9 Academic To Kill a mockingbird

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Essay Guidelines
9 ACADEMIC
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
Prompt
 Literary Analysis
 Purpose – to analyze
 How do Harper Lee’s characters in To Kill a
Mockingbird help to reveal her theme?
Thesis Creation
 The last sentence of your introduction should be the
thesis statement.
 All thesis statements should contain the following:


1. TOPIC—what the essay is about
2. DIRECTION—how the essay will be organized
 Ex-literary
analysis, compare/contrast,
cause/effect, argument

3. DIVISIONS—the elements of support
 2-3
divisions
Sample Thesis
 Harper Lee uses the characters of Mrs. Dubose and Boo
Radley to reveal her theme that people are not always as
they seem.




TOPIC— deceptive appearances
DIRECTION— literary analysis
DIVISIONS—1. Mrs. Dubose (body 1)
2. Boo Radley (body 2)
Thesis
Harper Lee uses the characters of Mrs. Dubose and Boo Radley to reveal her theme that people are not always as they seem.


Reason/Detail/Fact
(Division 1)
Reason/Detail/Fact
(Division 2)
How Mrs. Dubose reveals the
theme that people are not always as
they seem
How Boo Radley reveals the theme
that people are not always as they
seem

Reason/Detail/Fact
(Division 3)

Subtopics &
Supporting examples
1. The mean way she treats the
children at first


Subtopics &
Supporting examples
1. All of Maycomb views Boo as a
“malevolent phantom”
Subtopics &
Supporting examples
1.
a.
a.
Quote from page …
a.
Quote from page …
b.
b.
b.
2.
2. She was trying to beat a
morphine addiction
a.
b.
Quote from page …
2. He is really gentle and caring
a.
a. Quote from page …
b.
b.
Body Paragraphs
 Topic Sentence
 Subtopic Sentence 1
Analysis in your own words
 Evidence

 Transition between subtopics
 Subtopic Sentence 2
Analysis in your own words
 Evidence

 Concluding sentence/Transition
Body Paragraphs
 Must begin with a topic sentence.
To begin, Lee uses Mrs. Dubose’s character to illustrate that
people are not always as they seem when she is mean to the
children at first but later shows that she is actually suffering from a
terrible disease.
 Must incorporate your own analysis/explanation of how
the division relates to the topic.
 This is the part where you develop your own ideas
and provide an in-depth discussion of the topic.
 Most of your paragraph should be analysis, not
quotes.
 AVOID TOO MUCH PLOT SUMMARY!
Body Paragraphs
 Topic Sentence

To begin, Lee uses Mrs. Dubose’s character to illustrate that people are not
always as they seem when she is mean to the children at first but later shows that
she is actually suffering from a terrible disease.

Subtopic Sentence 1



First of all, Mrs. Dubose appears to treat the children with little respect
when Lee first introduces her character.
Analysis in your own words
Evidence
 Transition between subtopics
 Subtopic Sentence 2



However, Lee later emphasizes that the only reason Mrs. Dubose acted that
way was because she was ill and suffering from a morphine addiction.
Analysis in your own words
Evidence
 Concluding sentence/Transition

Along with Mrs. Dubose, Harper Lee also uses Boo Radley to stress the
importance of her theme that people are not always as they seem.
Quote Integration
 The quote you are using should be relevant and
illustrate your point.
 All quotes must be
 Introduced
 Skillfully incorporated
 Expanded/explained
 Cited
Introducing and Incorporating a Quote
1. Introduce a quote with a sentence and a
colon.

Scout finally realizes that the unfair verdict is a
result of the unjust prejudices of the people of
Maycomb: “ Tom was a dead man the minute
Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and
screamed” (Lee 323).
Introducing and Incorporating a Quote
2. Use an introductory or explanatory phrase
followed by a comma.

When explaining the confrontation that he has
with Bob Ewell after the trial, Atticus states, “I
destroyed his last shred of credibility at the
trial, if he had any to begin with” (Lee 292).
Introducing and Incorporating a Quote
3. Make the quotation part of your own sentence. This
is what you should be striving for when
incorporating quotes.

In the end, however, Scout comes to the realization
that the people of Maycomb are unjust and that it is
a direct result of the “secret courts of men’s hearts”
that “Atticus had no case” (Lee 241).
If you choose the option above, you may have to change
something in the original text to make the quote fit in your
sentence. To do this place the change in brackets [ ].
Expanding on a Quote
Do’s
Don’t
 expand on how the
 repeat what the quote
quote ties into the
assertion you are
making – go beyond
paraphrasing and
analyze.
 relate your explanation
to your thesis.
says or merely
paraphrase it.
 explain the quote by
saying “this quote
shows.”
 narrate your essay. You
should avoid saying
things like “this quote is
included to prove my
thesis.”
In-text Citations - MLA
 In-text citations go at the end of the
sentence and contain the author’s last name
and page number.
 In
the end, however, Scout comes to the
realization that the people of Maycomb are
unjust and that it is a direct result of the “secret
courts of men’s hearts” that “Atticus had no case”
(Lee 323).
Works Cited
 A Works Cited page will be unnecessary for this
essay because all quotes are from the same book and
no research is involved.
Reminders
 Write in literary present tense
 Be sure to use transition words to smoothly transition







between ideas
Avoid 1st (I, me, my, we, ours, us) and 2nd person pronouns
(you)
DO NOT define literary devices – I am your audience
Avoid weak phrasing/words: a lot, nice, big, sad, very, etc.
DO NOT start a sentence with: I am going to defend this, I
will show examples, That quote shows
Be authoritative – write in a confident voice. Do not use
words or phrases like: It seems, I think or I believe, The
character might be
DO NOT use contractions
Use MLA formatting

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