Writing The Analytical Paragraph. What is an Analytical Paragraph?. A paragraph is a written text (roughly 7 – 10 sentences in length) based on the development of a single idea which may stand alone or relate to a larger topic (lengthier essay). Paragraph + Analysis = Analytical Paragraph
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What is an Analytical Paragraph? • A paragraph is a written text (roughly 7 – 10 sentences in length) based on the development of a single idea which may stand alone or relate to a larger topic (lengthier essay). Paragraph + Analysis = Analytical Paragraph (A written text based on the analysis of a subject)
STRUCTURE • Topic Sentence • The Introduction of Evidence • The Evidence • Analysis • Transition • Repeat Steps B - D you should have at least two piece of textual evidence to effectively support your topic sentence • Concluding Sentence
A. TOPIC SENTENCE The topic sentence establishes a guideline for what the paragraph is going to be about. Choose which statement you agree with the most: “John Proctor is a good man.” or “John Proctor is not a good man.” Write your statement in the Topic Sentence blank on Part II of your handout.
INTRODUCTION OF EVIDENCE • Introduce the textual evidence you are going to use by providing context, or a frame of reference, for the quote. • This sentence should be the sentence in which you embed the first piece of textual evidence. • You could include: who is involved in the example/quote, why it happened, what is going on in general, when it all happened (in terms of the story) and/or where it is all taking place
Introduction of Evidence • Provide context for your textual evidence in a way that flows within your paragraph. • For example: In the excerpt from Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, Barbara Ehrenreich goes undercover and takes a minimum wage paying job as a maid, “gloating internally about [her] ability to keep up with, and sometimes outwork, women twenty or thirty years younger than [herself], but it turns out this comparative advantage says less about [her] than it does about them” (114).
EVIDENCE Select direct evidence from the text that supports your assertion in the topic sentence and allows for elaboration (analysis). Tip: Do NOT over-quote. Use only what is needed to make the point. Avoid quotes that simply repeat what you have already said, that are too complex to support one idea or don’t have anything to do with the topic sentence in the first place.
Provide Textual Evidence • On Part II of your handout, fill in the Quote #1 blank by creating one sentence that provides the context for your textual evidence and includes the quote itself. • Don’t forget page numbers!
Example of Quote #1 • Facing death, John Proctor admits his dishonesty stating, “I lied, because I sign myself to lies, because I’m not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang” (211).
ANALYSIS (Commentary) • For each piece of textual evidence, you need to explain (analyze) how the evidence supports your topic sentence. • Your commentary demonstrates your knowledge and understanding of the complexities of the selection. • After the reader reads the commentary, he/she should have a very clear understanding of how you related the textual evidence to the topic sentence. • NEVER SAY: “In this quote…”
Analysis (Commentary) • Use snippets of text from your textual evidence to clarify your analysis. • Instead of saying: As a maid, Ehrenreich felt a sense of pride, but it was insignificant compared to the reality of her younger co-workers. • Say: Ehrenreich felt a sense of pride as she “[gloated] internally” about her ability to “keep up with” and “outwork” the younger maids; however, her pride was overshadowed by a more significant truth about her co-workers.
Quote #1 Analysis • On Part II of your handout, fill in Analysis of Quote #1 by providing two to three sentences of commentary. • Try to use snippets (specific words or phrases) from Quote #1 to clarify your analysis. Do not echo!
TRANSITION • A good analytical paragraph will have at least two solid examples to support the main idea and you can’t just slap another example in after your analysis of the first. Therefore, you must show the connection between the previous example and the one you’re about to provide… • The TRANSITION to the next quote can be a word, phrase or complete sentence.
Transition to Quote #2 • You may use transitions such as: Furthermore… In addition to… Can you think of any other phrases or words that would work as a transition in your analytical paragraph?
Transition to Quote #2 Furthermore, in the heat of an argument with Elizabeth, Proctor regretfully confesses, “a promise a stallion makes to a mare I gave to that girl” (213).
Transition to Quote #2 • On Part II of your handout, fill in the Quote #2 blank by creating a sentence that transitions to your second quote in a way that provides the context of the textual evidence and includes the quote itself. • CIRCLE your transition on your handout.
Analysis (Commentary) • On Part II of your handout, fill in Analysis of Quote #2 using two to three sentences of commentary. • Try to use snippets (specific words or phrases) from Quote #2 to clarify your analysis. Do not echo!
CONCLUDING SENTENCE • Wrap-up your paragraph in one sentence by summarizing the position you took and supported in your paragraph. • Do not simply restate your topic sentence! Example: Based on the experience that Barbara Ehrenreich describes, it is evident that the “American Dream” is no longer accessible to all people and that “hard work” doesn’t always pay off.
Conclude your paragraph • On Part II of your handout, fill in the Concluding Sentence blank with a statement that reiterates your position on John Proctor’s character. • DO NOT restate the topic sentence!
Good job! If you carefully followed the steps in the previous slides, you should have an effective analytical paragraph. Go through this same process to respond to all of the prompts on your semester exam, and you should pass with flying colors!!!