How can I write an analytical essay on "Big Black Good Man" by Richard Wright?

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A successful literary analysis begins with careful close readings of the literary work, in this case, the short story "Big Black Good Man" by Richard Wright (1908-1960), published posthumously in the collection Eight Men (1961). A successful analysis will examine and discuss background information (e.g., historic, social, author biography) and the opinions of critics and scholars. The nugget of a literary analysis essay expresses your own textual analysis and your critical argument expressing your own idea about the story. Your idea must be developed and supported directly from the words of the text, and this text must be clearly presented and soundly explicated.

An example of an idea about the text that might be expanded into a literary analysis is the question of what psychological reaction changed the attitude of the big black good man at the very end of the short story; it is his attitude change that drives the dramatic twist and surprise ending. Understanding and presenting the literary analysis of the man's original attitude and change in attitude will call for examining the text to substantiate the sincerity of his earlier attitude and of his apparent surprise at the fear he had lodged in Olaf's mind. This analysis will also call for examining the character development given to the big black good man to determine what his emotional and cognitive responses, unstated but implied in the text, might have been.

   "Thanks!" Olaf cried after him.
   The black giant paused, turned his vast black head, and flashed a grin.
   "Daddy-O, drop dead," he said and was gone.

Following this type of examination of the text to analyze and understand characterization development, motivation for actions, psychological reactions and any other relevant textual elements, such as setting, tone, mood, etc., will provide the framework for a literary analysis essay examining any question you may develop for "Big Black Good Man."

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