Here is the basic assignment:
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Analyze a short story of “A&P” BY JOHN UPDIKE. Look for a theme of “permanent and universal value.” That means you should look for something that speaks to you about ideas and events that effect our common humanity. These could be ideas of sibling rivalry, revenge, love, war, identity, racial conflict, the transition into adulthood, work…there are many themes which I think your imagination can identify.
Use an element of fiction as your tool for analysis.
* You can focus on plot: conflict, crisis, resolution and how these reveal a theme
* Or you can focus on a character and his/her motivation for action. (Conflict will figure largely in character development and motivation)
* Setting: how does the setting of a story affect the conflict and/or character development
* Symbols – how do symbols in the story reveal a theme?
Write a brief paragraph about the significance of using another perspective to help you develop your own ideas and come to your own understanding of the story.
Once you have identified a theme and a tool for analysis, you will keep in mind what this means to you. (bear in mind the quotations about the value of literature). What does the story say to you? You will write a concluding paragraph that does not summarize what you wrote, but that leaves the reader with a lasting impression of the significance of what you have analyzed, what you have learned, and what you want the reader to know about this. This is a different kind of conclusion because it requires you to assimilate all of your analysis and apply it to a larger theme.