You will analyze Franz Kafka’s “In the Penal Colony” and Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”
The first paragraph should grab the reader’s attention with a hook (the hook is entirely optional,
however; you will not lose points for not writing a hook, but it’s a good idea to try it—be creative). You will
then describe the meaning of tradition. By “meaning” I mean your view of what tradition means, not a
dictionary definition of it. You may want to present various aspects of tradition and comment on its helpful
and/or harmful social functions and results.
You’ll then transition into a brief analysis of each story’s commentary on tradition and ritual. Keep your
analyses brief and remember to use broad strokes, general details, especially when discussing the stories’
plot. The specifics will follow in the body of your essay. End your second paragraph with your thesis, which
must answer one of the following questions:
How would you convince the officer from Kafka’s “In the Penal Colony” and
the villagers in “The Lottery” of their outdated and harmful tradition?
How are the deaths at the end of each story a result of blindly following traditional rituals?
¶ 3, 4, 5, as many as needed to reach the essay’s minimum requirement of 4 pages:
The rest of your
paper will support your argument (
, your thesis statement) with clear topic sentences, which you’ll
develop and support with textual evidence. Be apprised: This is an argument essay. The expectation is that
you have a clearly formulated thesis, which you will defend with textual evidence and logical analysis. The
perils of a weak thesis are many, including a protracted summary of the stories without analysis. These
summary-type essays are often a product of a missing/anemic thesis, resulting from questionable pre-
writing practices, especially the all-important brainstorming part.
Conclude by restating your main points in different words. You may also add something
memorable by way of prediction or historical precedent, but do not introduce new topics.
As we transition from our Rhetorical Analysis, try to recall some of the methods of interpretation we
discussed as we prepared for that essay