Literary Analysis essay

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Literary Analysis Essay
Reminders
 Never use “I”, “you”, “we”, “our” (even though this is your
interpretation, you may not provide opinions)
 Always talk about literature in present tense
 Do not retell the story in your essay (this is not a book report)
 Incorporate a discussion of as many literary techniques as
possible (if applicable)
 Embed your quotes into your sentence
 After Haroun realizes that his mother has indeed left his father, the
mood of the story changes and the outside “air [becomes] too weepy
for words” (Rushdie 24).
Developing Your Thesis Statement
 Step 1: Look back over the themes we went through at the
beginning of this unit.
 Stories are vital and important. A life without them is meaningless
 Stories are constantly interwoven and reborn
 Stories can be cheapened and polluted through the absence of
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imagination and the insistence that they serve some type of purpose
The mess of democracy is preferable to the “darkness” of
dictatorship
In the end, the world needs both light and darkness
The world is filled with opposites which in the end must be
reconciled
Sticking up for what you believe in defines a person
The relation between the imaginary world and the real world is
complex and important
 Step 2: Look back through Rushdie’s life and
history.
 The background hand-out I gave you at the beginning of
this unit
 Step 3: Skim back over your annotations throughout the
novel
 Do you see any scenes, lines, or parts of the novel that connect to
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any greater themes?
What does Rushdie use (literary devices) to reveal a bigger theme?
What are the most important lines in the novel? Why are they
important in your understanding of the entire novel?
Do you see any scenes that allegorize (represent) Rushdie’s life?
What does Rushdie use (literary devices, descriptions or character
interactions) to reveal to the readers aspects of what he was going
through when writing this novel?
Do you see any warnings Rushdie is trying to give to us?
How does he use magic realism to convey these warnings?
 Step 4: Decide what you want to focus on based off
of what you discovered throughout the novel
 Step 5: Create your unique thesis statement
(remember, a good thesis is made up of three
parts)
 Part 1: A specific element in the text (an event, an
image, a description, a scene, a literary device, etc.)
 Part 2: An active verb (that links Part 1 and Part 3)
 Part 3: The story’s larger theme (the author’s purpose in
writing the story; the story’s meaning)
Example
 Part 1: A specific element in the text (an event, an image, a
description, a scene, a literary device, etc.)
 Part 2: An active verb (that links Part 1 and Part 3)
 Part 3: The story’s larger theme (the author’s purpose in
writing the story; the story’s meaning)
Rushdie utilizes dichotomies throughout the text to
uncover the idea that opposites must exist in order for
there to be balance.
The Land of Chup accurately parallels the oppressive
control over freedom of speech imposed by the Iranian
leader, Ayatollah Khomeini.
Topic Sentences
 Topic sentences must directly connect to your thesis statement and work as
the reasons that prove your thesis.
 You must incorporate words from your thesis statement in each topic
sentence.
 Example:
 Rushdie utilizes dichotomies throughout the text to uncover the idea that
opposites must exist in order for there to be balance.
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For my topic sentences I would choose three instances of dichotomies and tell what
each one reveals.
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Land of the Gup and Chup, light and dark, good and evil, speech and no speech, story,
anti-story, dull and lively, fantasy and reality…
 T.S.- The existence of the shadow warrior captures the dichotomy between the
Gups and the Chups while also revealing the beauty of a possible balance
amongst them.
Evidence
 Without evidence to support your argument (thesis) and
argument points (topic sentences), you have no argument.
 Think about a trial. The thesis of the defense is “he/she is not
guilty”. The topic sentences are reasons proving why he/she is
not guilty. The evidence is DNA samples, testimonies,
forensics which all support the reasons, which ultimately
supports the thesis of “not guilty”.
 Your evidence must directly support your topic sentence
and thesis statement (after choosing it, check if it proves
your thesis and topic sentence)
 Example:
 Thesis: Rushdie utilizes dichotomies throughout the text to
uncover the idea that opposites must exist in order for there to
be balance.
 T.S.: The existence of the shadow warrior captures the
dichotomy between the Gups and the Chups while also revealing
the beauty of a possible balance amongst them.
 Evidence: As Haroun observes the shadow warrior from the land
of Chup he has an epiphany that “the dance of the shadow
warrior had its own grace and beauty (just as speech could be
graceless and ugly); and that Action could be as noble as Words”
(Rushdie 125).
“Chalk Talk”
Analysis
 Can not be a summary of the play or a recap of your
evidence.
 The goal of analysis is to prove your thesis and topic
sentence and show the significance of your evidence.
 You need to “dig-deeper” to reveal something new to your
audience and show how the specific helps reveal the
larger theme. (Think thesis equation)
 THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT OF YOUR
ESSAY- IT SHOULD BE AT LEAST 3-5 SENTECNES AND
IT MUST BE WELL THOUGHT OUT!!!!!
 In an in-class essay format, make sure you have
outlined (in your mind) the points you want to make
about each topic sentence.
 While thinking and writing, as yourself the question
“so what”?
 Why is what I am writing important? How does it help
reveal something significant? Why is it interesting? Why
is it important for readers to understand this?
Example Paragraph
The existence of the shadow warrior captures the dichotomy
between the Gups and the Chups while also revealing the beauty
of a possible balance amongst them. As Haroun observes the
shadow warrior from the land of Chup he has an epiphany that
“the dance of the shadow warrior had its own grace and beauty
(just as speech could be graceless and ugly); and that Action
could be as noble as Words” (Rushdie 125). Before this moment,
Haroun has understood the world in terms of opposites and
dichotomies; either one or the other must exist, but never both
at the same time. This is the first moment Haroun realizes that
the balance created because of these opposites is not only
appealing, but necessary in order for each to exist. Harmony
between the Gups and the Chups will only manifest when each
group learns to embrace their differences. Similarly, harmony
cannot exist in Haroun’s world until he realizes that having an
equal balance of fantasy and reality is essential to living a happy
and fulfilled life.

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