What Am I Looking For?
Your essay should be strongly reasoned, thoughtful, and well-written. You must provide
evidence for your claims from whichever short story you are writing about in the form of at least
four direct quotations. Remember your “quotation equation” – no plunked quotes, people.
Paper length should be between 1000-1200words (equal to about 3-4pages). Papers should be
typed in 12-point Times New Roman (or some other legible typeface) and double-spaced. The
first page of your paper should include the heading we discussed in class, and all pages should
have a page number (formatted as we discussed). You must have a Works Cited page on both
the First and Final Drafts
Prompts: Pick only one prompt
1) We’ve discussed early American feminist literature and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The
Yellow Wallpaper.” What about “The Yellow Wallpaper” is definitively feminist? For
this prompt, you should discuss not only the figurative meaning of the story (for example,
what it means that a full grown woman is essentially locked away in a nursery), but also
how the characters interact with one another. Do you sympathize with one character more
than another? If so, why? For this question, you should restrict your content to the short
story only (in other words, no film references – be sure that you refer to the main
character by her name in the short story, not the film).
2) Compare and contrast the narration in “The Lottery” and “Barn Burning.” As we
discussed in class, the narration of “The Lottery” is third person omniscient, while the
narration of the “Barn Burning” is third person limited. How does each style of narration
affect the reader? Is one style more successful than the other, or do they both “work” for
the type of story each author was trying to tell?
3) Write a defense of Abner Snopes from “Barn Burning.” What is admirable about Abner?
Isn’t he merely trying to raise a poor family in a grossly unjust social situation? What are
the principles that Abner feels he is defending?
4) As the title would suggest, the necklace in the short story “The Necklace” is an important
part of the story. What is the symbolism of the necklace? Why is it important to
Mathilde? How do the other characters – particularly the men at the ball – treat Mathilde
when she has the necklace on?
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