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Writing a Literary Analysis Essay

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					Writing a Literary Analysis Essay
by Jodi Smith
Plainfield North High School
Go Tigers!!! J
Essay=Persuasion
• The purpose of an essay is
  to prove an argument. This
  means that it is an opinion
  paper supported by
  textual evidence.
• An essay is not a report.
  While an essay uses facts
  from the text, its primary
  purpose is not to inform—it
  is to persuade.
Think of an Essay Like a Courtroom
Drama…
• “Ladies and Gentlemen of
  the Jury, I would like to
  introduce to you
  Huckleberry Finn. He was
  born to an abusive
  alcoholic father. As a
  teenager, he traveled
  down the Mississippi,
  learning much from those
  he encountered.”
As a Member of the Jury…
• How do you know whether
  the attorney wants to
  accuse or exonerate
  Huckleberry Finn?
• You DON’T!
• Why not?
• Because there is no thesis.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the
Jury…
• “…Huckleberry Finn was
  brought up in an environment
  that gave him a twisted sense
  of morality. His father abused
  all around him, and his
  temporary guardians further
  confused him by having a
  double standard by which they
  lived. Nevertheless, through his
  own experience traveling down
  the Mississippi River, Huckleberry
  Finn developed a sense of
  morality that was better formed
  than the respected members of
  his community.”
As a Member of the Jury…
• Do you know what the
  attorney is trying to prove?
• How do you know?
• This assertion—that
  Huckleberry Finn
  developed a better sense
  of morality than most of
  the characters in the novel
  —is the thesis.
But don’t try to collect your fee yet!
There’s still work to do!
• Now that you have decided what position
  you are going to argue, you need to lay out
  the evidence.
• Like any good attorney, you will use the
  words of Huckleberry Finn himself to
  prove your case. (He is your star witness!)
  – You need to choose specific quotations that
    directly support your thesis.
Examples?
• Remember to start at the beginning of the
  novel…your thesis talks about his
  development, so you will need “before”
  and “after” quotations.
Ok, now you’ve got some
evidence…
• What you cannot do is go into court,
  make your opening arguments
  (introduction and thesis), plunk all of your
  evidence on the table, and call it a day. J
   – First, you must introduce your evidence.
     (What events or character development
     surround this quotation?)
   – Then, you must show how your evidence fits
     into the argument you are making. (Connect
     the quotation back to your main point.)
Some things to keep in mind…
• You should have a minimum of three
  subpoints or “subarguments” that support
  your thesis.
• Each “subargument” need to have two
  pieces of evidence (quotations and
  elaboration) attached to it.
  – Think of it this way: if you are trying to
    establish the whereabouts of your client,
    having only one witness hurts your case.
Now you try…
• Choose one of the quotations your
  classmates suggested. Write a paragraph
  that introduces your evidence, states your
  evidence, then explains how your evidence
  supports the thesis.
  – You will be sharing your work with the jury,
    and they will tell you if your introduction and
    explanation of evidence was satisfactory. (10
    min.)
Ok, now you’ve laid out your
evidence…
• …so it’s time for closing
  arguments.
  – As a good attorney, what
    might you say for your
    closing arguments? (Hint,
    hint—volunteer and speak
    extemporaneously! J)
Questions? Ok, let’s review…
• The introduction of the
  paper includes your
  thesis statement and
  therefore suggests to
  your reader where your
  paper is going.
Ah! Now we come to it…
• Your body paragraphs
  then lead your
  audience to your
  conclusion, taking them
  step by step through
  your thought process
  related to the
  evidence.
Review your points and collect
your fee…
• Quickly touch on your
  main points and lead
  your audience back to
  your thesis. By this
  point, your conclusion
  should follow logically.
Don’t forget to bill your client…
• Include a Works Cited
  page!
  – Any time you cite a work,
    you must list the works you
    cited at the end. And of
    course, without citing a work,
    your argument is either weak
    or plagiarized…which may
    result in being disbarred…or
    tarred and feathered. L

				
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posted:7/21/2013
language:English
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