Short Fiction: Thesis Statement/ Short Fiction: First Paragraph



APA Style is more often used for academic writing in the social sciences and business, not literature. Because APA Style is the citation style you will use most often in your course work , however, you will cite all outside sources in this format during your work in ENG112.

Here is a tutorial giving you further practice with APA Style:


Week 1 Preparing to Write About Short Fiction: Thesis Statement Assignmen 1

In Week 2, you will be required to turn in a brief paper (3-4 typed, double-spaced pages) on one of three short stories you have read during Week 1.


Perform these beginning activities:


Part ONE:


Select a work of short fiction from the following list: Packer, “Brownies”; Faulkner, “Barn Burning”; Gillman, “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Carefully re-read the story and make notes on what you think its main idea may be.


 Part TWO:


Using ONE of the following techniques--point of view, character, setting, symbol--write a thesis statement communicating how this technique helps the author of your selected story communicate the main idea of the story.  Use no outside sources beyond the materials presented so far in this course and made available through Moodle or in your textbook. 

Submit your thesis statement for critique by the instructor.



Week 1 Preparing to Write About Short Fiction: First Paragraph Assigment 2

As soon as your instructor has given you feedback on your thesis statement, turn it into a well-written, well-developed paragraph about your topic:

  • In the first one to three sentences of your paragraph, introduce the story you are going to discuss with your reader. Provide the title and the author of the story, the date of publication, and any quick facts about the story. (Remember that this is not a research project, so only use very basic information--for example, you might use information from the textbook's introduction.)
  • In the next three to four sentences of the paragraph, state your thesis: what is the story's main idea? Which literary technique did you find most helpful to you as you read the story--a technique you are sharing with your own readers so that they will better understand the story as well.

NOW you have a well-developed paragraph of around six sentences. This paragraph gives your reader some idea about the story and about your insights. It will serve as a kind of blueprint for your reader as your reader goes further into your paper to benefit from your in-depth analysis of the story.

HINTS for using this paragraph as a starting point as you write the complete paper:

  • Think of the audience for your paper as any well-educated person capable of reading the story--not just the instructor of your course.
  • Think about helping YOUR readers understand the story. Think about helping them benefit from your own insights into the story.
  • DO NOT SUMMARIZE THE PLOT OF THE STORY.  Think of your own readers as people who have already read the story and are eager to learn more about it.  You're the person who will help them do that through your paper. An interested reader who hasn't already read the story will read it for her/himself.


When your instructor has given you feedback on your introductory paragraph, revise it if appropriate. You are now ready to use it as the introduction for a final, polished draft of the whole paper, due in WEEK 2.  If you quote or refer to anything in the textbook or other material posted on Moodle, consult “Using APA Style to Cite a Literary Source,” posted in Course Resources on the home page of this course, and cite the sources appropriately.



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