English Composition 1

Essay Assignment 3

Due Dates

Friday, October 11: Draft of at least 800 words due for peer critique.
Friday, October 18: Revised draft of at least 1000 words due.

Essay Assignment 3: Analysis of a Short Story with Documented Sources

Essay 3 is an interpretive and analytical essay with documented sources on one of the short stories by James Joyce below. (Just click the links to access the stories.)

This assignment is similar to the Diagnostic Essay and Essay Assignment 2 in that you will write an interpretation of a short story, but your essay must include information from at least two of the secondary sources listed below. (Important: Use only the secondary sources listed below.) The story itself is referred to as your "primary source" and does not count as one of the secondary sources in your paper. Therefore, you need a minimum of three sources for this paper: the story itself and at least two secondary sources. All sources, including the story itself, must be properly cited and documented according to MLA standards, and a "Works Cited" page must be included as part of your essay. (See below for information about the sources for Essay 3 and about using, citing, and document your sources.)

Your essay needs to be written in a formal writing voice and needs at least five paragraphs, including an introduction with a clear thesis statement and a conclusion with a restatement of that thesis. The minimum required length for the revised draft is 1000 words. 

You can assume that your audience has read the short story that is the subject of your essay but has not studied or analyzed it. Your job is not to summarize the story but to help readers appreciate it and to understand its meaning. To help you go beyond a simple summary of the story, you should ask yourself what point the writer is trying to make. What is the author trying to tell us through the story? 

You might start by thinking of a possible theme conveyed in the story. "Theme" can be defined as the "main point" or, more specifically, the "comment about life" that an author conveys in a story (or other work of literature). With a possible theme in mind, you should then reread the story carefully, making notes on anything that seems to relate to the theme.

As you consider a possible thesis for your essay, it might be helpful if you come up with three or four important and related claims that you think you can support with specific evidence from the story. These claims could then be the bases for the different body paragraphs of your essay. From the claims, you could then formulate a one-sentence thesis statement.

Be an active reader. Read the story you are writing about several times. When you reread the story, you should have a pen or pencil in hand, making marginal notes to help you remember things you notice and to write down any questions that come to mind.

Secondary Sources For Essay 3

Important: Use only the secondary sources listed here!

For Essay 3, you must use material from at least two of the online secondary sources listed below to help you support and develop your interpretation. The story--your subject--is referred to as your primary source. The story must be listed on the "Works Cited" page, but the story does not count as one of the two required secondary sources.

The secondary sources that you use for your essay must be chosen from the sources listed below. Please do not use any secondary sources except those listed below.

Joyce's "Araby"

Available in IVCC library databases (EBSCOHost, JSTOR, ProQuest)

  1. Brugaletta, John J. and Mary H. Hayden. "The Motivation for Anguish in Joyce's 'Araby.'" (Academic Search Complete (EBSCOHost))
  2. Conboy, Sheila C. "Exhibition and Inhibition: The Body Scene in Dubliners." (JSTOR)
  3. Coulthard, A.R. "Joyce's 'Araby.'" (ProQuest)
  4. French, Marilyn. "Missing Pieces in Joyce's Dubliners." (JSTOR)
  5. Mandel, Jerome. "The Structure of 'Araby.'" (JSTOR)
  6. Walzl, Florence L. "Pattern of Paralysis in Joyce's Dubliners: A Study of the Original Framework." (JSTOR)

Available on the Web

  1. Salma, Umme. "Orientalism in James Joyce's 'Araby.'"
  2. Snart, Jason A. "Detached and Empty: Subtexts of the Unoccupied House in James Joyce's 'Araby.'"

Joyce's "Eveline"

Available in IVCC library databases (EBSCOHost, JSTOR, ProQuest)

  1. Boysen, Benjamin. "The Necropolis of Love: James Joyce's Dubliners." (ProQuest)
  2. Conboy, Sheila C. "Exhibition and Inhibition: The Body Scene in Dubliners." (JSTOR)
  3. French, Marilyn. "Missing Pieces in Joyce's Dubliners." (JSTOR)
  4. Ingersoll, Earl G. "The Stigma of Femininity in James Joyce's 'Eveline' and 'The Boarding House.'" (Academic Search Complete (EBSCOHost))
  5. Latham, Sean. "Hating Joyce Properly." (ProQuest)
  6. Paige, Linda Rohrer. "James Joyce's Darkly Colored Portraits of 'Mother' in Dubliners." (ProQuest)
  7. Walzl, Florence L. "Pattern of Paralysis in Joyce's Dubliners: A Study of the Original Framework." (JSTOR)

Available on the Web

  1. Putzel, Steven. "Portraits of Paralysis: Stories by Joyce and Stephens."

Accessing Sources in the IVCC Library Databases

If you are using a college computer, you do not need to enter a login and password to access the sources in the library databases (EBSCOHost, JSTOR, ProQuest).

However, to enter the databases from off campus, you need to enter the login information given below.

Using, Citing, and Documenting Sources

A major difference between this essay assignment and the earlier essay assignments in the course is the requirement that you use secondary sources to help you develop your essay. You will present your interpretation of one of the stories, and the majority of supporting material in your essay should be from the story itself, but the secondary sources will help you better understand the story and will also help you more effectively persuade readers to accept your interpretation. The material you use from sources should offer good insights into the story that are relevant to your interpretation. Do not use material from the sources if that material only summarizes facts from the story.

Whenever you use sources in your writing, you need to give proper credit to the sources and you need to be very careful to distinguish your own words and ideas from those you use from the sources. There is a specific way to do this, and there is an organization that has established one of the two most widely accepted standards for citing and documenting sources. This organization is the Modern Language Association, abbreviated MLA, and you need to make sure that you follow MLA conventions as you cite and document your sources in your essay.

The following course web pages provide information about using, citing, and documenting sources according to MLA standards:

Preparing the Works Cited Page

A "Works Cited" page is required for this essay, and the publication information on that page must follow the correct MLA format. "Preparing a Works Cited Page" is the most useful resource for preparing your Works Cited page. It probably will take a while to prepare your Works Cited page properly, but look carefully at the resources and examples linked on "Preparing a Works Cited Page." After you have a general understanding of the different elements as explained on "Preparing a Works Cited Page: The Elements," you could follow the examples on "Preparing a Works Cited Page" that best match the kinds of sources that you need to present on your Works Cited page. For example, if you need to present a source from one of the library databases, then you could follow the example on "Preparing a Works Cited Page: An Article in a Magazine or Journal Database." 

Again, the page linked below is the best resource for preparing the Works Cited page for your essay:

The sample paragraph linked below also includes an example of a "Works Cited" page.

Sample Essay

Things to Consider about this Assignment

As you are writing and revising your essay, you should keep the following information in mind.

  1. As you are writing about a short story and are referring to what the storyteller says, you should not refer to what the "author" says but to what the narrator says. Do not confuse the author and the narrator.

  2. Your main source of supporting evidence should be the story itself, but you should use material from secondary sources to help you develop and support your ideas. The thesis statement and topic sentences should be your own. Be careful not to lose your own writing voice by bringing too much material from secondary sources into your essay.

  3. Your essay must demonstrate a good understanding of how to use, cite, and document material from sources.

  4. Do not guess how to prepare the "Works Cited" page. Use the provided resources to help you prepare the "Works Cited" page correctly. Of course, just ask if you have any questions.

  5. As usual, read carefully the web pages linked from the Expectations for All Essays page and make sure that your essay follows the guidelines. After writing a draft, use the Revision Checklist page to help you identify ways to strengthen the draft as you are revising.

Helpful Web Pages

The web handouts linked below were also linked at the previous essay assignment page; they should be helpful as you are writing and revising your essay.

Of course, make sure to ask if you have any questions!

Copyright Randy Rambo, 2019.