First Best Draft

Report
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

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Character
Setting and Mood
Plot and Structure
Point of View
Theme
Imagery
Metaphor and Simile
Symbolism and Allegory
Tone

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Historical context
Social, political, economic
contexts
Ideology
Multiple voices
Various critical
orientations
Analyzing Character

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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
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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
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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.
–
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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 –
–
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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
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Drafting - Intro Paragraph
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Should follow a “broad to narrow” approach
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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

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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.

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