Writing Assignment: Talk the Talk

n this writing assignment, you are going to analyze a single story (from the American Short Stories collection) through the lens of two different types of analysis; review the two types in this chart.

Types of Criticism Table

Type of Criticism Definition Guiding Questions
Historical A school of thought that looks at how a text defines and is defined by the time period in which it was written.
  • What is the historical context of the text?
  • What is the author’s history?
  • What evidence of history is in the text?
  • What is the text saying about that era of history?
Reader Response A school of thought that focuses on the reader’s (or “audience’s”) experience of a literary work.
  • How does the text affect the reader emotionally?
  • What does the text teach the reader?
  • What does the reader experience through the text?

1. You have read and annotated one of the following stories from your American Short Stories anthology according to the guiding questions of reader response and historical criticisms.

  • The Lottery (135)
  • A&P (259)
  • Miriam (147)
  • The Wooing of Ariadne (299)
  • Where Have You Gone Charming Billy? (337)
  • Everything Stuck to Him (349)

2. Write a one-paragraph (minimum 10 sentences) analysis of the story for each of the two types of criticism.. For each paragraph, include:

  • A hook.
  • A brief summary.
  • An arguable thesis related to the type of criticism and the theme of the story.
  • At least 2 embedded/direct quotations from the text that support your thesis with a lead in and commentary for each.
  • A thesis echo.
  • A clincher.

3. Revise and edit your paragraphs for logic, unity, and completeness.

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