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Writing Workshop. Response to literature essay: Theme Analysis. Write a multi-paragraph essay. How many paragraphs, you ask? As many as necessary to bring your point across effectively, but it should be a minimum of five paragraphs.

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Writing Workshop


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    1. Writing Workshop Response to literature essay: Theme Analysis

    2. Write a multi-paragraph essay • How many paragraphs, you ask? • As many as necessary to bring your point across effectively, but it should be a minimum of five paragraphs. • Please keep in mind that an “A” quality paper will probably require more than that.

    3. Introductory Paragraph • Creative opening (hook) • Background information about the story that should include the title and the author of the story • Brief summary or synopsis of the story. • Your thesis statement or central idea.

    4. Ideas for Creative Openings • An interesting fact • A meaningful quotation • A universal idea • A rich vivid description of the setting

    5. Examples of creative openings: • “He saw Zebras, hundreds of them, thundering across a grassy plain…” for Adam Zebrin, an ordinary boy, this was a life-changing moment.

    6. The terrifying scenes a soldier experiences on the front probably follow him throughout his life—if he manages to survive the war.

    7. Thesis statement: • The thesis statement or “major thesis” is the central idea of your essay. For this assignment it is a clear statement of the theme. The thesis statement is one sentence, and should be incorporated at the end of the first paragraph.

    8. Example of a theme analysis introductory paragraph: • In the fictional short story Zebra by ChaimPotok, the author describes an accident that radically changes a free-spirited boy’s life. Adam Zebrin loves to run and his spirit soars, until tragedy strikes. It is only with the help of another human being, as damaged as he is, that he is able to crawl out of his misery. The story expresses a clear message that human beings are resilient, and are able to overcome major hardships, especially with the help of others.

    9. Body Paragraphs • Your body paragraphs should include the following elements:

    10. A clear example from the novel or story that demonstrates the theme. (The example can be paraphrased or a quote.) • Commentary/explanation that clearly links the example to the theme. • You should write at least three body paragraphs, with three clear examples of the theme that is revealed through the plot, or through the characters.

    11. Example; • Adam’s accident destroys his optimism. His inner hurt is expressed through unexplained pain in his ruined arm. However, he eventually learns how to use that arm again in order to create art, thanks to the gentle insistence of John Wilson, a Vietnam War survivor. He gradually starts to accept the condition he is in, and to make the most of it. “Zebra drew his hand again. Strange and ugly, the two fingers lay rigid and curled. But astonishingly, it looked like a hand this time.” The drawing represents his acceptance of himself, and new hope.

    12. Concluding Paragraph • Your concluding paragraph should have the following elements:

    13. A restatement of your thesis statement without repeating verbatim. • Your concluding paragraph should provide a “feeing of closure”. You may achieve this in different ways.

    14. Ideas on how to conclude your essay • Reflect on how your essay topic relates to the book as a whole • An evaluation, or opinion about the theme of the book • A personal statement or connection to the topic • A comment on the novel’s significance

    15. Example: • ChaimPotok’s story tells a tale of a boy who overcomes a horrific accident and eventually learns how to accept his new self. John Wilson, his new found friend, is a very important part of his recovery. This story illustrates how people are able to overcome physical and mental hardships with the help of others who may have similar experiences. I believe that in this world we are called to help others in their time of need, and accept a helping hand when needed.

    16. Remember: • Use effective transition words and phrases to tie your ideas. • Do not repeat words or ideas excessively • Weave the narration into your examples • Use quotes sparingly; do not use quotes that are so long they make up the bulk of your paragraph.

    17. Remember: • Revise, revise, revise! Read your essay aloud, and make changes to clarify and improve your writing.