Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery


The purpose of Essay #1 is to write an argumentative literary analysis that successfully persuades your classmates to interpret a work of literature in a specific way.

The key to writing a successful literary analysis is to

  • Draft a thesis statement based on your informed


Your assignment for Essay #1 is to write an argumentative literary analysis about one of the following literary works you have read during class:

  • Kate Chopin, “The Story of an ”
  • Shirley Jackson, “The ”
  • Langston Hughes, “Harlem.”
  • Stacey Waite, “The Kind of Man I Am at the ”
  • Alice Walker, “Everyday ”

What is a literary analysis?

Analysis is a specific type of critical thinking that requires the breakdown of a work of literature into smaller pieces. The goal of analysis is to create either a new or better understanding of a work of literature once the smaller pieces are put back together.

We break literature down into smaller pieces by analyzing elements of literature including:

  • Speaker/Narrator
  • Setting
  • Plot
  • Character[s]
  • Theme
  • Tone
  • Symbolism
  • Irony
  • Literary Figures [e.g. imagery, metaphor, ]

Please remember that there is no correct way to interpret a text. Your instructor is interested in your ability to generate an argument, articulate that argument, and support it up with sufficient, relevant examples from the literary text and outside, scholarly sources.

Steps to Writing a Successful Literary Analysis

  • *This process is detailed more thoroughly in Essay #1 Planning
  • Plan Essay #1.
  • Draft Essay #1.
  • Submit Essay #1 to Smarthinking 24/7 Tutoring Services [optional].
  • Revise Essay #1.
  • Submit Essay #1.

Assignment Details

  • Word Count: 400 – 500 words
  • Scholarly sources required: One outside source from the IRSC Library Databases
    • Outside sources from websites, general Google search, WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.
    • To earn credit for your scholarly source, you MUST

Quote, paraphrase, or summarize the scholarly source.

Use the quote sandwich method to properly integrate the source.

Include an in-text citation wherever you use information that is not common knowledge or is not your original idea or words.

Include an accurate MLA Works Cited entry for the scholarly source on your Works Cited page.

  • Other source required: your chosen literary
    • While you are expected to quote, paraphrase, and summarize the literary text you have chosen, IT DOES NOT COUNT as a scholarly source.
    • Include accurate in-text citations wherever you quote, paraphrase, or summarize the literary
    • Remember to include an accurate MLA Works Cited entry from your chosen literary text on your Works Cited page.
  • In-text citations in accurate MLA formatting wherever
  • Works Cited page in accurate MLA
    • The Works Cited page is NOT INCLUDED in the 400–500 word
  • Rhetorical Situation:
    • Audience: Classmates
    • Purpose: To persuade
    • Tone: Conversational
    • Formality: Semi-Formal
    • Language:

No contractions. Expand all contractions to two words, e.g., don’t to do not. No second person [you/your/you’re].

No first person [I/we/our]. No slang.

No text abbreviations. No emojis.

Use proper punctuation. Do not expect the word-processing program to autocorrect your punctuation.

Use standard capitalization. Do not expect the word-processing program to autocorrect the capitalization of proper nouns, important words in titles, etc.

How you will be evaluated:

  • Please consult the Literary Analysis Rubric posted on Blackboard for

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