Ritical Analysis Paper Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinburg

In the close reading paper, you selected a short passage and interpreted it. In this final paper you will do a critical literary analysis of a text as a whole. This analysis will identify a theme in the text, articulate a debatable thesis about that theme, and argue that thesis using specific textual evidence and analysis of that evidence. Important: your reading must still be anchored in attentive close reading, but now you will have to connect readings of 2-3 passages over the course of the text.

Successful papers will include a strong (and debatable) thesis, supported by evidence and analysis, and leading to a logical conclusion that is in line with the thesis. Again, no outside research will be allowed for this paper. This paper is meant to show your analytical and critical skills in engaging with literature, not your ability to research.


1. Doni??t summarize! I know the text. The paper is short, so doni??t waste your time on anything other than proving the claim you have set up in your thesis.

2. Quote and analyze exact quotations from the passages. Examine every word. Look them up in the Oxford English Dictionary and see what they denote or connote. Why did the writer choose these specific wordsi??or these specific combinations of wordsi??as opposed to other similar words?

3. Use your close reading handout to get started. What sticks out as significant in the passage?

4. Doni??t go outside the text. Besides the no research rule, I also doni??t want to see vague generalizations about life, the human condition, being, the history of literature, the importance of the text, and so forth. What do the passages say specifically?

5. Be sure your thesis is debatable. Be thoughtful and precise, but also provocative!

6. Have an interesting title that tells me exactly what Ii??m going to be reading. i??Critical Analysis Paperi?? or i??English Paperi?? doesni??t do much for me.