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English 102 (Writing About Literature) Research Guide: Jenna Bohn - Short Story Essay

Use this guide to find articles about authors and their works! We also have tips for citing sources in MLA style.


The assignment:

  • Select 2 short stories we read for this module and analyze the presence of a common theme.
  • You need 2 outside sources total: one literary criticism article for each short story

Quick links:

  • For in-text citations and works cited list: MLA guides
  • For questions: chat with us or e-mail us at

Using Short Stories for Students

Short Stories for Students overviews are really helpful for this assignment! They include:

  • A brief summary of the story
  • Section highlighting themes in the story
  • Historical and cultural context of the story
  • Literary criticism (usually 2-3 articles), located in the 2nd half of the overview

Here's how to find and cite one of the literary criticism articles in Short Stories for Students:

  1. Look up your story
    Screenshot of Short stories for students
  2. Scroll past the Critical Overview section, and find the first article, listed under a critic's name
    Screenshot showing literary criticism
  3. Grab the automatically generated citation
    screenshot of citation button
    Hicks, Jennifer. "The Story of an Hour." Short Stories for Students, edited by Kathleen Wilson, vol. 2, Gale, 1997, pp. 263-277. Gale eBooks,
  5. Remember to remove the access date ("Accessed 2 Jan. 2023), since MLA does not need that part
  6. Have any questions? Ask a librarian, we're here to help!

Sherman Alexie

"What You Pawn I Will Redeem"

Keyword ideas:

  • Native American culture
  • Native Americans in popular culture
  • Colonialism
  • Homelessness
  • Stereotypes
  • Redemption

Kate Chopin

"The Story of an Hour"

Keyword ideas:

  • Freedom
  • Repression
  • Marriage
  • Gender roles
  • Man-woman relationships in 19th century


Start here

Literature articles

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

"The Yellow Wallpaper"

Keyword ideas:

  • Gender roles
  • Sexism or repression
  • Man-woman relationships in the 19th century
  • Mental illness in women
  • Confinement and escape

Toni Cade Bambara

"The Lesson"

Keyword ideas:

  • Income inequality
  • Racial inequality
  • Childhood
  • War on Poverty / Great Society
  • Black Arts Movement