• Literary Research Paper


The purpose of this paper is to analyze an aspect of your chosen short story (or stories) using at least one of the following types of literary criticism: biographical, historical, gender, Marxist or psychological. (See handout on types of literary criticism for definitions.)  The story (or stories) must be in Backpack Literature. For this analysis, you will 1) assert a definite opinion about the chosen aspect of the story that is rooted in one of the above types of literary criticism, and 2) defend this opinion by supplying pertinent evidence from the story AND evidence from at least 2 valid sources.  Do not use “I” in this more formal literary analysis paper.

Topic Examples:


– The older characters in “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” represent Hemingway’s personal attitudes and fears


– Exaggerated view of equality in “Harrison Bergeron” as commentary about Communism


– a feminist approach to Kate Chopin’s works


– How Virginia Woolf’s creative process and experiences shaped her writing style


– An examination of how characters are affected by social class in “A & P”  (Sammy is poor and the story hints the girls are not)


You will have 3 options for approaching this paper:

1. Choose 1 story to analyze from the list below :

John Updike “A & P”

Edgar Allan Poe “The Tell-Tale Heart”

Virginia Woolf “A Haunted House”

Kate Chopin “The Storm”

Hemingway “Clean Well-Lighted Place”

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. “Harrison Bergeron”

Charlotte Perkins Gilman “The Yellow Wallpaper”

2.Compare/contrast two stories by different authors that share a theme

3.Discuss more than 1 story by the same author (perhaps take a biographical approach in the essay)

  1. Length

    :           This paper should be at least three double-spaced typed pages.  It should

    contain an introduction paragraph ending in a thesis statement, body

    paragraphs that contain evidence from the story to defend the thesis,

    and a conclusion paragraph.


    :          This paper should be in MLA Format. There will be a Works Cited page with the story(s) and all other sources used. This does not count toward the 3-page word count.



    :      At least 2 of your outside sources must come from scholarly databases.