Choose one of the works in this unit (listed below) and write a two page literary response essay citing examples from the story.


Question Description

A literary analysis presents a reader’s interpretation to a literary work, usually by focusing on a specific literary aspect of the work and connecting that device to the meaning. For this essay, you will choose one of the works in this unit and write a 2-3 page literary response essay citing examples from the story.

Essay Basic Requirements:

  • 2-3 pages
  • Typed in MLA format
  • Minimum of 3 quotes from the story/poem
  • In text citations (author's last name and page number after quote) ex. (Hughes 345).

You started your thinking around this essay for the rough draft portfolio in Lesson 8. Now it's time to put your ideas together IN ESSAY FORM! :) (Steps 1-6 were completed on the rough draft assignment submitted in lesson 8.)

Step 1- Choose one:

· “In Another Country”
· “The Chrysanthemums”
· “The Black Ball”
· “Why You Reckon?”
· “Mending Wall”

Step 2: Select an appropriate literary device to examine. Here are some suggestions:

· “In Another Country” – setting, tone, mood
· “The Chrysanthemums” – setting, point of view, symbolism
· “The Black Ball” – irony, point of view, diction, pathos
· “Why, You Reckon?” – setting, characterization or motivation
· “Mending Wall”- aphorisms, symbols, metaphor

Step 3: Determine how this device helps the author to achieve his/her overall message (theme). What is the take-away from this story? What message or lesson is the author trying to share?

Step 4: Highlight and annotate the text for these devices.

You should have a “conversation” with the text in your annotations. Make comments, ask questions, etc. This all makes for an excellent analysis. Remember to identify specific lines from the story/poem that you can use as text evidence in your paper. You will need to include at least 3 quotes in the essay from your chosen short story/poem (primary source). How so these devices helps the author to achieve his/her overall message (theme)?

Step 5: Write a thesis statement.

In “____________”, the author uses (figurative language device/point of view/irony) to show/reveal (author’s message/theme).

Step 6: Outline the structure of the essay.

Your essay should be at least 2 pages. If you need help organizing your essay, use the outline below or the attached shaping sheet document.

Possible Outline for the Literary Analysis Essay:

I. Introduction (ACES)

II. Literary device #1 and connection to theme (ACES)

III. Literary device #2 and connection to theme (ACES)

IV. Literary device #3 and connection to theme (ACES)

V. Secondary source information (article found on library database) (ACES) **EXTRA CREDIT- Optional**

VI. Conclusion (ACES)

VII. Works Cited page

Need help with formatting your essay? Click the link below.

MLA Format

Tutor Answer

School: Boston College




Professors Name
Course Title
Date Submitted
Literary Analysis of "Why You Reckon?" by Langston Hughes
Identifying with a character in a literary work and his intrinsic or extrinsic motivation is
fundamental to understanding the themes. Characterization or motivation is a major literary
aspect in the "Why You Reckon?" by Langston Hughes. This is a short about two African
American men who were poor and living in the street and a white man with money yet so
unhappy. This literary analysis explores how Langston Hughes used characterization to
communicate the key themes in the story. The author characterizes the narrator, the colored
fellow, and Edward the white man helping readers understand their character traits and the
intrinsic and extrinsic motivations to their actions. In “Why, You Reckon,” Langston Hughes
uses characterization to introduce the narrator, his colored fellow, and Edward to the reader and
create an image or character traits and communicate different themes such as wealth and
happiness and poverty.
Hughes uses characterization and motivation to help understand the...

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