Writing About Literature or Literary Analysis First Best Drafts and Process Pieces Some information taken from Writing About Literature by Edgar V. Roberts Two Types of Prompts Literary Analysis – Purpose – to analyze Argument – Purpose – to convince Literary Analysis An analysis of a literary work may discuss – How the various components of an individual work relate to each other – How two separate literary works deal with similar concepts or forms – How concepts and forms in literary works relate to larger aesthetic, political, social, economic, or religious contexts Literary Analysis – Sample Prompt How does Scout’s narration reveal Harper Lee’s attitudes toward the subjects she addresses? Write an essay in which you explore the tone of the novel. Be sure to address theme and other characters in your response. Notice Almost all of the thesis statements reveal that their paper will include a discussion of the RELATIONSHIP between/among more than one literary or figurative device Literary Analysis Character Setting and Mood Plot and Structure Point of View Theme Imagery Metaphor and Simile Symbolism and Allegory Tone Historical context Social, political, economic contexts Ideology Multiple voices Various critical orientations Analyzing Character Traits Characterization – – – – Actions Descriptions Speech and Thoughts What others say about him/her In “The Necklace” Guy de Maupassant uses setting to reflect the character and development of Mathilde Loisel; her changing character may be related to the first apartment, the dream-life mansion rooms, the attic flat, and the public street. Analyzing Setting Setting may be a strong guide to character Setting may be used as an organizing element Setting may serve as a literary symbol Setting may be used to establish mood Setting may be used ironically In “The Cask of Amontillado,” Edgar Allan Poe establishes a mood of horror and repulsion through the following details of setting: descriptions of underground Analyzing Plot and Structure An analysis of plot – analyzing the conflict(s) and its developments Formal structure – exposition, rising action (complication(s)), climax, falling action, and resolution Unique structure Flashback Analyzing Point of View Point of View – speaker, narrator, persona, voice 1st, 2nd, 3rd? Reliable, unreliable? By writing a narrative in the dramatic point of view as the frame of a narrative in the third-person limited omniscient point of view in “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” Ambrose Bierce reveals that it is an individual’s mind, not the actual passage of time, that governs time perception. Analyzing Theme Theme is always expressed in a statement! In Anton Chekhov’s play The Bear, a major theme is that love and desire are powerful enough to overcome even the strongest obstacles. This idea is shown as the force of love conquers commitment to the dead, renunciation of woman kind, unfamiliarity, and anger. Analyzing Imagery In the poem “Cargoes” by John Masefield, positive and lush images as well as negative and stark images create a negative impression of modern commercial life. Analyzing Simile and Metaphor In “Sonnet 30” Shakespeare’s metaphors drawn from the public and business world of law courts, money, and banking create new and fresh ways of seeing friendship. Analyzing Symbol and Allegory What does the object (symbol) represent? In Hawthorne’s allegory “Young Goodman Brown,” the theme that rigid belief destroys even the best human qualities is developed through the symbols of the sunset, the walking stick, and the path. Analyzing Tone Through a rich mixture of situational, cosmic, and dramatic irony in “The Story of an Hour,” Kate Chopin reveals her attitude of disapproval toward marriage. Steps in the Writing Process Prewriting Drafting Revising Editing Publishing Prewriting - Thesis Creation All thesis statements should contain the following: – 1. CLAIM– what claim are you making about the text – 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 – 4. SO WHAT? – Why should we care? Why is your claim important? Must be arguable Prewriting - Thesis Creation Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn is a great American novel. – What’s wrong with this thesis statement? An opinion about the book, not an argument. Prewriting - Thesis Creation In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain develops a contrast between life on the river and life on the shore. – Better? How so? What is still missing? Doesn’t answer the “so what?” What is the point of the contrast? What does the contrast signify? Prewriting - Thesis Creation Through its contrasting river and shore scenes, Twain’s Huckleberry Finn suggests that to find the true expression of American ideals, one must leave ‘civilized’ society and go back to nature. Thesis Reason/Detail/Fact (Division 1) Reason/Detail/Fact (Division 2) Reason/Detail/Fact (Division 3) Subtopics & Supporting examples 1. Subtopics & Supporting examples 1. Subtopics & Supporting examples 1. a. a. a. b. b. b. 2. 2. 2. a. a. a. b. b. b. Drafting Write your body paragraphs first, then your introduction and conclusion The best way to start an essay is to just write freely – you can revise and edit later Drafting - Body Paragraphs Topic Sentence • Identifies what the paragraph is about • Makes a point about the topic • Is focused and specific • Offers an in-depth analysis of the topic sentence and how it supports the thesis Analysis & • Supports the topic sentence with evidence, such Evidence as direct quotes or paraphrased info from text Concluding or Transitional Sentence • Draws the paragraph to a close, or • Leads to the next paragraph Drafting - Topic sentences Thesis – – In “The Cask of Amontillado,” Edgar Allan Poe establishes a mood of horror and repulsion through the following details of setting: descriptions of underground rooms, space, and sound. Topic sentences – – – The most horrific of Poe’s graphic descriptions is the story’s evocation of gloomy and threatening vaults. The rooms not only provoke horror, but are also spatially arranged to complement Montresor’s horrible act of vengeance. Within this interior of death, Poe adds the eeriness of fearsome sound to enhance the mood of horror and repulsion. Drafting - Body Paragraphs At this point, most of your essay should be analysis – avoid too much plot summary Evidence must be chosen wisely – it should directly support the topic Evidence – quotes and paraphrase from the text Each body paragraph needs to be appropriately developed – 8-10 sentences Drafting - Intro Paragraph Should follow a “broad to narrow” approach 1st sentence should not repeat the prompt: OR Ask generic questions: What is a theme? 1st sentence should say something original to grab the reader’s attention Parts of an Introduction 1. Attentiongrabber or opening statement • Grab the reader’s attention and draw him or her into your essay. Avoid old tired ways of starting an essay. • Ex: a question, a definition 2. Overview of topic • This should be broad. This is your first opportunity to introduce your overall topic. Make sure to provide necessary background info. When writing about a work of literature, this is the one place where plot summary is appropriate and should not exceed a few sentences. 3. Bridge • The bridge is where you connect your broad topic to a more specific topic leading into your thesis. This is usually a sentence or two long and helps narrow your focus. This allows your reader to see the logic behind your essay. 4. Thesis • This is necessary in anything you write. It gives the reader a road map or frame to follow your essay. Without a thesis, the paper is disorganized and the reader is lost. It is typically the last sentence of the introduction. Drafting - Conclusion Should restate the thesis in some way. DO NOT SIMPLY REPEAT! Give one-sentence summaries of your divisions. Try to offer a lesson to be learned from the topic of the essay or provide some sort of reallife connection. Leave the reader with some food for thought.