Literary Criticism Essay


The Norton’s Field Guide to Writing: With Readings

Due Dates: DATE ASSIGNED – 26 February 2014




50 NOTE CARDS: 12 MARCH 2014


ROUGH DRAFTS*: 26 and 28 MARCH 2014


*Two copies of your typed rough draft are due before the bell rings.  Do not plan on using the school’s copy machine.  There will invariably be a lengthy line. An electronic copy will be turned in on


**Final copy must be turned in before the bell of the class period of the student regardless of computer problems or recent absences. An electronic copy will be turned in on





Compose a compare and contrast literary researched critique paper. This assignment requires you to use both primary and secondary sources to support your critical analysis of two major works of children’s literature. You will use organizational strategies as an aid to comprehend increasingly difficult content material and interpret information.


Although you must incorporate secondary critical commentary into your essay, the focal point is your own interpretation and evaluation of the primary works that are being compared and analyzed. You should feel free to analyze and evaluate the critical commentary; don’t be afraid to disagree with the critiques— and in turn make your own critical analysis.


Primarily, your task is to present your own literary analysis and to present your own interpretation of a comparison of literature that highlights the two works through: author’s era, author’s life, and author’s work. The final essay needs to show an increased knowledge in understanding and appreciation for the chosen works you are analyzing. The audience for this essay consists of your classmates and me. Be sure your essay contains a clear statement of analysis and critique that makes a central analytical point about the literary works you are discussing, and provide evidence that supports your main analysis.


This is a CCHS Benchmark. Failure to turn in the MLA research paper will result in immediate failure of Honors World Literature.


MLA Format. Typed (12 point font, New times Roman, 1 inch margins, double spaced)

MLA Format (parenthetical documentation and works cited page)


Attendance is crucial. Understand that if you are absent, you are still responsible for what was covered in class. You may need to come in after school for tutoring if you are absent.



You will turn in a hard copy of your paper as well as uploading it to Turn It In.



100 Note cards w/ lines

Binder to hold printed material

Library Card (to a public library)

Optional—flash drive



You will write a compare and contrast literary researched critique essay that is 10 full pages and onto the 11th page. Works Cited could be on page 12. Your paper must prove a comparative thesis statement. In order to prove the thesis, two primary work sources and eight secondary sources need to be used to support the thesis. All sources must be collected properly and documented accurately.


GUIDELINES: 2 Primary Sources and 8 Secondary Sources: Minimum

In compiling information for the research paper, students must be able to collect data from a myriad of different media. You must use 10 outside sources or you will fail to meet the minimum source requirements. The following are the parameters for outside sources:


  1. The primary works you are analyzing
  2. Eight secondary sources (critical commentary/ interpretation about the primary authors/works)

Your essay must include scholarly, academic sources. While Cliff’s Notes, Spark Notes, and other study guides in some cases may provided useful background information, plot summaries and secondary bibliographies, these publications may not be used towards your source requirement. And, as always Wikipedia is not a source. And, no more than two books, articles can be used from the same author.


Lecture notes may be used in your essay, but will not be counted towards your eight secondary sources. Your best option is to use databases provided by the library system, or some other institution whose databases are reliable sources of information.  Internet sources are NOT the same as database sources, and need to be checked for credibility. You will need to turn in 25 sources to Edmodo and must include hardcopies of all final source material cited in your paper.  Sources must clearly labeled and marked. See for help in compiling MLA Works cited pages.


But remember, this assignment is a LITERARY ANALYSIS, not a biography of the writers, a recollection of historical events, or some other tangent that is not relevant to the literature. Make sure sources keep your essay focused and commentary will keep your essay original  and unique.


GUIDELINES: Note cards

50 note cards are needed as quote cards… note cards must include appropriate numbering and:

  1. Direct quotes
  2. Paraphrases
  3. Summaries
  4. Statistics


GUIDELINES: Prewriting Strategies

As with any writing project, you should take some time to organize your thoughts. Here are a few prewriting strategies that focus specifically on analysis.

1. Choose comparisons in your literary works.

2. While researching the facts, focus on details that will connect your author’s era and

author’s life to the author’s work.

3. Analyze the source of information presented for value and reliability.

4. Analyze details to create a critique of your two pieces of literature.


GUIDELINES: Essay Format

Essay can be written in Feature to Feature or Subject to Subject (Block Methods).



The introduction should present the overall analysis of your two authors and works. In academic writing, the introduction most often begins with a general reference to the topic and narrows down to your thesis within four to six sentences. The thesis should be clear, concise, well stated and identifiable. In other words, the reader should have no question about what will be discussed within the paper.


Era (x2)

The sections on era need to be short and concise (one to two paragraphs per era). The era portions need to contain information that are relevant to your overall analysis if your two literary works.


Author’s Life (x2)

The sections of author’s life should also be short and concise (two-four paragraphs per author). This section needs to contain information that helps the reader understand your statements of era and helps support your upcoming analysis and critique.


Literary Critique

The sections of literary critique need to be the majority of your essay. This is also the section for the majority of your research. During your critique section you will need to reinforce your choices from Era and Author’s Life to help bring a parallel structure to analysis. At this point in the essay you will use your primary sources to act as a backbone to your critique of symbolism, color theory, theme, tone, etc.





You must remember that this is your last chance to close your critique of your major literary works. Think of the conclusion as a tie back to your introduction. Don’t just wrap it up—leave the reader with something to think about.


** Format Order

Feature to Feature:

Intro, Era #1, Era #2, Author’s Life #1, Author’s Life #2, Literary Work #1, Literary Work #2, Conclusion


Subject to Subject: (Block):

Intro, Era #1, Author’s Life #1, Literary Work #1, Era #2, Author’s Life #2, Literary Work #2, Conclusion


GUIDELINES: The Critique

One strategy you might consider would be to explicate to a comparison of theme of the literary works.  An essay on theme could include discussion about the characters, setting and symbolism, or any other elements that are particularly relevant to the author’s development of theme.  In discussing each element, you should demonstrate how that element worked to develop the work’s theme.


Do not simply summarize the plot, describe characters or outline the theme.  Remember that this is a critical analysis:  how or why is the plot effective, how do the characters (atmosphere, setting, local color) contribute to the work’s theme, what is the theme and how does the author develop the theme effectively?  These are the kinds of questions you should consider in an analysis.  Keep in mind that the audience is familiar with the work, so you don’t need to include much discussion or summary about the piece itself.  Rather, concentrate and make some critical statement on the element(s) that make the work lively, sad, funny, scary, etc.


Further, this assignment is not meant to be a biography of the writer’s life, an historical, political, social or religious commentary; a forum for current issues or problems; or finally, a summary of the work.  Your goal is to compare and analyze some aspect(s) of the literary works.  All discussion in your analysis must somehow be predicated on the pieces you have selected.



NOTES: Plagiarism

Plagiarism is when a student uses any of the following without documentation:

1.  Another’s wording

2.  Particularly apt term

3.  Paraphrasing another’s argument

4.  Presenting another’s line of thinking



A final checklist for your paper will be distributed before your final essay. Keep your research in order and your binder organized… and you will have the majority of your checklist completed.