English literature | English homework help


Choose one of the stories listed on our syllabus. The essay is to be based on your analysis of the story – not the view of other critics. You may NOT use secondary sources for this assignment. You have two choices listed below for this assignment: 

Option 1: Dynamic Character

Write about a protagonist who is dynamic, who undergoes growth or change, in one of the stories we have read. Some of the stories we have read show characters who do not grow, so you have to choose a story in which there is some change in the main character.  Your essay must show a clear contrast between the traits of the character before the change and the traits after the change. You may include a discussion of incidents or issues that cause the change, or you may show how the change reveals the author’s theme. HINT: Your paper might be set up as a comparison/contrast.

Two useful sites about dynamic character:



Option 2: Setting

Write about the use of setting in one of the stories we have read. Remember that setting is more than the place; it is also the time in which a story takes place.  Would “The Story of an Hour” work in the present day?  Would “Everyday Use” have the same meaning if it were set in the North today?  Present the details of the setting and analyze how the author makes use of the setting to reveal character, to structure the action, to create atmosphere, to highlight irony,or to underscore the ideas of the story.

Two useful sites about setting:



Technical Specifications

Your paper must have a clear thesis supported by thoughtful analysis and evidence (including quoted evidence) from the story. It should be 2-4 pages long (at least 2 pages / no more than 4 pages—not including the work cited entry).


WoW 48-54 – “Critical Thinking:  Reading, Questioning, Writing”– (Don’t let the poetry example throw you off.) will be useful in writing this paper.

Follow the handouts I have posted on MLA format and conventions for writing about literature in the Course Materials folder. I have posted an example short story paper there as well.


See other useful resources in the Writing Resources folder.

Modern Language Format and Work Cited Entry


Although this is not a research paper with sources, at the end of the essay you will still need to list your story as a source on a Work Cited page. This is good practice for the other essays this semester.  It’s not as hard as you think. See the sample essay I have posted for the format and works cited entry.



Your essay will be graded on content, support, unity, coherence, grammar, mechanics, and format. While your ideas are the most important aspect of your paper, those ideas must be presented in a way that enhances, not obscures them. Your writing skills must be on college level. You must follow the prescribed manuscript and MLA formats and rigorously separate your words from the words of the writer.

In short, give your thoughtful opinion (and back it up with reasons and examples, including quotations). The grading rubric is located in the Essay / Research Paper folder. To access it, click Start Here, then Review the Expectations and Grades, then Essay / Research Paper. 

  Kazuo – “A Family Supper”  

  Chopin – “The Story of an Hour” 

Hemmingway – “Hills Like White Elephants” 

 O’Brien – “The Things They Carried

O’Connor – “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” 

 Alexie – “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” 

 – Atwood “Happy Endings” (Aligns with CLO 1-3)

– Walker – “Everyday Use” (Aligns with CLO 1-3)– Bambera – “The Lesson” (Aligns with CLO 1-3)


these are the stories you are suppose to choose from.

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