1. BIU English 106
Slide set #3: Oct 23-30
Introduction to Literary Forms and
Critical Writing I
Dr. Daniel Feldman
2. Thesis to Argument
• A good argument demands an opinion
supported by evidence
• Review terms:
3. Constructing a Thesis
Thesis = Main idea
Evidence = Support for that central idea
Thesis + Evidence = Argument
4. A Thesis is an Answer to a
Question or Problem
As you get closer to writing, you can begin to shape
the information you have at hand into a unified,
coherent whole by framing a thesis statement for
your paper: a single sentence that formulates
both your topic and your point of view. In a
sense, the thesis statement is your answer to the
central question or problem you have raised.
Writing this statement will enable you to see
where you are heading. (MLA Handbook)
5. A Thesis is an Answer to a
Question or Problem
A thesis is often one or more of the following:
• The answer to a question you have posed
• The solution for a problem you have
• A statement that takes a position on a
Be sure to take a position with your thesis! You are
entering a debate, not describing it!
6. Thesis Pitfalls
Is your thesis too obvious or factual?
Is your thesis too vague or unfocused?
Is your thesis too narrow?
Is your thesis too broad?
Is your thesis supportable with evidence?
Is your thesis interesting enough that a reader
would want to read an essay about it? How
would you answer, “So what?”
7. Thesis Secrets
• An effective thesis states a central idea that
-requires supporting evidence
-is appropriate in scope for an essay
-is sharply focused
-can be developed in interesting directions
-answers a question you or your
assignment has posed
-takes a stance in a debate
8. A thesis is a position, not a question
• A woman these days is expected and
desires to fulfill many things almost in
every aspect in life – a quite time
consuming plan. How much time do
such ambitions leave for personal
developments like finding a spouse and
starting a family. Is late parenthood a
9. A thesis takes sides in a debate
• The debate concerning whether students who study
in single-sex schools do better or not is rather
controversial and is difficult to assess. Studying with
the opposite sex on the one hand, could be
somewhat distracting and result in diminution in
educational achievements. However, on the other
hand it could rather be a motivating incentive for
students who thrive and do well in a versatile
environment. I strongly believe that there is no one
particular method for estimating student's educational
success in the long term for every person has
different mental structure and will thrive differently
under certain circumstances.
10. Like this
• Today's prevalent use of cars run by fuel is
highly damaging and polluting, either to us as
organisms or to the atmosphere. The
innovative breakthrough in technological
advancement takes form in electric cars
which will substantially reduce the amount of
air pollution caused by cars run by gas.
Therefore, is it crucial to assist the average
citizen in purchasing such cars for the sake of
the existence of the earth in future years.
11. In a thesis, the argument is
stated, not implied
• On whether a course in English should be
compulsory for all Israeli university students.
• “Mastery of English is an important skill that
should be attained by all Israeli students, be
they native English speakers or otherwise.
Our future scientists, artists, engineers,
doctors and lawyers will most likely be
required to express themselves in the English
language, and their ability to convey complex
ideas in the English language will doubtlessly
be beneficial to all.”
• So, should courses be compulsory or not?
12. Literary Analysis
• Analysis is not plot summary
– How does the text signify (create
• What are its methods of constructing plot,
character, narrating voice, imagery, setting, and
• Pay attention to telling details
13. Epiphany: Coming to See
• “Araby” as tale of:
14. Kinds of Critical Questions
• Plot: What conflicts drive the plot? How is the plot
structured? What order or sequence do events take?
• Character: What motivates the protagonists, the central
characters? How are the characters characterized? What
does the text tell us about the characters to inform us about
15. Kinds of Critical Questions
• Setting: How does the setting influence the story? Why is
this story set where it is? Is there symbolic meaning to the
setting that makes it appropriate for this work
• Point of view / narrative voice: In what voice is the story
told? Does the point of view affect our understanding of
• Motifs: Do various symbols or ideas repeat in the work?
Why those motifs or themes?
16. Evidence in Literary Analysis
• Passages, quotations of primary text
• Details paraphrased from the plot,
character, setting, etc.
• Scholarly articles (secondary literature)
regarding the primary text
• Facts about the author, text, and the
publication’s historical period
17. Writing Blurbs 2
There are a thousand thoughts lying
within a man that he does not know till
he takes up a pen to write.
-William Makepeace Thackeray, novelist
19. Dubliners, “Araby”
NORTH RICHMOND STREET, being blind, was
a quiet street except at the hour when the
Christian Brothers' School set the boys free.
An uninhabited house of two storeys stood at
the blind end, detached from its neighbours in
a square ground The other houses of the
street, conscious of decent lives within them,
gazed at one another with brown
imperturbable faces. […]
I was thankful that I could see so little. All my
senses seemed to desire to veil themselves
20. Setting in “Araby”
City as network, city as character
Localized and globalized worlds
– How does setting advance the plot?
21. For Wednesday 6.11
Write a full thesis paragraph for one question from
“Araby” or “An Encounter.”
Complete group assignment
1. Written summary of each argument
2. Oral presentation of argument(s) and thesis
3. Written thesis responding to essay
Read: “Eveline,” “Boarding House,” essay on
grading, all posted online