Sample 603-101 In-class Essay Assignment and Instructions Submitted by Ron Curtis Background

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Sample 603-101 In-class Essay Assignment and Instructions

Submitted by Ron Curtis


Following several weeks of in-class analysis of, and practice work on, short fiction, students complete the in-class analysis essay around week 7 or 8.


  1. Provide students with the essay topics and instructions and have them prepare essay outlines on their chosen topic either in class or at home.

  2. The outlines are submitted to the teacher. Students are told ahead of time that a penalty is applied to their essay if they do not bring in an outline to be reviewed.

  3. Review and comment on outlines, and initial each. Students must bring the reviewed outline to class for the in-class essay and submit it along with the completed essay at the end of the second class.

  4. Students have two classes to complete the essay. The first draft should be completed (or mostly completed) during the first class. The draft is collected at the end of class. The final copy must be completed during the second class.

  5. Students are given exam sheets to use for writing the draft and final copy.

  6. After receiving the graded essay back, students may revise the final copy to improve their essay and increase their grade.

The following hand-outs provided to students appear on the following pages:

  1. Preparing for the In-Class Essay

  2. Topics and Instructions for 750-word, In-class Analytical Essay

  3. Guidelines for Writing An Analytical Essay

  4. Revising the In-Class Essay:



  1. At home, complete your point-form/key words only outline for the in-class essay.

  2. Bring the final outline and initialed in-class outline draft with you to class to assist you in writing this essay. The initialed and final outlines will be collected at the end of class.

IMPORTANT: You are NOT permitted to bring a complete rough draft essay or sentence form outline of the essay. The in class essay MUST be written in class during class time.

A Reminder About Plagiarism: This essay must be your own writing based on our in class analysis of the texts. No use of resource texts is permitted for this essay. You can find very bad essays on these texts on cheat sites. Any use of cheat essays, whether copying of ideas, information or sentences, will be considered plagiarism. This will result in a ZERO grade on the essay and a letter placed in your college file.
In-class Analytical Essay: To be written in-class on ______ and ________. (See the paper copy distributed in class for essay topics and instructions. A copy is also posted on LEA under “Assignments.”

FALL 2008: Introduction to College English: 603-101-31 Value: 25%

This essay is to be written in-class on ____ and _____.
IMPORTANT: You will have the option of revising this essay, but the maximum increase for a revision is 20% over the original grade.
You will write an essay analysing ONE of the following: “A Rose for Emily,” by William Faulkner; “Trifles,” by Susan Glaspell; “Raymond’s Run,” by Toni Cade Bambara; OR “The Five-Forty Eight,” by John Cheever.

1) “A Rose for Emily,” by William Faulkner

Analyse how the theme of isolation— leading to loneliness and insanity— is revealed in this story. Carefully examine the three principal causes of Emily’s isolation: her conflict with her father, her conflict with Homer Barron, and her conflict with the townspeople
2) “Trifles,” by Susan Galspell

Analyse how the theme of gender inequality and abuse of power by men over women is revealed through the conflicts in this play. In your analysis, also explain how Glaspell uses setting and symbolism to contribute to the reader’s comprehension of theme.

3) “Raymond’s Run,” by Toni Cade Bambara

Analyze how the theme of challenging gender stereotypes is revealed through the central character of the story, Squeaky. Examine how character qualities and development, conflict and symbolism help the reader understand this theme.

4) “The Five-Forty Eight” by John Cheever

Analyze how the theme of gender inequity and abuse of power by men over women is revealed through the characters and conflict in this story. In your analysis, also explain how Cheever’s use of setting and description contribute to our understanding of the characters, conflict and theme.

You must write an analytical essay of at least 750 words. Your analysis must focus on one important theme in the text you are analysing, and must include explanation of how specific elements of literature in the text contribute to the reader’s understanding of this theme.


Your introduction could clearly present the title and author of the text you are analysing; the theme you are analysing should be clearly presented in the essay thesis; and the main elements of literature you are analysing should be clearly presented in the preview of main points/method statement. You should also include an appropriate attention-getter (a few sentences preparing the reader for the focus and content of the essay). A brief summary of the text is sometimes used as an appropriate attention getter.
Main Body Paragraphs

Each body paragraph in your essay should analyse one or more elements of literature present in the text, and explain how these elements contribute to the reader’s understanding of the theme through analysis of appropriate details of the text. The main elements that we have discussed in class include: character development, conflict, setting, point-of-view/narrative voice, description, symbolism, metaphor, and irony.


Your conclusion should reemphasize your thesis—the theme you have analysed—the essay’s main points, and draw the essay to a clear closing.

IMPORTANT: You should prepare and bring a point-form/key words only outline to class to assist you in writing this essay. You are permitted to use your course module, outline, dictionary and thesaurus when writing this essay. You should bring all appropriate materials to class with you. The final copy of the essay must be written in pen, be double-spaced, and written on the lined paper provided in-class.
NOTE: You are NOT permitted to bring a rough draft or sentence form outline of the essay.

Evaluation will follow the standard evaluation form for analytical essays - see the “Essay Evaluation” form on LEA under Documents.


  • brainstorm topic and find focus

  • prepare thesis statement

  • organize time

  • decide on main points

  • prepare outline:

    • intro and thesis

    • main ideas (and supporting ideas)

    • conclusion

  • find details from text to support analysis


  • write first draft

  • include a clear THESIS STATEMENT and preview of main ideas in introduction

  • include the author(s) and title(s) of the text(s) being analysed in the introduction or thesis

  • include in each paragraph a TOPIC SENTENCE which gives the main or supporting idea (focus) of the paragraph

  • include sufficient, specific SUPPORTING DETAILS from text to support analysis

  • provide analysis of details and literary elements (relate and explain importance of details to main ideas and thesis)

  • use appropriate terminology: character, development, dialogue, theme, setting, conflict, symbolism, metaphor, imagery, irony, contrast, repetition, narrative voice, word choice, alliteration, assonance, etc.

  • organize a clear sequence of ideas

  • use transition words, phrases or sentences

  • use paraphrase and direct quotations

  • include in-text citations

  • rewrite first draft to improve all of the above


  • check for:

    • clear thesis; main ideas; supporting ideas; details

    • clear analysis of details in relation to main ideas and thesis

    • clear and correct paraphrase and direct quotations

    • in-text citations

    • transitions

    • clear and coherent flow of ideas and details

    • correct length

  • edit for:

    • grammar, punctuation and capitalization, and spelling

    • fragments, comma splices, fused

If you received a grade of less than 70%, then you must revise and correct the whole essay. If you received a grade of 70% or more then you must revise ONE body paragraph.
To revise an essay or paragraph means to improve ALL aspects of the text:

  • improve the CONTENT and ANALYSIS of the text;

  • improve the ORGANIZATION and COHERENCE in the essay or paragraph; and

  • improve the use of CORRECT WRITTEN ENGLISH.

The revision may be typed or hand written but it MUST BE DOUBLE SPACED and correctly formatted.

A complete essay revision may increase the grade by a maximum of 20% over the original grade.
A revised paragraph may increase the essay grade by a maximum of 10% over the original grade.

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