OEA PARAGRAPH CHECKLIST
o Makes an interpretive claim
o If applicable, provides an answer to the interpretive question asked
o Can be supported with textual evidence
o Sets up quotes with context from the text (see example paragraph)
o Embeds quotes in analysis (see example paragraph)
o Page numbers are provided for all textual evidence
o Quotes are properly punctuated
Note: When you are setting up a quotation that is a complete sentence, put a colon between
the context and the quote (see example paragraph). If you are setting up quoted dialogue,
use a comma. Example: When Mr. Adam’s tells Old Man Warner that other villages have
given up the lottery, Old Man Warner replies, “Pack of crazy fools!” (4).
o All evidence in the paragraph supports the observation sentence
o All evidence is from the text
o There is enough textual evidence cited to adequately support the observation
o The evidence cited is the BEST available to support the observation
o Textual evidence is seamlessly incorporated into your context and analysis
Note: Never quote a chunk of text and then say “this shows….”. Always reuse the language
of the quote in your analysis.
o Provides an interpretation (Does not just summarize the plot/characters)
o Explains the relevance/significance of evidence to observation (Does not just restate
observation or evidence)
o Doesn’t use personal pronouns (I think, My opinion)
o Doesn’t use qualifying language (may, probably, seems)
o Is a single paragraph (typed, double-spaced) with the first line indented
o Has a proper heading
o Uses proper grammar, usage, mechanics, spelling, etc.
o Has a concluding statement that reminds reader of observation
Sample OEA Paragraph
In Richard Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game”, the author uses the loss of
Rainsford’s pipe to foreshadow his eventual descent into savagery. The story begins with
Rainsford en route to his most recent hunting expedition. After hearing a loud noise in the
darkness, he becomes startled and falls overboard reaching for his pipe: “He lunged for it;
a short, hoarse cry came from his lips as he realized he reached too far and had lost his
balance” (11). At this point Rainsford becomes separated from both the pipe and his
yacht, both of which represent his refinement and sophistication, adjectives synonymous
with civility. Not only does Rainsford literally lose his balance while reaching overboard
for his pipe, he also “lost his balance” (11) in his attempt to survive Zaroff’s game.
During the hunt Rainsford tips the scale of civility and savagery that exists in human
nature and shifts the moral balance inside of him from rational man to primitive beast.
Just as “the blood-warm waters of the Caribbean” (11) envelop Rainsford as he falls from
the yacht and plunges into the dark and wild sea, so does his blood-thirst develop as he
ventures deeper into Zaroff’s jungle. In killing the general, Rainsford finally “reached too
far” (11) and commits the ultimate act of savagery –murder. The loss of Rainsford’s pipe
is a symbolic act that anticipates his fall from the civility of polite society into the realm
of animalistic violence.