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Mrs. Cavolt’s Guide to Writing a Literary Analysis Essay. Literary Analysis Essay. Table of contents in your writing journal. Literary Analysis 1 Thesis Statements 2

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Literary Analysis Essay


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    1. Mrs. Cavolt’s Guide to Writing a Literary Analysis Essay Literary Analysis Essay

    2. Table of contents in your writing journal • Literary Analysis 1 • Thesis Statements 2 • Topic Sentences 3 • Evidence 4

    3. Literary Analysis Purpose • The goal of a Literary Analysis Essay is to discuss your interpretation of a piece of literature using a specific literary focus (like motifs, themes, humor, characterization, or, in our case, moral ambiguity…)

    4. TO KEEP IN MIND AS YOU WRITE • Never use “I”, “you”, “we”, “our” (even though this is your interpretation, you may not provide opinions) • Always talk about literature in present tense • Do not retell the story in your essay (this is not a book report)

    5. CONTINUED • Paper set-up Intro with thesis 1st Body Paragraph- Elaborates on one morally ambiguous quality 2nd Body Paragraph- Elaborates on another morally ambiguous quality 3rd Body Paragraph- Elaborates on yet another morally ambiguous quality Conclusion All of your Paragraphs must directly connect to your thesis!!!

    6. CHECK FOR UNDERSTANDING • What is a literary analysis essay? What does it do? • What tense does your essay need to be in? • What are some words you may not use in your essay (unless in your quotes)? • How is this literary analysis essay set up?

    7. THESIS STATEMENTS • Thesis statements make an argument that you work to prove throughout your essay. • It is NOT your TITLE (although your TITLE should certainly relate to your THESIS) • It is NOT a statement of fact or opinion (i.e., “Frankenstein is a novel with morally ambiguous characters in it.”)

    8. CONTINUED • Thesis • Throughout Frankenstein,[insert character] is shown to exhibit both good and evil qualities. Mary Shelley’s portrayal of [insert character]as a morally ambiguous character uncovers the significance to the meaning of the work as a whole. • Example: Throughout Frankenstein,the monster is shown to exhibit both good and evil qualities. Mary Shelley’s portrayal of the monster as a morally ambiguous character uncovers the significance to the meaning of the work as a whole. • I am arguing that the monster is a morally ambiguous character and that Shelley’s portrayal of the monster in this way is significant to the novel.

    9. CHECK FOR UNDERSTANDING • What are thesis statements supposed to do/not do in a literary analysis essay?

    10. TOPIC SENTENCES • Topic sentences must directly connect to your thesis statement and work as the reasons that prove your thesis. • What that means is that you must use the same wording in each of your topic sentences as you use in your thesis.

    11. EXAMPLES • Thesis: • Throughout Frankenstein,the monster is shown to exhibit both good and evil qualities. Mary Shelley’s portrayal of the monster as a morally ambiguous character uncovers the significance to the meaning of the work as a whole. • Topic Sentences: • BP #1- The monster is morally ambiguous because he commits violent, evil murders throughout the novel, yet only murders because of the knowledge he has gained through watching society’s behaviors. • BP #2- The monster is also neither good nor evil because he has a good heart and only wishes to be accepted by society, yet he realizes that he will never be accepted and yearns for revenge. • BP#3- Furthermore, the monster is morally ambiguous to the reader because he ends up inadvertently killing Victor by taking him on a “hunt” for him, yet does this simply because he is lonely.

    12. Notice, your topic sentence must show one reason why the character is morally ambiguous. • Therefore, you have to show one trait (good or evil) and another that opposes that trait. This is what makes the character morally ambiguous! • What are some morally ambiguous traits you can think of? • He steals food, yet he only does this because he is hungry. • She likes to gossip, yet she only does this because she is insecure about her self. • Can you think of any others? Pair share.

    13. Topic Sentences • Notice, your topic sentence must show one reason why the character is morally ambiguous. • Therefore, you have to show one trait (good or evil) and another that opposes that trait. This is what makes the character morally ambiguous! • BP #1- The monster is morally ambiguous because he commits violent, evil murders throughout the novel, yet only murders because of the knowledge he has gained through watching society’s behaviors. • BP #2- The monster is also neither good nor evil because he has a good heart and only wishes to be accepted by society, yet he realizes that he will never be accepted and yearns for revenge. • BP#3- Furthermore, the monster is morally ambiguous to the reader because he ends up inadvertently killing Victor by taking him on a “hunt” for him, yet does this simply because he is lonely.

    14. Challenge! (5 min) • Come up with one topic sentence for your essay. • Raise your hand when you are done so I can come over and check it.

    15. Evidence • Evidence must… • directly support your topic sentence and thesis statement (after choosing it, check if it proves your thesis and topic sentence) • prove your argument • be a quote taken directly from the novel (for each paragraph!!!)

    16. Example • T.S. #2- The monster is also neither good nor evil because he has a good heart and only wishes to be accepted by society, yet he realizes that he will never be accepted and yearns for revenge. • Evidence: “I had saved a human being from destruction, and as a recompense I now writhed under the miserable pain of the wound which shattered the flesh and bone[…] I vowed eternal hatred and vengeance to all mankind” (Shelley 143). • Does this evidence support my topic sentence, thesis, and prove my argument?

    17. Continued • Always set your evidence up by providing context for your quote. • Answer the who, what, where, when, and how • After the monster suffered yet another violent encounter from society, he stumbles on a human drowning and after saving her he is shot by another human. He clearly understands that although “[He] had saved a human being from destruction, and as a recompense [he] now writhed under the miserable pain of the wound which shattered the flesh and bone[…] [he] vowed eternal hatred and vengeance to all mankind” (Shelley 143).

    18. What to do with long quotes? • If you have a longer quote and you do not need to include everything OR you are taking a section of a quote OR you need to insert a word, use brackets and ellipses. • “I had saved a human being from destruction, and as a recompense I now writhed under the miserable pain of the wound which shattered the flesh and bone […] I vowed eternal hatred and vengeance to all mankind” (Shelley 143). • “[…] writhed under the miserable pain of the wound which shattered flesh and bone” (Shelley 143). • “I now writhed under the miserable pain [from the gunshot] which shattered flesh and bone” (Shelley 143).

    19. Check for Understanding • What is evidence? • What does the evidence do? • What are the three ways to use brackets?

    20. Table of Contents • Literary Analysis 1 • Thesis Statements 2 • Topic Sentences 3 • Evidence 4 • Parenthetical Citations 5 • Analysis 6 • Effective Intros and Conclusions 7

    21. Parenthetical Citations • Why use parenthetical citations? • Parenthetical citations tell the reader exactly where you found your evidence so the reader could technically find your quote if he/she wishes to do more research or confirm where you found your info. • It is absolutely necessary that you follow the correct format (it is part of the MLA guidelines)

    22. Example • Format for novels only: • “Quote” (Author’s Last Name page number). • “Quote” (Shelley 36). no punctuation here! Quotation marks follow the quote. period goes after the citation no punctuation inside the parenthesis

    23. Continued • When you set a quote into the middle of a sentence, you always cite at the end of the sentence not the end of the quote. • Example: Victor exclaimed, “Beautiful- Great God” when he first looked upon the monster he had created(Shelley 58).

    24. Try for yourself! • Add parenthetical citations to each of your quotes in your outline.

    25. Analysis • Cannot be a summary of the novel or a recap of your evidence. • The goal of analysis is to prove your thesis and topic sentences and show the significance of your evidence. • You need to “dig-deeper” to reveal something new to your audience. • THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT OF YOUR ESSAY- IT SHOULD BE AT LEAST 3-5 SENTECNES AND IT MUST BE WELL THOUGHT OUT!!!!!

    26. Frankenstein Analysis • To discuss for this essay: • Explain how this [evidence] is an example of moral ambiguity (what makes this character neither good nor evil?) • Explain why this [evidence] is significant to the novel (why is it important that Shelley made this character morally ambiguous?). Make sure this directly connects to your evidence, topic sentence and thesis.

    27. Continued… • You want to use/mention as many literary devices as possible to help with your interpretation: • Romantic/Gothic characteristics • Character types • Foil • And/or allusions • Think of ways you can incorporate these into your essay.

    28. Example • The monster is also neither good nor evil because he has a good heart and only wishes to be accepted by society, yet he realizes that he will never be accepted and yearns for revenge. After the monster suffered yet another violent encounter from society, he stumbles on a human drowning and after saving her he is shot by another human. He clearly understands that although “[He] had saved a human being from destruction, [...] as a recompense [he] now writhed under the miserable pain of the wound which shattered the flesh and bone[…][he] vowed eternal hatred and vengeance to all mankind” (Shelley 143). The monster is a dynamic being with a good heart, yet over and over again he is hurt and this time he vows revenge. It is clear that the monster resorts to take out his violent revenge on society only after he has determined once and for all that he will never fit in with other humans because of his hideous appearance. The monster’s moral ambiguity is significant to the novel because the readers sympathize with the monster even after he commits violent murders because the readers know he tried everything in his power to interact kindly with them. Even though he is a monster, Shelley forces the readers to see his good heart in hopes that they will be left to decide who the “real” monster is in the end.

    29. Effective Introductions and Conclusions • Staple handout into your notebook

    30. Table of Contents • Literary Analysis 1 • Thesis Statements 2 • Topic Sentences 3 • Evidence 4 • Parenthetical Citations 5 • Analysis 6 • Effective Intros and Conclusions 7 • Imbedding Quotes 8 • Taboo Words 9 • MLA Format 10

    31. Imbedding Quotes • Your evidence must be imbedded (a part of your sentence) and flow with your sentence rather than be separate from your sentence. • WHAT NOT TO DO: • The monster suffered yet another violent encounter from society, he stumbles on a human drowning and after saving her he is shot by another human. “I had saved a human being from destruction, and as a recompense I now writhed under the miserable pain of the wound which shattered the flesh and bone[…] Ivowed eternal hatred and vengeance to all mankind” (Shelley 143).

    32. There are two types of imbedded quotes: • When a character is speaking • When quote comes from narration • Example (character is speaking): • Victor exclaimed, “Beautiful- Great God”(Shelley 58). • NO “SAID”!!!! Try and find other words to go in place of the dreaded “said”. • stated, exclaimed, demanded, roared, claimed, questioned… (this word should depict the tone of the character) • Example (quote from narration): • He clearly understands that although “[He] had saved a human being from destruction, and as a recompense [he] now writhed under the miserable pain of the wound which shattered the flesh and bone” (Shelley 143).

    33. Taboo Words • Taboo words are words that you want to avoid using in your essay because they are too broad or not formal enough. • Never use the following words or phrases in your essays: • This essay is about • Very • Stuff • Thing • Really • Good • A lot • Slang (“cool”) • Heavily opinionated words (“idiot”) • What else?????

    34. MLA Format Handout • Staple MLA Format sheet into your notebook