MLA Style Analysis

Read the attached short story and watch the video.You will write a mini-essay evaluating the two possible outcomes of the short story, “The Lady or the Tiger?”

2. Create an outline. (You do not need to post your outline this week.) Write down an objective list of arguments for BOTH sides (lady and tiger). I recommend creating a “T table” with reasons on one side why the princess might have sent her lover to the lady, and reasons on the other side why she might have sent him to the tiger. (You do not need to submit the outline to me.)

3. Your essay will be organized into the following sections:

a) ONE introductory paragraph (6-10 sentences total):
Open with a hook or lead sentence catching the reader’s attention; then in the next sentence give the title/author/genre of the story; then write 3-4 sentences giving a brief plot summary of the story; finally, conclude with your thesis sentence stating what your essay shows/proves/explores. Your thesis, which can be in two sentences, should be something like this: “This essay investigates whether the princess directs her young lover towards either the lady or the tiger. We conclude that when he opens the door, he’ll find _______________ .”

b) ONE body paragraph on the lady (8-10 sentences):
Your body paragraph here should argue that the princess guides him to the lady. Use major and minor supporting details and direct textual support—that is, quote from the short story.

c) ONE body paragraph on the tiger (8-10 sentences):
Transition to your next body paragraph, which should argue that the princess guides him to the tiger. Same directions as above—again, use major and minor supporting details to make a sound argument (both valid and true) for the tiger.

d) ONE conclusion paragraph (6-10 sentences):
Here summarize your earlier evidence. Close by saying which outcome (lady or tiger) you believe the young lover was led to and why.

4. This literary analysis in MLA style (not APA this time) will be posted to Discussions. Your essay does not need a running head; you do need to add the standard heading in the top left corner of the first page (Name / Prof. Davis / English 100 / Date); below the heading, center your original essay title.

5. The total length will be FOUR paragraphs, as listed in a, b, c, d above.

6. In MLA style, when there is one source and everyone is using it, you need only put the page number at the end of a citation, so the citation would look like this:

  1. Read carefully the essay instructions on the previous page.
  2. You’ll want to read critically “The Lady or the Tiger?” multiple times and annotate the text using the methods we learned earlier in our textbook readings.
  3. You’ll then devise an outline. You do not need to post the outline here.
  4. Again, your essay should be exactly four paragraphs long. The intro and conclusion should be six to ten sentences long; the two body paragraphs should be eight to ten sentences long.
  5. The paragraphs are ordered thus: intro, body paragraph about the lady, transition to body paragraph about the tiger, and conclusion stating your opinion about the fate of the lover.
  6. As we’ve learned throughout the semester, body paragraphs should always be built this way: transition phrase to topic sentence stating main idea of paragraph; major and minor supporting details, including a couple short, relevant quotations (MLA citations); commentary; analysis; conclusion sentence wrapping up the paragraph.
  7. You do not need to reply to your classmates, though you may offer constructive feedback if you wish!
  8. This is a mini-essay posted to a discussion, so you do not need running heads, double spaces, Times New Roman size 12 font, etc. We’re not using Word here. Just type your mini-essay directly into the discussion below, as you would into any other weekly discussion.

Throughout the work week, please review my feedback on your classmates’ discussion posts and on your own. These writing exercises are public because you can learn much from observing others’ writing techniques and revisions. Thank you!


Learning Outcomes: Compose expository essays that have organization, order, unity, coherence, and support. Write an effective thesis statement with supporting topic sentences.

Literary mini-essay rubric
/3 Diction, argumentation, quotations with MLA citations
/3 Organization (intro, thesis, transitions, topic sentences, L and T paragraphs, conclusion)
/4 Grammar, punctuation, spelling, syntax
/10 TOTAL

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