Analysis of Ambrose “Bierce’s Civil War Stories”

You can select to write about any story in Civil War Stories, even one we did not read together in class. Given the length of this paper, keep your focus very narrow and formulate an argumentative thesis about a particular aspect of the story. Be sure to avoid descriptive statements such as “Bierce uses the perspective of a young child in ‘Chickamauga.’” Rather, the following alternatives would be more effective: Bierce uses the perspective of a young child in “Chickamauga” because… (fill in the blank with a compelling argument) OR Bierce uses the perspective of a young child in “Chickamauga” in order to demonstrate… (fill in the blank with a compelling argument), OR As a result of using the perspective of a young child in “Chickamauga” Bierce is able to… (fill in the blank with a compelling argument). Be sure the body paragraphs (and there should be more than one!) support the thesis through a close reading of the text, which means that you must quote the story directly (and correctly!) at least four times in your essay. Be sure that your discussion remains focused on your specific argument throughout the course of the essay. Please note that you ARE NOT being asked to use any secondary sources in this essay. You are responding with a close reading of a story based on your ideas. You will use the story itself as evidence to back up your argument. You should end with a conclusion that avoids summarizing your essay. Focus instead on showing the ground covered in your discussion.

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