Formatting: Your essay should be formatted like the sample essay in the Course Home module. It must have its own title—one that is not the title of the story. The title should not be in quotation marks. I’d also like you to put the number of words in your essay under the title (see the sample essay). I’d prefer that you double-space the paper (1.5 spacing is fine).
Length: Your essay should be at least 600 words.
Introduction and Thesis: Your essay should have an introductory paragraph that orients the reader. The opening paragraph should include the name of the story, the author’s name, a short introduction to the story, and a thesis statement. The thesis statement is usually the last sentence of the first paragraph (see the sample essay).
Identifying the Conflict: In the modern short story, the “conflict” is almost always internal. It is a problem or dilemma facing the main character. The conflict exists in the main character from the beginning of the story. It is not something that happens during the story (see the sample essay).
In your essay, you are expected to identify and describe the “conflict.” Be specific. Say something like, “The conflict in the story is…” It is essential that you name the element and not just describe it. By using the correct terminology, you show mastery of the concept.
Identifying the Complication: The complication is something that happens during the story, an event that forces the main character to face and finally the resolve the conflict.In your essay, you are expected to identify and describe the complication (see the sample essay). Again, be specific. Say something like, “The complication in the story is…”
The Moment of Change: All short stories are about change. In your essay, you are expected to identify the moment of change and explain its significance to the main character (see the sample essay). Be specific. Say something like, “The moment of change in the story is…”
Grammar, Sentence Structure, Usage, and Prose: Take another look at the “Grammar and Usage Guidelines” in the Course Home module. All the rules described there apply to this paper. I look for sentences that are clear and concise. I expect your paper to be free of proofing errors and misspelled words. I hope for graceful and elegant prose. At the very least, I’d like you to run a spell check before you submit your essay.
Appropriate Length: The length of your paper is determined by word count. Every word processing program that I know of has a word count feature. I expect a minimum of six hundred words, but an “A” paper would more likely be eight hundred to a thousand words.
A Note on the Use of Quotations: Please keep quoted text to a minimum. Notice the amount of quoted material in the sample essay and use it as a rough guide. I do not want you to quote long passages at all. I’ve already read the stories; now I want to hear what you have to say about them.
Research: This paper does not require research, but you can employ research if you choose. If you do so, you must use APA guidelines for your citations and bibliography.
Title: Remember that an essay always has its own title (the title of the story should not be the title of your essay).
Plagiarism: It is never acceptable to represent someone else’s words or thoughts as your own. This goes for paraphrasing as well. Don’t do it, because if you do it, I will know, and then I will have to give you a zero on your paper and report you to the dean, and I really, truly do not want to do that.