Writing About Fiction

Directions: Write a college-level essay that analyzes and evaluates “The Story of an Hour” (in the textbook or under Modules), OR “The Necklace” (located under Modules.)
Prompts (pick one only)

1. For “The Story of an Hour,” how and in what ways does Kate Chopin teach the reader about equal rights and / or about marriage in the 19th century?

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2. For “The Necklace,” how and in what ways does Guy de Maupassant teach the reader about truth OR money and greed in the 19th century?

Quantity: Each paragraph must be between eight to twelve (8 – 12) sentences.

Quotes: You must blend a quote in paragraph two (website), paragraph three (from the story), and paragraph four (from the story.) Your paper will have a minimum of three (3) quotes.

Percentage: Your final percentage MUST be less than twenty percent (20%) or the essay will not be acceptable.

Do not: Use contractions; use pronouns; single space; ignore the rules of the MLA; submit a first draft; forget to proofread; include too much summary; plagiarize. In other words, take this through the writing process.


Paragraph #1 – Include these elements:

a. Exciting hook (not a question) that is one (1) sentence

b. Introduce the author and story by name in one (1) interesting sentence

c. Write two (2) sentences about the author & then transition into the story

d. Summarize the story in five (5) sentences

e. Include a thesis & essay map about the deeper meaning of the story in one or two (1-2) sentences

Paragraph #2 – Devote this paragraph to the author only. It is all biography. Use one of the biographical links under Canvas. Make sure to quote at least one time and carefully cite your information.

Paragraph #3 – This paragraph is about the story itself. How does your writer deliver his / her message? What details or language help you to understand their ideas? You may wish to focus on a technique in the story that you feel helps with the author’s underlying theme or message. (Examples would include symbols, natural imagery, the setting, language and / or dialogue, repetition, or something else.)

Paragraph #4 – This paragraph will continue the argument from paragraph three. Again, you may wish to focus on a technique in the story that you feel helps with the author’s underlying theme or message. It is a good idea to begin with either the word, “Additionally” or “Furthermore.” This will indicate that you are continuing your argument from the previous paragraph.

Paragraph #5 – Wrap it up—without repeating, explain how and why the story your picked is valuable today. You could mention the story one more time, but thereafter “fast-forward” to 2021. How can we learn from this old story? What has not changed in our world? What has changed? Do not repeat what you have already said.

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