Comparative Analysis exploratory paper 1 from The Golden Age of Fairy Tales
Select two or more stories within a single chapter of the Zipes text and examine various components through comparative analysis. Develop a narrowly-defined argumentative thesis related to a comparison of aspects (authority, parental figures, fear, abandonment, etc.), components (keys, knives, apples, blood, amputation, etc.), or themes (identity, survival, tradition/ceremony) of the works we have read thus far.
You must also consider one area of literary criticism (Moral Criticism, Formalism, New Criticism, Neo-Aristotelian Criticism, Psychoanalytic Criticism, Jungian Criticism, Marxist Criticism, Reader-Response Criticism, Structuralism/Semiotics, Post-Structuralism/Deconstruction, New Historicism, Feminist Criticism, Gender/Queer Studies, and Critical Race Theory) to include as one of your sources for paper 1. This is the lens you will consider as part of your exploration of your argument. You can go to the Purdue Owl https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/722/1/ for more information about these individual forms of literary criticism if you like. The LibGuide on our home page of Canvas can help you locate literary criticism papers to help build evidence toward your argument. Searching for literary criticism by entering the title of the fairy tale(s) and a specific area of criticism will help you see how others have analyzed our stories through very specific lenses. Use at least one literary critical view point as evidence for your argument.
Sample thesis statements:
Versions of “Hansel and Gretel” reveal flawed parental figures transformed into morally superior animal characters invoking a more compassionate parenting tradition from society. (Moral Criticism)
Several accounts of the story of “Hansel and Gretel” represent the socio-economic lower class being abused/abandoned by the upper class symbolically through the dysfunctional identities revealed in its parent-child relationship. (Marxist Criticism)
Various adaptations of “Hansel and Gretel” reveal gender specific problem solving skills for survival in order to identify acceptable and valued gender roles. (Post-structural, Feminist, Gender theory criticism)
3-5 sources including literary criticism; 4-6 pages not including images or works cited page(s)
Your introductory paragraph should do two things: introduce your reader to your topic and present your thesis. It is important to distinguish in your mind between your topic — what you will write about (say, gender roles in Bluebeard) — and your thesis — what you will argue or attempt to prove in relation to your topic. A thesis may be defined as an interpretation that you set forth in specific terms and propose to defend or demonstrate by reasoned argumentation and literary analysis. Your thesis, then, is the position that you are attempting to persuade your reader to accept. A thesis is NOT a statement in which you simply point out the obvious; for example, “Antigone is a strong woman who stands by her convictions and won’t give in to authority.” A thesis needs to be ARGUABLE, and the more arguable the better. For more on Developing a Thesis, see the Purdue Owl https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/616/2/
For body paragraphs, begin with topic sentences. When you introduce sources, tell your reasoning for your choices and reveal credibility. Do not just retell similarities and differences. Focus on each paragraph proving your thesis which introduces the sources you chose as evidence.
You have composed a series of hypothesis or guiding questions as part of your group presentations that should help you focus on areas of your topic interest. Here are some common approaches to consider when developing your argument:
•A discussion of the works’ characters: are they realistic, symbolic, historically-based?
•A comparison/contrast of the choices different authors or characters make in a work
•A reading of an aspect of the works based on an outside philosophical perspective (Ex. how would a Freudian read Hamlet?)
•A study of the sources or historical events that occasioned particular works
•An analysis of a specific image occurring in several works (Ex. use of moon imagery in certain stories)
•A “deconstruction” of a particular work (Ex. unfolding an underlying racist worldview in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness)
•A comparative study of the social, political, or economic context in which the works were written — how does the context influence each work?
Important factors to include throughout your paper:
Give your paper a creative, interesting title.
Always analyze literature in the present tense. Because you are interpreting a given piece of literature in the present rather than summarizing what “happened” in it, you should always stick to the present tense when interpreting. Literature, indeed, although written in the past, is still happening as you read and discuss it, right? Historical background and biographical information should be discussed in the past tense, but when writing about the literary text itself, stick to the present, which will almost force you to interpret rather than summarize.
Combine paraphrase, summary, and quotation with your own interpretation, weaving quotations smoothly into your paper.
When citing, MLA endnotes using last name and page number(s) is required along with a Works Cited page.
Avoid unnecessary plot summary. Your goal is to argue a thesis and to support that argument with pertinent details from the work itself (to include brief summaries of key plot details as well as direct quotations). When plot development supports a point you want to make, then a very brief summary is acceptable. But plot summary alone is NO substitute for analysis.
When including direct quotations, please remember that it is your job to properly introduce the quotation (where does it occur in the general story, who is speaking?, etc.) and to also explain, IN DETAIL, why you think the quotation is important in relation to the point you are arguing at that moment in your essay. Be brave, and spend some time analyzing the actual language of the quotation.
A paper that merely re-hashes ideas we have discussed in class, without adding anything new to the conversation, will not be looked upon favorably. The key is to go further than we went in class.
Italicize titles of books, websites, and journals; place quotation marks around titles of individual tales within larger anthologies or books and around titles of online or scholarly articles within larger online sites or larger journals.
Avoid use of first and second person pronouns.
Use active verbs. Avoid passive, state-of-being verbs (is, are, was, were, be, been, being).
Avoid use of slang, casual/colloquial language, and contractions (for example, use cannot instead of can’t, use it is instead of it’s)
Four, complete, paragraphed text-filled pages is the minimally acceptable length. Papers not reaching the bottom of the fourth page with text will not be evaluated and will be given zeroes for both mechanics and content. Get to page five without images and without the works cited page.
This is an exploratory paper where you are presenting beginning analytic, research skills. Be careful to not take on too many sources that could confuse your reader and muddle your analysis. Use only what you need to prove your argument.