Captains Courageous Literary Analysis Assignment


Captains Courageous Literature Assignments Due Soon

  1. Whole Book Questions Due Sept. 30th
  2.  Short Essay & Venn Diagram Packet Due Oct. 7th
  3. Captains Courageous Take Home Final Due Oct. 7th                                                              –Finish before you write your paper!



Literary Analysis Paper Due October 14th

Freshmen and Sophomores:  Write a 2-3 page Literary Analysis paper.

Juniors and Seniors: Write a 3-5 page Literary Analysis paper

Topic:  Support Rudyard Kipling’s claim that he changed his whole style to “allegorize and parable and metaphor” in order to use Captains Courageous to describe America and to send a message to America (esp. the upcoming generation).  You can use his comments (see below) and your analysis of Captains Courageous in light of the other Kipling or America pieces we’ve read to make your case. (ie. “American Notes”, “The White Man’s Burden” poem, “Recessional” Poem, the online video history clips, etc, but be sure to cite your sources).


Pick one or two aspects of the book that you found particularly interesting, which relate to the America topic, or trace a few of the symbols through the novel, showing your case for why they mean what you think they do and how they help develop Kipling’s underlying theme/message for America.  (You do not have to agree with his message, just try to represent it accurately.  You can include a section in your paper critiquing the truthfulness of his message, but you need to support it with more than just your opinion.)

Look online for how to write a Literary Analysis paper.  This is not the same as a book report. SEE BELOW FOR SPECIFICS.

“Captains Courageous” Introduction by Professor Leonee Ormond

Kipling and the Critics: In December 1897 Rudyard Kipling was in low spirits. The weather was inclement, he had an atrocious cold, and a review of Captains Courageous in the Atlantic Monthly (LXXX Dec 1897, pp 856/7) had left him smarting. The Atlantic critic complained that, although the book achieved `relief from the go-fever and insistence of Kipling’s earlier work, `it is relief procured at the cost of life…. There is an almost incredible lack of significance in parts of it, as if it were a steamer underengined for its length.’ Kipling was startled by the reviewer’s strictures. These were, he said, exactly the qualities which he associated with the United States. Interpreting `relief’ in his own way, Kipling explained his position to an American friend, Charles Eliot Norton: Had I gone about with a lantern to describe America I could not have hit on a more splendid description than `relief at the cost of life’. Relief from the material cares of the Elder Peoples at the cost of what the Elder Peoples mean by life! And again `There is an almost incredible insignificance in parts of it, as if it were a steamer underengined on its length’. Why, hang it! that’s his own very country and in half a dozen words he gets at the nub of the thing I was laboriously painting in C. C.

`For this’, went on Kipling, `did I change my style; and allegorize and parable and metaphor.’ (

`For this’, went on Kipling, `did I change my style; and allegorize and parable and metaphor.’ (

From 2010 Article Titled:

How to Write a Literary Analysis Paper

Literary analysis papers aim to focus your thinking about a text and give a venue through which to express either the journey to an opinion or the validity of the opinion itself.

  1. Difficulty: Moderately Challenging


    Step 1.

    Know the two styles of literary analysis papers. The most common is the thesis-driven paper, which is structured around a central thesis or argument about a text you introduce at the beginning of the paper. In a process paper, you explore how you’re processing a piece of text and arrive at a thesis or argument by the paper’s conclusion. This second approach is really about exploring and interacting with a text. Ask your instructor which approach she prefers or which best suits where you’d like to go with the paper.


    Step 2.

    Brainstorm your ideas and narrow your focus to one element or angle of the text. Begin your research. Some literary analysis papers require secondary sources. Online journals, literary criticism, and other resources can help you acquire additional information. Take notes and always keep track of your sources in MLA or APA format. If you only need to use the text itself, go through the piece again, making notes of where you plan to draw from for textual evidence in your paper.


    Step 3.

    Begin writing your paper. Be sure to present your thesis clearly early on in the paper.  THIS IS CRUCIAL.

    Step 4.

    Keep your writing in a style and voice that feels natural to you. A literary analysis paper doesn’t have to be dry, and you don’t have to sound like you smoke a pipe and wear blazers with elbow patches. However, you shouldn’t use vulgarity of any kind or be overly familiar.



    Step 5

    Assume the reader of your paper has read the text you’re talking about and don’t summarize the plot. Literary analysis isn’t a book report. If you use summary, do it only as a support for your central thesis, and keep it brief. Use literary terminology to help you write effectively about what an author is doing, and keep your paper focused on analysis.

    Step 6

    Keep your quotes accurate and use parenthetical documentation rather than footnotes unless told otherwise. Keep all quotations in line with MLA or APA style.

    Step 7

    Reread your paper several times. At least once, read your paper out loud so that you can hear your mistakes. When you have at least one or two complete drafts of your paper, give it a title. Always give your essay a title that clearly conveys what the paper is about; if it’s catchy too, that’s a bonus.


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