Critical Lens Essay Overview 2013

English 8 Short Story Thematic-Critical Lens Essay
Throughout our Short Story Unit we experienced and discussed many themes.
Remember that a theme is more than one word. To come up with a theme you need to
draw conclusions about what a text is suggesting or revealing about a given subject. The
following is a list of some subjects that were explored in more than one of our stories.
It is up to you to identify the theme(s) surrounding those subjects.
Start by brainstorming which stories explored each of these subjects:
-Risk Taking
-Traditions/False Comforts
-Taking a Stand
-Assumptions/Jumping to
Due Dates:
1. Rough Draft must be submitted at the end of the period on 1/31/14.
2. Polished (Final) Draft must be submitted to on 02/11/14, by 7PM!
Your Task: Write an essay focusing on a common theme found in TWO (2) short stories
we have read during our Short Story Unit.
The Steps: (place a check mark on each line after you have completed the step)
_____ 1) Choose a subject (from the list on the previous page) that you feel comfortable
with and can discuss in terms of TWO (2) different stories. Then, reflect on how that
subject is handled within the two stories. Identify ONE (1) common theme; your theme
should be written as a statement.
For example: “Cinderella” presents the subject of “greed” through the actions of the
evil stepsisters and stepmother. The story suggests the theme that, “Greedy actions
are self-destructive.”
Take, for another example, “The Three Little Pigs” and the subject of “taking
shortcuts.” Through the actions of the straw-building and twig-building pigs we discover these
themes: “Taking shortcuts can cost you more in the long run,” and “Hard work pays off.”
_____ 2) Look at the “Thematic-Critical Lens Essay Graphic Organizer: Short Story Titles,
Quotes/Authors, & Page Numbers” document (attached) and select ONE (1) critical lens
quote for each of the stories you will discuss in your essay.
You will incorporate these quotes into your essay, so be
sure you understand them and can explain them. You may
choose to pair the quotes with the stories as we have, or
you may choose to mix-and-match the quotes/stories to
better fit your theme.
*Remember, you have already responded to some of these quotes. See your
earlier Critical Lens responses for ideas.
_____ 3) Using your Short Story Packet you will need to find text-based details to
support what you say in your essay. Look for a minimum of THREE (3) text-based details
to support your claims about your theme, stories, and quotes. Your text-based details
need to be directly quoted from the story.
_____ 4) Complete the planning page to help you make clear
decisions about the material you will include in your essay.
_____ 5) Using your planning page, prepare a hand-written rough
draft. Then revise and type your draft; upload your polished
(final) draft to
The Requirements:
 Typed, double-spaced
 Calibri, size 11 font
 2-3 pages in length
 Attention-grabbing
 Adequately introduces theme and stories
 Authors of stories are named
Organization and Development:
 Logical paragraphs contain topic
sentences, details, and transitions
 Three (3) pieces of evidence from each
story (minimum)
 For each story, at least two (2) pieces of
evidence are directly quoted from the story
 Direct quotations have citations -- author’s last name and page number in parenthesis at the end of
each sentence containing a quotation: (Poe 149).
Critical Lens Quotes:
 Body paragraphs incorporate critical lens quotes you chose and text-based details (direct quotes)
from your stories
 Authors of critical lens quotes are named
 Critical lens quotes support your claim
 Agree or disagree with the critical lens quotes
 End with a clear conclusion
 Say something new; do not simply recap the points you already made in the body of your essay.
What have you learned? What new understandings have you come to regarding the theme?
 Proof-read
 Free of errors (grammar usage, spelling, capitalization, punctuation, etc.)