Mood in a Short Story
Essay #2: Analysis of Mood in a Short Story
Description: Analyze how the author establishes the mood, or atmosphere, of one of the stories on the syllabus through any four or five of the following rhetorical elements of fiction: diction, syntax, rhythm, alliteration, repetition, setting, imagery, metaphor, dialogue, or other elements approved by the professor. You must use one of the stories that we read for class; however, you may not use “The Story of an Hour.”
Rhetorical Purpose: Your task is to make a convincing argument about the dominant mood of the story you choose and analyze the rhetorical means by which the author establishes that mood. You are writing an expository essay explaining your analysis and close reading of the story to your readers. You will work particularly on using concrete details and evidence in support of a more abstract general argument. You will need to read and re-read the story many times in order to be familiar with story. Do not use Sparknotes or any other literary “guide.”
Audience: Your audience is the rest of the class specifically, and anyone who is reading the story for the first time. You should consider yourself more familiar than your readers with the story, and you are therefore explaining how the story works in order to augment your readers’ understanding of the story. You must be clear, direct, focused, and thorough in the development of your analysis, without being pedantic or condescending to your reader.
Goals: To help you develop critical thinking and close-reading analytical skills; to help you develop your voice as a writer; to help you construct an argumentative thesis statement and develop it with textual evidence and analysis; to give you practice citing primary sources and constructing a Work Cited page.
Format: 3 full pages of text, minimum, with an additional page for your Work Cited. No outside or secondary sources are to be used whatsoever. We will read about and discuss mood and the rhetorical techniques in class. 1” margins on all sides; four-line heading, page numbering and other formatting to conform to MLA guidelines as specified in Writing About Literature. You must provide parenthetical page citations for quotations used in the text of your essay and include a properly formatted Work Cited page conforming to MLA standards.