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Writing an Analytical Essay. Writing an Analytical Essay about a Literary Work. Makes an argument: You are arguing that your perspective—an interpretation, judgment, evaluation of the literature—is a valid one. Proves a thesis:

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Writing an Analytical Essay


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    1. Writing an Analytical Essay

    2. Writing an Analytical Essay about a Literary Work • Makes an argument: • You are arguing that your perspective—an interpretation, judgment, evaluation of the literature—is a valid one. • Proves a thesis: • You must have a specific, detailed thesis statement that reveals your perspective, and like any good argument, must be one which is debatable. Taken from http://www.owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/general/gl_lit.html

    3. The Format of an Analytical Essay • Introduction • Body Paragraphs • Conclusion

    4. The Function of an Introduction An introduction: • captures your audience's attention. • gives background on your topic. • develops interest in your topic. • guides your reader to your thesis statement. (Taken from http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/acadwrite/intro.html)

    5. Developing aThesis Statement… A thesis statement must be: • An opinion—not a fact • Significant—worth spending the time developing into an essay • Provable—able to be supported with quotes from the text • Focused onone idea—must be a single idea

    6. …Developing aThesis Statement A thesis statement must be: • Valid/logical—be sure you have interpreted the piece of literature correctly • Clear—your readers should have no doubt what you are proving • Specific—focus on a particular aspect of your topic • A declarative sentence written in the active voice • Usually the last sentence of the introduction.

    7. Writing a Thesis Statement Sample thesis statements: 1) Shakespeare uses character foils to emphasize important qualities in his hero. 2) Fairy tales send young girls the wrong message because in these stories the woman always needs rescuing by the man. 3) The characters of The Great Gatsby distort the American Dream through the means they use to obtain it. Myrtle Wilson, Jay Gatsby, and the Buchanans corrupt the American Dream through the extreme and immoral measures they employ to achieve their goals.

    8. Writing a Thesis Statement What’s wrong with these thesis statements? 1) To Kill a Mockingbird takes place in Maycomb, Alabama. 2) Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a play about a young man who seeks revenge. • Scout changes from a child to a young girl and Jem begins to grow up, too. 4) Harry Potter has the qualities to conquer his enemies and he does and then he goes on to find something else to do.

    9. Deciding How to Prove the Thesis Statement • The thesis statement may include your proofs. OR • The thesis statement may be followed by a sentence which contains your proofs.

    10. Deciding How to Prove the Thesis Statement Thesis statement + proofs in the final sentence of introduction: Shakespeare uses character foils to emphasize important qualities in his hero. To provide a clear picture of the hero, Romeo, Shakespeare effectively uses three different foils, Mercutio, Friar Lawrence, and Tybalt. Thesis statement + proofs in the same sentence: Although John Smith’s and William Bradford’s firsthand accounts of early colonization are similar, they differ significantly in purpose, content, and tone.

    11. The Format of the Introduction • The introduction begins with a broad statement about the main idea. This statement might suggest background or the general category to which the thesis idea belongs. • The next sentences are more specific, moving closer to the actual thesis of the essay. • The final sentence of an introduction often contains a fairly specific version of the main idea; it is the thesis statement. (Adapted from http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/acadwrite/intro.html)

    12. The introductory paragraph must include: • A general statement brief summary of the story • The title and author of the story • A brief summary of the story • A clear thesis statement

    13. The Introduction (Adapted from http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/acadwrite/intro.html)

    14. Writing the Introduction • Sentence 1:The general statement • Is a general topic sentence • Introduces the topic of the essay • Captures thereader’s attention through a quote, observation, definition, or anecdote • Sentences 2-4: The summary sentences • Includes the title and author • Brief summary and relevant background information of novel or short story • Sentences 5(-6) • Contains the thesis statement and proofs

    15. Sample Introduction Is hunting really a civilized pastime? This is the question that the author Richard Connell asks as he keeps his readers on the edge of their seats in his famous short story “The Most Dangerous Game.” Connell creates a situation in which a famous hunter becomes another’s man’s prey. When the hunter, Rainsford finds himself marooned on Ship-Trap-Island, he discovers that, as a hobby, the owner of the island hunts men instead of animals. Rainsford must outsmart his opponent in order to stay alive, and so he experiences all the fears that an animal feels when it is hunted. By putting a hunter in the role of prey,Richard Connell demonstrates his belief that hunting is a cruel sport. To illustrate this theme, Connell uses irony and suspense.

    16. Writing the Body Paragraphs Each body paragraph: • Contains a clear topic sentence which identifies the connection between your examples/explanation and your thesis . • Demonstrates that the topic sentence is true by giving evidence. • Includes quotes from the short story or novel to show that you didn’t make up the evidence. • Reminds the reader of the connection between your evidence and the thesis.

    17. Sample Outline of a Four-Paragraph Essay I. Introduction A. Opening sentence(s): B. Brief summary: C. Thesis statement: D. Proofs: • Body Paragraph #1 A. Topic sentence: B. Supporting details: 1. 2. 3. 4. III. Commentary

    18. Sample Outline for a Four-Paragraph Essay III. Body Paragraph #2 A. Topic sentence: B. Supporting details 1. 2. 3. 4. IV. Conclusion A. Topic sentence: B. Restatement or summary of thesis C. Evaluation of topic D. Closing statement

    19. Fairy Tales: Enduring Lessons or Wrong Messages? I. Introduction A. Topic sentence: Fairy tales are some of the oldest and time-honored pieces of literature in the world. B. Brief summary: 1. Found in almost every culture. 2. Read by or to young children. 3. Simple stories—easy to remember 4. Children impressed by moral or lesson. C. Thesis statement: Fairy tales send young girls the wrong message because in these stories the woman always needs rescuing by the man. D. Proofs: Popular fairy tales that demonstrate this theme are Cinderella and Snow White

    20. Fairy Tales: Enduring Lessons or Wrong Messages? • Body Paragraph #1 A. Topic sentence: Poor Cinderella is a helpless victim of her cruel stepmother and stepsisters until the prince arrives to take her away. B. Supporting details: 1. 2. 3. 4.

    21. Fairy Tales: Enduring Lessons or Wrong Messages? • Body Paragraph #2 A. Topic sentence: Snow White, hated for her beauty by her own mother, is poisoned and made comatose until a handsome prince falls in love with her and breaks the spell. B. Supporting details: 1. 2. 3. 4.

    22. Fairy Tales: Enduring Lessons or Wrong Messages? IV. Conclusion A. Topic sentence: B. Restatement or summary of thesis C. Evaluation of topic D. Closing statement

    23. Resources Maplewood Writing Center http://www.kcmetro.cc.mo.us/maplewoods/writeplace/MWHandoutsIndex.html Concepts of Critical Analysis http://www.kcmetro.cc.mo.us/maplewoods/writeplace/CriticalAnalysis.html Writing a Thesis Statement http://www.kcmetro.cc.mo.us/maplewoods/writeplace/thesisstatement.html http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/acadwrite/thesistatement.html Writing Effective Introductions http://www.kcmetro.cc.mo.us/maplewoods/writeplace/writingintros.html http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/acadwrite/intro.html Writing Effective Conclusions http://www.kcmetro.cc.mo.us/maplewoods/writeplace/conclusions.html Evaluating a Paragraph http://www.kcmetro.cc.mo.us/maplewoods/writeplace/EvaluatingParagraph.htm