How is a literary theme represented in a short story

Paper 1 – Submit Files

Topic for Paper 1: How is a literary theme represented in a short story? You will develop a paper that answers this question and demonstrates the following outcomes for writing and literature. You will be able to

  • Analyze literature for a purpose
  • Distinguish digital or print materials through annotation to demonstrate reading and summary skills
  • Identify a theme in a short story
  • Identify one to three examples in the story that support the theme
  • Write a thesis statement that clearly identifies the title of a story, its author, the theme, and what the paper will discuss about the story and the theme
  • Write clear topic sentences for paragraphs that let the reader know what the paragraph will discuss
  • Write paragraphs that explain how the examples from the story support the theme
  • Arrange a paper by presenting paragraphs in a logical and interesting fashion
  • Write sentences in standard American English that clearly express ideas
  • Demonstrate the MLA style of formatting in the layout of a paper
  • Demonstrate the MLA style of formatting by documenting material from the story within the paper and on a Works Cited page
  • Explain in a clear and logical fashion what you have learned about your writing

Overview of the Workshop Format for Paper 1

Writing this paper will follow a process that allows you to practice and develop your writing skills in the discussions. During Weeks 1 through 4, you will work on your paper in the classroom, receive feedback from your instructor, and build your paper, part by part, into your final version. This process will allow you time over the four-week period to get to know and develop your writing process through a workshop format as you will be able to revise and edit the different sections as you go along, thereby demonstrating the writing skills needed for that particular each section of the paper.

To be successful in this process, you must be active and engaged in the discussions and post in a timely fashion. That way, you can successfully demonstrate the weekly skills and be building your paper.

Week 1: Critical Reading Strategies and Selection of Topic. During Week 1, you will cover strategies to help you with critical reading, including techniques for reading and annotating digital materials. To prepare you for working with your topic for the paper, you will work on these strategies in Week 1 (and throughout the course). During Week 1, you will study the concept of theme and the genre of the short story. You will choose your short story and theme from the list provided by your instructor.

Week 2: Thesis. Your thesis statement should include the story and the theme. You will workshop the thesis of your paper during Week 2 in the discussions. Outlining and organizational strategies will also be covered.

Week 3: Development. The development or body of the paper will focus on finding evidence in the story that supports the theme and then explaining in your paper how it does so. During Week 3, you will workshop strategies for developing body paragraphs in the discussion. Except for the stories themselves, you will be developing this material through your own observations; you are not to use outside sources for this material.

Week 4: Sentence Level and MLA. Your writing should be carefully proofed for sentence-level concerns. Your final paper should be formatted and documented according to MLA documentation style in the form of parenthetical citations and a Works Cited page. During Week 4, you will study resources for these areas. In the discussion, you will continue to workshop these areas. You will submit the final paper at the end of Week 4, along with your Reflection on your writing process (see below).

Hints: Remember that your reader has read the story and is familiar with it. You do not have to spend time on summary. Instead, your development should explain and analyze how the theme is demonstrated in your story.

Special Hint about Plot: Be aware that a paper about a piece of literature is NOT a plot summary. Your plot summary, if you must have one, should provide only the details necessary to highlight the parts of the story that help to develop your paper, such as a short paragraph of five to six sentences.

Reflection on your Writing Process: On a separate page of your submission, provide an overview of your writing process for this essay and what you have learned about your writing process by developing your paper. Also note two areas that you would like feedback on, such as thesis statement and topic sentences.

When you are satisfied that your paper and your reflection are complete, upload your work to the Assignments Folder within the link “Paper 1” by the deadline.

Word Count: 500-750 words

Due Date: Paper 1 is due at the end of Week 4.

Hide Rubrics

Rubric Name: Paper 1 Rubric with Alphanumeric Outline

Read literature for critical insights

Paper demonstrates that the writer has read the short story and can accurately and correctly identify key components of plot and characters.

Paper provides original and critical insights based on this understanding.

Paper accurately responds to the topic of the paper by applying complete and accurate statements from the short story.

Paper demonstrates an understanding of the short story and can work with key components of plot and characters.

Paper provides critical insights based on this understanding, but there may be a missing component.

Paper responds to the topic of the paper but is weakened due to a missing component.

Paper demonstrates a partial understanding of the short story. It may retell at least one key event of the story but does not demonstrate an understanding of the sequence of events.

Paper provides insights based on this understanding, but there may be more than 2 missing components.

Paper provides a response to topic but is weakened due to the lack of the expression of the understanding about the details or sequence of the story.

Paper provides a minimal understanding of the short story or may be inaccurate in either the retelling of the plot or description of the characters.

Paper contains a retelling of the story with minimal details limited to summary rather than stating critical insights.

Paper responds to topic but is weakened due to the inclusion of inaccurate retelling of details or sequence of the story to support the response.

Paper does not provide an understanding of the story. The retelling, if included, may be incomplete, general, or incorrect.

Paper lacks critical insights. There is no statement of the main idea or the statement does connect to the topic of the paper.

Paper may provide a general description of the plot or characters but does not provide enough evidence to demonstrate that the writer of the paper has read and comprehended the story.

Identification of major element of fiction

Paper identifies a clear literary theme in a concise way.

Discussion of the theme clearly aligns itself with the entire story.

Application of the theme to the story demonstrates both an understanding of the theme itself and a new understanding of the story.

Appropriate evidence to demonstrate the theme is located and discussed.

Paper identifies a key theme.

Discussion of the theme aligns with most of the story.

Application of the theme within the story may be lend itself to either an understanding of the theme itself or a new understanding of the story, but not both.

Not all evidence used in support of the theme is appropriate or more may be needed.

Paper identifies a theme.

Discussion of the theme occasionally loses focus on the proving the theme throughout the entire story.

Application of the theme provides minimal new insight as to how the theme can help the reader understand the story in a new way.

The application of the theme needs further evidence from and discussion of the story.

Occasional anecdotal evidence may be used to support the theme rather than the evidence from the story.

Paper identifies a possible topic for a theme, but no clear statement on a theme is made.

Discussion of the topic occurs for only one part of the story, not the entire story.

Application of the topic provides no new insight into the story.

Vague, general, or anecdotal support of the theme may be used to support the topic. Support may or may not include evidence from the story.

Paper does not present a discussion of theme, is vague, too short, or is off topic.

Demonstrate effective writing skills by preparing well-developed and well-supported critical analyses of literary texts

Thesis statement meets the standard of a clear thesis that reflects the topic of the paper, including the story and theme. The thesis lets the reader know exactly what the writer is trying to communicate.

The thesis statement meets the minimum standard of a clear thesis but needs minor revision to make it above standard. The thesis needs some minimal revision to provide the reader with with all the required information that sets up the idea of the paper, including the theme and short story.

The posted thesis does not meet the minimum standard for a clear thesis but is working towards that standard. Thesis needs revision to develop the requirements of the thesis statement, such as revising for a clearer expression of the idea, addressing of the topic/theme.

The thesis needs much more work to have it be considered a thesis statement. It is missing the component of theme and the idea that it is addressing a short story. It may present only summary.

Paper does not contain a thesis statement.

Demonstrate effective writing skills by preparing well-developed and well-supported critical analyses of literary texts

Paper contains clear organization with an identifiableintroduction, main body, and conclusion.

Introduction lays out the main idea and gives an outline of what the reader can expect in the essay.

Body paragraphs present information in a logical and coherent fashion through clear topic sentences and logical transitions.

Conclusion brings everything together and finalizes the main idea of the paper.

Paper contains an introduction, main body, and conclusion.

Introduction lays out the main idea but gives the reader little idea of what to expect in the essay.

Body paragraphs present the information but at times lack cohesion through the use of topic sentences and/or transitions.

Conclusion summarizes the main argument and evidence, but does not move beyond what has already been presented in the paper.

Paper contains an introduction, main body, and conclusion.

Introduction gives the reader an idea of what to expect in the paper, but does not effectively lay out the main idea. It may begin with a set of rhetorical questions, or an anecdote that is never fully explained.

Body paragraphs present evidence without having an underlying organization pattern or may be illogically organized.

Conclusion does little more than restate the introduction or may introduce evidence. The introduction and/or conclusion may be too wordy or short.

Paper’s opening paragraph is present but does not set up the paper.

Body paragraphs are presented in a confusing fashion with no evidence of following a logical organization.

Conclusion may not be present.

Paper has no clear organizational pattern.

Paper has no clear distinction between the purposes of the paragraphs.

Demonstrate effective writing skills by preparing well-developed and well-supported critical analyses of literary texts

Paper provides compelling and accurate analytical evidence from the story that convinces the reader to accept the thesis.

The importance/ relevance of all pieces of evidence is clearly stated.

There are no gaps in reasoning; the reader does not need to assume anything or do additional research to accept the demonstration of the thesis.

If summary is used, it is used only to set up the analysis.

Paper provides necessary analytical evidence from the short story to convince the reader of most aspects of the thesis but not all.

The importance/ relevance of some evidence presented may not be totally clear. The reader must make a few mental leaps or do some additional rereading of the story to fully accept all aspects of the evidence.

There may be some unnecessary summary.

Paper does not provide enough evidence to support the thesis.

Information from the story or definition of the theme is not effectively used or occasionally incorrectly used.

More summary than analysis is presented as evidence.

Paper provides either no evidence from the story or includes numerous factual mistakes, omissions or oversimplifications.

Generalizations and anecdotal evidence from outside the story may dominate the point of view.

Paper provides no evidence from the story to develop the main point.

Evidence may be presented that is not in the writer’s own words and is not documented.

Demonstrate effective writing skills by preparing well-developed and well-supported critical analyses of literary texts

All sentences are grammatically correct and clearly written.

The ideas in the sentences are understood by the reader upon first reading. No words are misused or unnecessarily fancy.

Paper has been spell-checked and proofread and contains no errors.

Most sentences are grammatically correct and clearly written.

An occasional word is misused or unnecessarily fancy.

Paper has been spell-checked and proofread, and contains no more than a few minor errors, which do not adversely affect the reader?s ability to understand the ideas of the writer.

Several (5-7) sentences are grammatically incorrect or not clearly written.

A reader may have to read a sentence a few times to understand its meaning. Several words may be misused.

Paper may have been spell-checked and proofread but still contains several errors which impede the reader’s understanding of the paper.

There may be a pattern of errors, such as several fragments throughout the paper.

The paper has 8-10 major grammatical errors. There may be patterns of more than one type of error, such as several fragments and comma-splices throughout the paper.

Paper has not been spell-checked or proofread, and contains numerous errors, with words being misused.

The reader has a difficult time understanding the main ideas of the paper because of errors.

The paper has more than 10 major grammatical errors.

There may be more than one pattern of multiple errors, such as several fragments, comma-splices, and subject-verb agreement.

The sentences do not convey the ideas of the paper either in context of the material around them or when taken out of the paragraph.

The reader cannot discern the ideas of the writing due to these errors.

Demonstrate effective writing skills by preparing well-developed and well-supported critical analyses of literary texts

Submission includes a fully developed alphanumeric full outlinethat accurately reflects the content of the paper.

Submission includes a developed alphanumeric outline, but some sections of content in the paper are missing.

Submission includes an outline, but it is not presented in the format of a developed alphanumeric outline.

Submission includes an outline, but it is not presented in the alphanumeric outline and has sections of content missing.

Submission does not include an outline, or the outline is so sparsely developed it cannot be developed into a fully developed paper.

Demonstrate effective writing skills by preparing well-developed and well-supported critical analyses of literary texts

Evidence is correctly documented in MLA style, including direct quotations, paraphrase, and summary.

The Works Cited page is on its own page and correctly formatted. The reader can locate the entries.

MLA formatting is correctly used for the set-up of the page, including title/author area, header information, and being double-spaced.

Evidence is cited within the paper, but there may be some minor problems with completeness or the format of some citations, such as paraphrase or summary not being documented.

The Works Cited page may not be on its own page or not have the complete citation thereby hindering the reader’s being able to locate the source(s).

The formatting of the paper may not be completely done in MLA style, such as not being double-spaced or containing proper header information.

Some evidence within the paper may not be documented. Some may be incorrectly documented. There are more than 3 major errors in documentation.

The Works Cited page may not be complete or present some of the information incorrectly.

The formatting may be missing major components, such as not being double-spaced or not containing a header information.

An attempt was made at documenting evidence, but there is minimal documentation within the paper or errors are made in documentation.

There may be incorrect information either in the paper or on the Works Cited page. The Works Cited page reference does not lead the reader to the work(s) being cited.

The formatting is missing more than 3 major components.

There is no documentation within the paper or may be totally incorrect.

The Works Cited page is not attached.

The citation may be in APA style or a hybrid of APA and MLA.

Demonstrate effective writing skills by preparing well-developed and well-supported critical analyses of literary texts

The writer submitted a thoughtful reflection of the writing process for the paper.

The submitted version of the paper demonstrates a thorough application of that writing process. It is clear that the writer carefully thought through the steps necessary to create a rich learning experience.

The writer submitted a reflection of the writing process for the paper.

The submitted version of the paper demonstrates an application of that writing process. The writer may have thought through the steps necessary to create a rich learning experience, but the paper needed more attention in its overall development and presentation.

The writer submitted a reflection of the writing process for the paper.

The submitted version of the paper demonstrates some of the application of that writing process, but the paper may have needed more attention to 2 or 3 steps. The final version had some problems in its presentation.

The writer submitted a reflection of the writing process for the paper.

The submitted version of the paper demonstrates minimal application of that writing process, needing more attention to 3 or more steps.

The paper needed much more attention to either the development or the overall presentation of the final version.

No reflection on the writing process was submitted.

Overall Score

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