Now you have to indicate the way you will develop your argument. The evidence that you have mentioned in your introduction paragraph should be discussed in the body paragraphs in the order you have mentioned them. Be sure to deal with each piece of evidence in the separate paragraph. Use a topic sentence in each unit and wrap it all up with a nice conclusion. Remember that the concluding sentence should sum the things up and lead the reader to the new piece of evidence that will be discussed in the next paragraph. Do not forget to use the quotes from the short story. That would support your ideas, while you will point out the passages and dialogues that show something important for the plot and the characters.
Do not be afraid to express your own views, be critical and feel free to judge the story. The analysis essay is where the opinions count. Therefore, if you think that the author conveyed the meaning consistently, feel free to say so. However, if the clarity is lacking or the meaning is lost in the places, you should mention that and explain why that is so.
Remember that a short story always includes the hidden message. The writer must decide what exactly this message is. Short stories mostly aim to evoke a certain emotional response on behalf of the reader. Generally, it includes a single main claim that should be identified by the reader. It is important to understand the point that the author of a short story was trying to make. Even if the analyzed story has multiply meanings, readers should choose the one that seems to be the most important and essential.
Like every analysis essay, the short story analysis should end with a conclusion that will restate your thesis statement, and also include a short restatement of the key evidence, as well as provide the sense of a closure. The best way to finalize the essay is to make a certain claim about the main idea of a short story and to suggest the way in which this idea you have discussed relates to some global aspects and themes.
To write a good critical analysis of a short story you first need to understand the question that has been stated in the assignment. Your analysis should be addressed to this question. Once you feel that you understand the main point, read the story again and do not forget to make some notes. After that you should look through all the notes you have made and consider what bonds you can make to the main question you stated. That would help you form your main claim, in other words – the thesis statement. To support your claim, you have to find pieces of evidence in the text of a short story and use them as the quotations in your body paragraphs.
Analyzing a Short Story
Here is an example, using Flannery O'Connor's A Good Man is Hard to Find, on how to go about analyzing a short story. Paper Masters also provides guidelines to other short stories such as:
A critical analysis (sometimes called a critique, critical summary, or book review) is a systematic analysis of an idea, text, or piece of literature that discusses its validity and evaluates its worth. A critical analysis usually includes a summary–a concise restatement of what a text says–and an evaluation–how well it says it. A critical analysis in literature, for example, might examine the style, tone, or rhetorical appeals of a text, while an analysis of a scientific paper might examine the methodology, accuracy, and relevance of the research.
Remember that no matter what format you follow in writing your critical analysis, it should have a thesis statement that establishes your approach to or opinion about the piece. Your thesis statement will not be the same as the original author's thesis statement. For example, say that the original author's thesis statement is “the moon is made of green cheese.” Your own thesis might be “the author's assertion that the moon is made of green cheese is ill-founded and is not supported with adequate evidence.”
In writing an essay that analyzes how elements of fiction convey theme in a short story, use at least these essential elements of fiction: setting, characters, plot (including conflict and resolution), theme and personal appeal. Other elements that may be useful but may be difficult to handle in a short essay are narration/point of view tone, imagery, , motifs, form or storytelling technique. If you choose to include the more difficult elements, be sure to define the elements for your readers.
John Metcalf has been the leading student, scholar, writer and champion of the Canadian short story for more than five decades. As an editor, he has worked with several generations of Canada’s best short fiction writers, from Alice Munro and Norman Levine to Caroline Adderson, Rebecca Rosenblum and Annabel Lyon. In his new critical book, , he sifts and sorts through a lifetime of reading, writing and thinking about the short story in this country, and where it fits within the larger currents of world literature, offering up the most authoritative and important book on the subject to date. Building and expanding on his Century List of the best Canadian short story collections of the last 100 years, offers up a guide not only to what to read, but in a series of far-ranging and personal essays, offers careful and considered instruction on how to read short fiction as well. Essential reading for academics, critics and all students of the form.