Essay #2: Characterization in Short Fiction

Choose from one of the following prompts to compose Essay #2. Refer back to the links posted in the Essay #1 assignment, as those resources will apply for this essay as well  (two embedded quotes per body paragraph to support your argument). You should use the three “monster stories” we read this week to write Essay #2. 


  1.  Write an essay comparing how any two characters in these stories understand and cope (or not) with their deviation from the human norm and considering what each gains or loses as a result. 
  2. . Write an essay comparing the conflicts experienced by the families in “Lusus Naturae” and “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves”. Though readers might not approve of the way some of these characters ultimately choose to resolve those conflicts, how and why might the stories encourage readers to view these characters at least somewhat sympathetically? 
  3.  Both the protogonist of Atwood’s “Lusus Naturae” and Mirabella in “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves”. could be described as scapegoats, which simply means a person or group of people whom a community harshly punishes, casts out, or even kills in the hope of preserving its own unity, purity, and strength. Why are these aforementioned characters singled out? What do the other characters in each story hope to gain by treating the “monsters” as they do? Write an essay in which you explore what at least one of these stories suggests about whom society tends to treat as scapegoats, when and why, and what the consequences tend to be. 
  4. Identify and discuss at least three ways that author Jorge Luis Borges attempts to humanize the Minotaur in “The House of Asterion”. You might focus on specific thoughts, fears, insecurities, or circumstances of the Minotaur that is revealed to the reader through the first person point of view presented in the story.  

**Remember to write in MLA format and to include a Works Cited page in MLA format that includes any story you quoted in your essay**


Each essay must contain the following: 

I. Introduction–provide background information into the author, the story itself, or the concept of the characterization. Make sure to mention the title(s) and author(s) of the story(ies) you will be discussing. The last sentence of your introductory paragraph should be your thesis statement: a statement of what your essay will be arguing. 

II. First body paragraph–first main point. Must have two integrated quotes from the text that support your argument, with parenthetical citations. 

III. Seond body paragraph–second main point. Must have two integrated quotes from the text that support your argument, with parenthetical citations. 

IV. Third body paragraph–third main point. Must have two integrated quotes from the text that support your argument, with parenthetical citations. 

V. Conclusion. This paragraph should restate your thesis statement, provide a brief recap of the main points that you covered, and end with a final, closing thought to leave with your reader. 


Remember the Rules to Literary Analysis Writing (see attached slideshow):


1. Do not use the first person. You should only write in the third person when analyzing a literary text. This includes statements such as “I think”, “I believe”, and the dreaded “I will be writing about…” (never talk about your writing in your writing. 

2. Write in the present tense when discussing the literary text. With the exception of any historical background information that you might provide in your introduction, your paper should be written in the present tense. The story you are analyzing is happening now, in the present. Therefore, you would not say “The narrator stated” but rather “The narrator states”

3. Use scholarly language, avoiding slang/informal words and contractions, which are considered shorthand and therefore informal

4.  Your quotations should smoothly flow into your writing as embedded quotations. A quote should not be isolated by itself (again, see the slideshow attached! It will help you a ton!)

5. You must have a works cited page. 

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