodchild” by Octavia E. Butler, in African American Literature Beyond Race: An Alternative Reader Part IV, page 235-246 and page 252. http://ezproxy.umgc.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.umgc.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=1020868&site=eds-live&scope=site&profile=edsebook

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