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Writing a persuasive paper about a short story requires two essential actions. First, write a strong thesis statement relative to the story. Second, prove the thesis with examples from the story explained and analyzed in sufficient depth.
Develop a strong thesis statement about the story by reading it several times. The story is brief enough to skim on a first reading for a basic understanding of the setting, characters (major and minor), and plot. Subsequent readings should aim toward a deeper understanding of the story in terms of its meaning and its themes. Any ambiguities and unique characteristics in the story should also be recognized. With the goal of writing a paper in mind, reading the story about three times is a good benchmark. Yet, the number of readings needed depends on the reader. Some readers are able to gain enough insights to write a paper on a deep, first reading, while others may need to read the story more than three times for a thorough understanding.
After gaining an understanding of the story, begin to write a draft of a thesis statement. In order to write a strong thesis statement, it may help to read what others have written, also known as literary criticism, about the story. However, resist any temptation to merely echo or to only agree with previous ideas. New literary criticism about a story should advance what has already been written about it. The thesis should offer a unique perspective on the story. In order to organize or to brainstorm possible perspectives to offer in the paper, it may help to keep notes or reflections while reading the story.
Based on notes or other insights, prove that the thesis statement is valid relative to previous literary criticism through specific examples and details developed paragraph by paragraph or section by section of the paper. A paper of four pages is fairly brief -- longer than a typical five-paragraph essay but shorter than a standard research paper. As such, an outline may help to develop the ideas and make sure that each paragraph supports the thesis statement. Further, if the thesis statement cannot be developed sufficiently enough to write a paper of the specified length, re-writing may be necessary. Be sure to write a thesis that is neither too broad to cover in four pages nor too brief upon which to expand. The references below provide a head start. Good luck!
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