Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Analyzing Issues in Literature

•In “Hills Like White Elephants” where are the two characters?
•In “About Men” give one example of how a real cowboy does not match the popular idea of a cowboy.
•In “Abortion” name one of the possible causes in the decrease of the abortion rate since 2000.
•What is one characteristic of a critical thinker?

What is the Issue?
•The author of a work may want to explore other issues through his/her work
•Fiction doesn’t explicitly state issue or the message about that issue.
•It is up to the reader to identify the issue.
•Where can the issue be found? In the TEXT

Where is the evidence?

•In works such as argumentative essays, the evidence will be clearly presented (Ex. P. 22-28 Thinking Critically)
•In literature, the evidence is not clear, so the reader must draw out from the writing the evidence that indicates the what the issue is and what is being stated about that issue

From Thinking to Writing

•Once you have determined the issue being explored in a work and what is being stated about that issue, you must plan how you will write about the work.
•There are several approaches to writing about literature, but all will involve some argumentation

Argumentation—A Quick Review

•The basic form of argumentation is to make a claim and support that claim with evidence.
•The claim you make will be what you believe an author is stating through his or her work.
•The evidence you use to support your claim will be quotes, paraphrases, or summaries from the text or texts you are writing about.
•Once you have stated the evidence, you must go in depth to explain why that specific evidence led you to your claim


•Direct quote—taking the exact words from a text and incorporating them into your essay within quotation marks. Quotes must appear EXACTLY as the original
•Paraphrase—restatement of a section of text in your own words, keeping the order and emphasis the same as the author’s. You will use about the same amount of words as the original.
•Summary—using your own words to condense and state the general idea of a passage of a work. For fiction, you may be asked for a plot summary

•A plot summary is: A description of the arrangement of the action
•If you are asked to create a plot summary, you will write a description of the history, or chronological order, of the action as it would have appeared in reality.

Signal Phrase and Parenthetical Citation

•Every quote, summary and paraphrase must be introduced by a signal phrase and followed by a parenthetical citation.
•Signal phrase—indicates that you are moving from your ideas or words to another’s. A signal phrase usually includes the author’s name and is followed by a comma (form may vary according to context). Ex: As James Joyce writes, “…”
•Parenthetical Citation—Following borrowed material, you must state the author’s last name and page number of where that material appears in parentheses. Ex: As James Joyce writes, “…” (Joyce 29).
Note: you may leave the author’s last name out of the parenthetical citation if you have mentioned it in the signal phrase.

Putting it All Together

•Claim: Joyce explores the sexual awakening of a young boy in “Araby”
•Evidence: “I did not know whether I would ever speak to her or not or, if I spoke to her, how I could tell her of my confused adoration. But my body was like a harp and her words and gestures were like fingers running upon the wires” (Joyce 31).

Incorporating Evidence and Commentary

In James Joyce’s “Araby” the sexual awakening of boyhood is explored through the young narrator who obsesses over the sister of one of his friends. He watches her from afar while his obsession steadily grows into a form of love and sexual feelings. These feelings become apparent when Joyce writes, “I did not know whether I would ever speak to her or not or, if I spoke to her, how I could tell her of my confused adoration. But my body was like a harp and her words and gestures were like fingers running upon the wires” (31). This passage indicates the unavoidable monopolization that the first love and sexual attraction have on a pre-pubescent child. Any contact he has with Mangan’s sister feeds his obsession, like the subject of any young boy’s fantasies.


•Use one or more particular cases, or examples, to illustrate or explain a general point or abstract concept.
•Use to explain and clarify, add interest, or to persuade
•Your general statement will be your claim, and you will derive your examples to support your claim from the works we have read

Exemplification Topics

•Find several examples within the text of “Araby” that indicate that James Joyce addresses male sexual awakening through the story.
•What is the decision being made in “Hills Like White Elephants? How does the girl feel about this decision? Find several examples in the text to support your thesis

•In “The Things They Carried,” find several occurrences in the text in which O’Brien lists tangible and intangible items together. Why would he choose to list them together?
•Find several biblical references in “Sweat.” Discuss the relevance of each to the overall theme of the story.

No comments: