J. Alexander (ENG 102)
College Composition II

750-Word Fiction Analysis

Students will submit a typed, titled, double-spaced comparative essay using any two of the stories read in class. This essay should attempt to illustrate similarities or differences between two stories according to a common theme.  Sample topics include the following: Hawthorne/Updike (hypocrisy), Chopin/Updike (instant gratification), Poe/Gilman (narrative reliability), Chopin/Gilman (marriage/relationships), Poe/Joyce (goals/motivations), Hawthorne/Joyce (faith/religion), Updike/Joyce (adolescence). Be reminded that Hayden’s poem is not a story. Once a standard of comparison is established, this essay should attempt to make an argumentative statement either about similarities or differences between these two stories.

To establish a purposeful thesis, ask yourself if the two stories seem mostly similar at a quick glance; if so, it is not necessary to argue their similarities. Your paper should instead focus on what makes them different or distinct. Likewise, if the differences of the two stories are most obvious, focus your paper on how the stories are, in fact, similar in your interpretation.

You should not attempt to cover everything in this essay; rather, one major aspect of the works should be the focus (i.e., theme, imagery, setting, characterization, use of metaphor). In trying to find an effective direction for your essay, you may also consider the following “standards of comparison” and figure out which two stories would be effective models for this concept:

Use of deceit and trickery
Views on marriage
Use of light / darkness
Gender relationships
Presence of evil
Life’s journey, personal enlightenment

Cover page
must include the title of your essay (clearly providing the argumentative direction taken in the paper), your name, the course name, the instructor's name, the word count, and the date of submission
Text of the essay must be between 750 and 1000 words, typed and double-spaced
Binding: Staple paper together in upper left corner. NO PAPER CLIPS OR FOLDERS OF ANY KIND WILL BE ACCEPTED.