In my experience, I have not found many writing assignments that help the students practice the literary analysis task. I use this particular writing assignment in my ninth grade English class to demonstrate how to write a proper analysis. Thus, using our literature, I have crafted a PARCC-styled literary analysis task. This task is based on "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" by James Thurber, an article from the New Yorker, and the Ben Stiller film that came out in 2013. The students really enjoy writing this piece and it allows them to practice the skill of evaluating fictional literature, nonfictional articles, and film. This is a skill that they need to practice in context. This activity will take a few days as you will want to follow the process below:
1. Read "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty." It is in our textbooks, but can be easily found as a free text on the web. Complete the attached graphic organizer.
2. Read the article "The Virtues of Daydreaming" as a do now. Highlight, annotate, and complete the attached graphic organizer.
3. Watch clips from the film version of the story. Complete the graphic organizer.
You should be able to get the prep work done in a block. The outlining usually takes a block as well. Finally, I generally have my students write the assignment in class using our laptops. This takes one final block. By the end of the process, the students will truly understand how to write an analytical piece.
With this document, you will receive the writing topic with standards, a graphic organizer that encourages students to analyze all three pieces, an outline for the writing assignment, and a revision checklist.