Jim Shepard’s “The Zero Meter Diving Team”

Jim Shepard’s “The Zero Meter Diving Team”

The purpose of this assignment is to synthesize your understanding of a successful cause-effect essay with your understanding of analyzing elements of a short story by focusing on writing a strong thesis and clearly organized outline. In the previous assignment, you wrote a thesis for a cause-effect essay. For the current assignment, you will write an outline supporting that thesis for a planned essay, but you will not actually write the full essay itself. Instead, concentrate on the planning stage of writing a cause-effect essay.

read “The Zero Meter Diving Team”

  1. Identify as many images as you can.
    • Are they all visual?
    • Do you hear any aural or feel any tactile imagery?
    • Do you see any patterns of images or repeated images?
  2. Evaluate the effects these images have.
    • How do they contribute to the story and its meanings?
  3. Write a cause-effect thesis statement that identifies at least one pattern of images in the story as a cause and identifies several interesting effects (or results) in terms of literary elements (see 4.1).
  4. Put your thesis statement at the top of your response.
    • Sample thesis: In “The Zero Meter Diving Team,” Shepard uses repeated images of fire (or radioactivity, or rivers, or dry mouths, or animals, etc.) to evoke a tone of…, and to suggest a character who…, and to support one theme that….
  5. Skip a few lines after your thesis and start your outline.
    • You should have at least five main sections:
      • Introduction
        • including your thesis, which identifies one pattern of images and previews at least three effects on literary elements (tone, character, conflict, theme, etc.)
      • Body paragraph one
        • specific imagery, citation, and effect on tone, for example

        Body paragraph two

        • specific imagery, citation, and effect on character, for example

        Body paragraph three

        • specific imagery, citation, and effect on theme, for example
      • Conclusion
    • In the outline, represent each body paragraph with a claim in the form of a topic sentence.
    • In the outline, make note of the evidence from the story that you would use to support your claims. Cite at least one direct quotation from the story in each body paragraph. Make sure to write this and cite this accurately with MLA in-text citations.
  6. Write an MLA formatted Work Cited entry for the story.


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