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“Owls” by Mary Oliver. A closer look so we can really “see the cow” during the AP test!. We are looking at RHETORIC! That means you’re analyzing the “how”.

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owls by mary oliver

“Owls”by Mary Oliver

A closer look so we can really “see the cow” during the AP test!

we are looking at rhetoric that means you re analyzing the how
We are looking at RHETORIC! That means you’re analyzing the “how”
  • Many of you struggled with this piece, not because you didn’t understand it, but because you forgot that we are looking at what a writer DOES NOT what a writer MEANS. Yes, we need to figure out purpose, but in this case the purpose was given to you. Your job was to talk about the author’s style – so let’s see what you can do when we take a second look at this piece.
  • Who wrote this piece? (I know but when some of you call her Mary and others call her a him...I get concerned)
  • What is this piece? (yes, once again you must call it what it is and not a story, article, or editorial)
  • Create a rhetorical triangle for this piece. No, you won’t be able to fill in all the pieces of the puzzle but what you do know you MUST address somewhere in your intro!
you must take time to read and understand the prompt
You MUST take time to read and understand the prompt
  • What does the prompt ask you to do? Write it word for word!
  • As you are reading you are looking at the author’s STYLE so keep that in mind. If you don’t know what STYLE entails then you didn’t (AP) answer the prompt.
the great horned owl
The Great Horned Owl
  • What does Oliver think about the Great Horned Owl? Remember that her view is complex so she probably has mixed feelings. How do you know this? Cite evidence (that means words (diction) and quotes) that convey this.
  • If you say she “loves” the owl you must back it up with evidence from the text. That means you pull diction, imagery, figurative language, etc. If you only find one word that proves she “loves” the owl you’d better re-think your hypothesis.
quotes must be followed with explanation
Quotes must be followed with explanation!
  • Now that you have “evidence” from the text as well as a claim – write some good commentary.
  • Example – If you said that Oliver is frightened of the owl and you have pulled words that convey that, explain WHY Oliver would use them? What type of imagery is she trying to create? for what purpose? How does this help to convey her complex view of nature?
a rose is a rose
A rose is a rose…
  • What does she think about the field of roses? How do you know this? Cite evidence that conveys this.
put it all together
Put it all together
  • Now add meaningful commentary.
  • How might her complex view of nature be presented with these two seemingly “opposite” anecdotes?
  • This is her style!
shifts help you to look at style too
Shifts help you to look at style too!
  • Where are the shifts in this piece? What is their purpose? Remember...shifts do not always occur just because there is a new paragraph.
  • Looking at the number of shifts in this piece, how could you write about author’s style using the shifts to guide your analysis? Explain.
style rhetorical strategies
Style = Rhetorical Strategies
  • Rhetorical strategies are EVERYTHING the author uses to convey his/her purpose. They include (but are not limited to) diction, syntax, imagery, 90/90 terms, detail, symbols, figurative language, etc…
  • What rhetorical strategies do you see used in this piece? You must find at least 4
  • Give concrete examples (quotes) to support what you claim.
  • Why does Oliver use these “strategies”? How do they help to convey her complex response to nature?
now let s look at some other style choices
Now let’s look at some other “style” choices
  • Why does Oliver start off her piece talking about many different owls? (some of you did not read this piece closely, since you wrote that she “imagined the Great Horned Owl on her wrist”) NOT!!!!!
How would you talk about the “style” of the following sentence?

“I’m struck, I’m taken, I’m conquered, I’m washed into it, as though it was a river…”

  • Let’s look at syntax.
  • What do you notice about Oliver’s use of punctuation? Do you notice rhetorical questions, excessive commas, short sentences, long sentences, italics…what else do you see?
  • How do these strategies help to convey her purpose?
be specific sound like you know what you are talking about
Be specific! Sound like you know what you are talking about.
  • When we talk about imagery we are talking about the 5 senses. Be more detailed in your exploration of those senses. Don’t just say “the author uses imagery” say “the author uses auditory imagery” and then follow up with examples.