FICTION ESSAY THESIS AND OUTLINE INSTRUCTIONS
In Module/Week 3, you will write a 750-words (about 3 -4-pages) essay that compares and contrasts two stories from the Fiction Unit. Before you begin writing the essay, carefully read the guidelines for developing your paper topic that are given below. Review the Fiction Essay Grading Rubric to see how your submission will be graded. Gather all of your information, plan the direction of your essay, and organize your ideas by developing a one-page thesis statement and outline for your essay. Format the thesis statement and the outline in a single Word document using MLA, APA, or Turabian style (whichever corresponds to your degree program). You have the opportunity to receive helpful instructor feedback if you submit just this thesis and outline by the end of Module/Week 2. The essay is due by the end of Module/Week 3, and should include a title page, thesis statement, and outline, followed by the essay itself.
Guidelines for Developing Your Paper Topic
Chapter 38 in your textbook provides some helpful pointers for reading actively, taking notes, brainstorming, developing a clearly-defined thesis statement, and preparing an outline. Be sure that you have read the chapter before doing any further work for this assignment.
Choose two of the following short stories to compare and contrast in your essay:
The Lottery by Shirley Jackson
The Destructors by Graham Greene
The Rocking-Horse Winner by D.H. Lawrence
Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Child by Tiger by Thomas Wolfe
The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell
Also, make at least one of these elements of fiction the focus of your essay:
Point of View
If you need help focusing your essay, ask yourself questions that correspond to your chosen element(s).
Conflict/Plot/Structure (This is not a summary of the stories)
What are the basic conflicts, and how do these build tension, leading to major complicated incidents and climactic moment(s)?
What are the ways in which each major character experiences conflict (either with self, with other characters, or with the social and/or physical environment)?
How are the conflicts resolved? Do the protagonists succeed in achieving their goals?
Who receives your deepest sympathy and why?
Who are the main characters in the stories?
What are their outstanding qualities? Does the author give any indication as to how or why the character developed these qualities?
What are the characters emotions, attitudes, and behaviors? What do these indicate to the reader about the character?
Can the characters motivations be determined from the text?
Where and when do the stories take place? (Remember to include such details as geographic location, time of year, time period, if the setting is rural or urban, etc.)
Do the settings make the stories believable or credible? How does setting impact the plot of the story, and how would the plot be affected if the story took place in another setting?
Are the characters influenced by their setting? How might they behave if they were in a different setting?
What atmosphere or mood does the setting create? (For example, darkness may create a mood of fear or unhappiness, while light or bright colors may create one of happiness.)
Is the setting or any aspect of it a symbol or does the setting express particular ideas?
Does setting create expectations that are the opposite of what occurs?
What is the major theme (or themes) of each story?
Are the themes of the stories similar or different?
How does the author convey the theme (or themes) to the reader?
How do the stories themes relate to the authors purposes? (Some examples of author purposes are to entertain, to satirize, to realistically portray life’s problems, to analyze emotions and responses, and/or to communicate a moral message.)
What unique style, techniques, or devices do the writers use to communicate their themes?
How would you describe the tone of the piece?
Does the tone correspond with the action occurring in the plot?
What style does the author use? (For example, one way an author might satirize is by including a lot of ironies, hyperbole, and unrealistic scenarios.)
How might the story be different if the tone or style is changed?
Does the writer use irony or symbols to communicate the message?
Fiction Essay Grading Rubric
Structure and Organization
|Clear introduction and strong thesis evident; clear and appropriate transitions; organization emphasizes the central theme and supports the thesis; appropriate paragraphing; logical, strong conclusion rising from content||Generally clear
introduction and focused thesis; generally clear and appropriate transitions; mostly appropriate paragraphing; adequate conclusion – relates to content but lacks objectivity or is vague
|Adequate introduction; unclear thesis; adequate transitions; reader can follow what is being said, but the paper’s overall organization is choppy; adequate paragraphs; conclusion is simplistic or is a repetition of thesis||Weak introduction; lacks a clear thesis; weak transitions; main points can be ascertained, but difficult to follow what is being said; weak and long paragraphing; conclusion repeats introduction||Weak introduction and does not draw reader’s interest; lacks thesis and focus; little or no transitions; organization is disjointed and haphazard; paragraphs are weak; lacks conclusion|
|Assignment parameters (length, subject, objectives) are observed;
focus is clear and coherent (good sense of audience); obvious understanding of subject; orderly development; assertions are clearly supported and/or illustrated
|Assignment parameters (length, subject, objectives) are observed; focus is generally clear and coherent (general sense of audience); good understanding of subject; adequate development; orderly, but stiff, choppy progression of evidence||Assignment parameters (length, subject, objectives) not clearly observed; mostly focused (some sense of audience); thoughts randomly organized and presented; assertions weakly supported and/or illustrated||Inadequate or minimal observance of assignment length, subject and objectives; weakly focused (little sense of audience); unclear progression of ideas; assertions weakly supported and/or illustrated||Inadequate length; objectives of assignment not met; unfocused; little or no sense of audience; serious and persistent errors in organization and structure; lacks understanding of subject; disorganized; does not prove point, if one can be discerned|
Grammar and Mechanics
|Sentence fluency coherent, unified, varied; sentence structure complete; correct spelling, punctuation, capitalization; varied diction, word choices||Sentence fluency correct, varied; Minor errors in structure (fragments, run-ons); correct spelling, punctuation, capitalization; limited diction, word choices||Relatively few errors in sentence fluency; multiple fragments/run-ons, poor spelling, punctuation, and capitalization; limited diction, uses trite words, slang, and contractions||Significant errors in sentence fluency and structure, spelling, punctuation and capitalization; diction weak or inappropriate||Serious and persistent errors in:
|Consists of relevant materials; appropriate depth and length of paper; sources are appropriate to the assignment; number of citations and sources adequate for paper||Generally relevant material to support findings; adequate depth and length of paper; sources mostly appropriate and cited correctly; number of citations and sources adequate for paper||Sources generally appropriate; number of citations and sources minimally adequate for paper||Choice of resources is inadequate||Not enough resources; inappropriate resources|
|Appearance is readable and neat; correct use of APA/Turabian/MLA, margins, font size/ style, pagination, title page; reference page correctly formatted, double-spaced, alphabetized; sources correctly cited||Appearance is readable and neat; most of paper uses correct APA/Turabian/MLA, margins, font size/style, pagination, title page; reference page format generally consistent and alphabetized; sources correctly cited||Readability and neatness of paper are compromised by the number of errors; APA/Turabian/MLA, format is inconsistent and inadequate; reference page is inconsistent and not alphabetized; most sources correctly cited||Disorderliness of paper makes it difficult to read; several format errors; significant errors in reference page; references are not alphabetized; errors in citations||Paper is not readable and is disorderly; APA/Turabian/MLA, format is not used; no reference page and/or numerous format errors; sources not cited or incorrectly cited|