Literary Analysis of Short Story

Analysis: Write a literary analysis essay over one of the texts we have explored. You can write about any of the stories or plays we’ve read Instead of writing a plot summary or trying to cover too much information about the story, you should focus on one literary element in particular to analyze, such as characters, themes, symbols, or setting.

• You must choose one text we have read (“The Paper Menagerie”)
• Your essay needs to have its own unique and specific thesis
• Carefully follow the guidelines for quoting and citing sources in MLA Format
• Use the present tense consistently when talking about literature
• Use MLA-style formatting and an MLA works cited page

“The Paper Menagerie”

Write an essay centering on the symbolic and metaphorical significance of origami in this story. Why is origami so important to Jack’s mother? Where did she learn it from? Why does she start making Jack paper animals when he’s a little boy? What culturally significant rituals do Jack and his mother perform with the paper animals? Why does Jack come to reject the paper animals and ask his dad for Star Wars action figures? What is significant culturally about Jack rejecting the paper animals and embracing the Star Wars action figures? Lastly, discuss the magical realism in the story. Is the mother’s magic real? Do these animals actually get up and move around? If not, how do you explain Liu’s depiction of these animals, particularly Laohu, as moving and interacting with Jack? If they’re not literally moving, how do we interpret their movement? What is animating them? And is there any hope at the end, after Jack reads his mother’s letter and carries Laohu home with him, purring

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