Algernon paper structure
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  • 1. Response to Literature Essay Writing “Flowers for Algernon” Model
  • 2. Intro. Paragraph with thesis statement* Body Par. #1 Body Par. #2 Body Par. #3 Concluding Paragraph
  • 3. Introductory Paragraph -- Like a funnel, start with a broad connection to the topic and then hone in on your point (thesis). Diagram Start with a “hook.” Mention the title, author and genre (TAG) and add a couple focus sentences that lead to the thesis statement. The thesis statement is a debatable claim or point you wish to prove.
  • 4. INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPH : the first paragraph in your essay. Hook -- a creative beginning, meant to catch your reader’s interest TAG -- an acronym for title, author, and genre of the work Background/Set-up/Brief summary -- provides essential background about the literary work and prepares the reader for your major thesis Thesis Statement -- a sentence in your first paragraph that presents your argument to the reader, usually at the end of the paragraph
  • 5.
    • HOOK: a creative beginning, meant to catch your reader’s interest. Ways of beginning creatively include the following :
    • A startling fact or bit of information
    • 2) A segment of dialogue between two characters
    • 3) A meaningful quotation (from the work or another source)
    • A universal idea
    • 5) A rich, vivid description of the setting
    • 6) An analogy or metaphor
  • 6. Hook examples for “Flowers for Algernon”: “ No pig ever had truer friends, and [Wilbur] realized that friendship is one of the most satisfying things in the world.” -- E. B. White from Charlotte’s Web Eager. Determined. Motivated. These three words describe . . . The power of knowledge is a dangerous thing.
  • 7. More hook examples for “Flowers for Algernon”: “ Even a feeble-minded man wants to be like other men,” writes Charlie Gordon in . . . According to a survey of seven notable professions including fiction writers, scientists, musicians, and soldiers, those with the highest average IQ are philosophers .
  • 8. TAG -- acronym for title, author, genre “ No pig ever had truer friends, and [Wilbur] realized that friendship is one of the most satisfying things in the world” (E. B. White from Charlotte’s Web). Like Wilbur, Charlie Gordon discovers who his true friends are in “Flowers for Algernon,” an award-winning short story by Daniel Keyes. (TGA)
  • 9. TAG -- acronym for title, author, genre Eager. Determined. Motivated. These three words describe Charlie Gordon in Daniel Keyes’s short story “Flowers for Algernon.” (AGT) “ Even a feeble-minded man wants to be like other men,” writes Charlie Gordon in the short story “Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes. (GTA)
  • 10. Background/Set-up/Brief summary -- provides essential background about the literary work and prepares the reader for your major thesis * Keep in mind that your audience (your teacher or classmate) has read the literature; however, they have not analyzed it in the same way you have. * Keep your summary BRIEF! (no more than three sentences)
  • 11. Background/Set-up/Brief summary Example of a set-up: “ The spiritual perfection of man consists in his becoming an intelligent king -- one who knows all that he is capable of learning” (philosopher Moses Maimonides). In the short story “Flowers for Algernon,” the author Daniel Keyes writes about a man with low intelligence named Charlie who strives to become the most intelligent he can be. Charlie wants to be the perfect man who knows all that he can. He will do almost anything including letting two doctors perform brain surgery to enhance his capability of learning. -- student, 8th grade
  • 12. Background/Set-up/Brief summary Example of brief summary: The power of knowledge is a dangerous thing. In the short story “Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes, Charlie Gordon, a mentally retarded thirty-seven-year-old man, is chosen to take part in an experiment to improve his intelligence. Although the operation is a success and Charlie’s IQ rapidly improves, the experiment has an overall negative effect. . . . -- student, 8th grade, RSM
  • 13. THESIS STATEMENT: a sentence in your first paragraph that presents your argument to the reader, usually at the end of the paragraph * Note -- Some thesis statements are explicit, hinting at what the two or three body paragraphs will be about.
  • 14. THESIS STATEMENT Thesis statement: The experiment to increase Charlie’s intelligence was a bad idea. Thesis statement (explicit): The experiment to increase Charlie’s intelligence has an overall negative effect because he loses all his friends and suffers severe depression.
  • 15. Thesis with 3 major reasons Reason #1 discussed in this paragraph Reason #2 discussed in this paragraph Reason #3 discussed in this paragraph Final thoughts Intro. Paragraph with thesis statement* Body Par. #1 Body Par. #2 Body Par. #3 (optional) Concluding Paragraph
  • 16. BODY : the support paragraphs of your essay. These paragraphs contain supporting examples (concrete detail) and analysis/explanation (commentary) for your topic sentences. Each paragraph in the body includes (1) a topic sentence/support thesis, (2) integrated concrete details/examples, (3) commentary/explanation for details/examples, and (4) a concluding sentence.
  • 17. Body Paragraphs - three minimum Begin with a topic sentence which supports the major thesis statement from the introductory paragraph. Be sure to include: Concrete details (quoted passages or paraphrased facts from the story) Commentary -- interpretation/elaboration Concluding sentence -- to sum up or transition to the next paragraph
  • 18. TOPIC SENTENCE: the first sentence of a body paragraph. It identifies one aspect of the major thesis and states a primary reason why the major thesis is true.
  • 19. Because the operation changes his personality, Charlie loses the only people he's ever come to know and love. For example, when Charlie told Mrs. Flynn, his landlady, to call in sick for him, he wrote, "Mrs. Flynn looks at me very funny lately like she's scared of me" (34). Mrs. Flynn knows that Charlie has never missed a day of work for any reason, so she knows that something has been wrong with him. Because of this, she becomes . . .
  • 20. Besides losing all of his friends, Charlie begins to go through depression when his intelligence begins decreasing again. For instance, when Algernon dies and Charlie did a dissection on him, he found that the beloved mouse had died because of complications with his brain, and he wrote, "I guess the same thing is or will be happening to me. Now that it's definite, I don't want it to happen"(48). Charlie knows now . . .
  • 21. TRANSITIONAL/LEAD-IN : phrase or sentence that prepares the reader for a concrete detail by introducing the speaker, setting, and/or situation.
  • 22. CONCRETE DETAIL : a specific example from the work of literature used to provide evidence for your topic sentence/support thesis. Concrete detail can be a combination of paraphrase and direct quotation from the work.
  • 23. Lead-in: when Charlie told Mrs. Flynn, his landlady, to call in sick for him, he wrote, Concrete Detail: "Mrs. Flynn looks at me very funny lately like she's scared of me" (34). Transition: For example, *** QuoParPunc = Quotation Mark, Parentheses, Punctuation T L CD
  • 24. Because the operation changes his personality, Charlie loses the only people he's ever come to know and love. For example, when Charlie told Mrs. Flynn, his landlady, to call in sick for him, he wrote , "Mrs. Flynn looks at me very funny lately like she's scared of me" (34). Mrs. Flynn knows that Charlie has never missed a day of work for any reason, so she knows that something has been wrong with him. Because of this, she becomes scared of him and starts to avoid him, which leaves him even more alone than ever. In addition to losing Mrs. Flynn, Charlie also begins to lose Miss Kinnian, his teacher and the love of his life. When he begins to surpass her with his knowledge, he says, "The thought of leaving her behind makes me sad" (38). Miss Kinnian can no longer teach Charlie anything because he is gaining so much knowledge so quickly. This thought pains Charlie deeply and makes him very upset.
  • 25. T ransition: In addition to losing Mrs. Flynn, L ead-in: Charlie also begins to lose Miss Kinnian, his teacher and the love of his life, when he begins to surpass her with his knowledge. In his journal he says, C oncrete D etail: "The thought of leaving her behind makes me sad" (38). ***QuoParPunc!!! No Naked Quotes!!
  • 26. Because the operation changes his personality, Charlie loses the only people he's ever come to know and love. For example, when Charlie told Mrs. Flynn, his landlady, to call in sick for him, he wrote , "Mrs. Flynn looks at me very funny lately like she's scared of me" (34). Mrs. Flynn knows that Charlie has never missed a day of work for any reason, so she knows that something has been wrong with him. Because of this, she becomes scared of him and starts to avoid him, which leaves him even more alone than ever. In addition to losing Mrs. Flynn, Charlie also begins to lose Miss Kinnian, his teacher and the love of his life. When he begins to surpass her with his knowledge, he says , "The thought of leaving her behind makes me sad" (38). Miss Kinnian can no longer teach Charlie anything because he is gaining so much knowledge so quickly. This thought pains Charlie deeply and makes him very upset.
  • 27. COMMENTARY : your explanation and interpretation of the concrete detail. Commentary tells the reader what the author of the text means or how the concrete detail proves the topic sentence and supports the thesis. Commentary may include interpretation, analysis, argument, insight, and/or reflection.
  • 28. Because the operation changes his personality, Charlie loses the only people he's ever come to know and love. For example, when Charlie told Mrs. Flynn, his landlady, to call in sick for him, he wrote, "Mrs. Flynn looks at me very funny lately like she's scared of me" (34). Mrs. Flynn knows that Charlie has never missed a day of work for any reason, so she knows that something has been wrong with him. Because of this, she becomes scared of him and starts to avoid him, which leaves him even more alone than ever. In addition to losing Mrs. Flynn, Charlie also begins to lose Miss Kinnian, his teacher and the love of his life. When he begins to surpass her with his knowledge, he says, "The thought of leaving her behind makes me sad" (38). Miss Kinnian can no longer teach Charlie anything because he is gaining so much knowledge so quickly. This thought pains Charlie deeply and makes him very upset.
  • 29. TIPS FOR WRITING COMMENTARY These sentence starters put the writer into commentary-mode: This shows . . . This is because . . . This means . . . This reveals . . . This illustrates . . . This highlights the difference between . . .
  • 30. TIPS FOR WRITING COMMENTARY continued: This means the doctors knew all along that the surgery would not be permanent, yet they chose to hide this important fact from Charlie and Miss Kinnian. This shows that the doctors are selfish and unethical in their medical practices; they are willing to risk Charlie ’ s life for personal gain. This illustrates the difference between Miss Kinnian and the doctors. She truly believes the operation will benefit Charlie, and the doctors know it will not. **Note: As you become a more sophisticated writer, you will not need these starter words.
  • 31. CONCLUDING SENTENCE : last sentence of the body paragraph. It concludes the paragraph by tying the concrete details and commentary back to the topic sentence and/or thesis statement.
  • 32. Because the operation changes his personality, Charlie loses the only people he's ever come to know and love. For example, when Charlie told Mrs. Flynn, his landlady, to call in sick for him, he wrote, "Mrs. Flynn looks at me very funny lately like she's scared of me" (34). Mrs. Flynn knows that Charlie has never missed a day of work for any reason, so she knows that something has been wrong with him. Because of this, she becomes scared of him and starts to avoid him, which leaves him even more alone than ever. In addition to losing Mrs. Flynn, Charlie also begins to lose Miss Kinnian, his teacher and the love of his life. When he begins to surpass her with his knowledge, he says, "The thought of leaving her behind makes me sad" (38). Miss Kinnian can no longer teach Charlie anything because he is gaining so much knowledge so quickly. This thought pains Charlie deeply and makes him very upset . As a result of the operation, Charlie unfortunately loses those who were closest to him. -- 8th grade student
  • 33. Suggested Outline for Body Paragraphs: Topic Sentence -- a major reason of support for thesis statement . Body 2/3 have a LINK transition!!! (TS) Transitional/Lead-in to Concrete Detail #1 (TL) Concrete Detail #1 (CD) Commentary for CD#1 (CM) Commentary for CD#1 (CM) Transitional/Lead-in to Concrete Detail #2 Concrete Detail #2 Commentary for CD#2 Commentary for CD#2 Concluding sentence -- summarizes paragraph
  • 34. Suggested Outline for Body Paragraphs: Topic Sentence -- a major reason of support for thesis statement. (TS) Transitional/Lead-in to Concrete Detail #1 (TL) Concrete Detail #1 (CD) Commentary for CD#1 (CM) Commentary for CD#1 (CM) Transitional/Lead-in to Concrete Detail #2 Concrete Detail #2 Commentary for CD#2 Commentary for CD#2 Concluding sentence -- summarizes paragraph
  • 35. Because the operation changes his personality, Charlie loses the only people he's ever come to know and love. For example, when Charlie told Mrs. Flynn, his landlady, to call in sick for him, he wrote, "Mrs. Flynn looks at me very funny lately like she's scared of me" (34). Mrs. Flynn knows that Charlie has never missed a day of work for any reason, so she knows that something has been wrong with him. Because of this, she becomes scared of him and starts to avoid him, which leaves him even more alone than ever. In addition to losing Mrs. Flynn, Charlie also begins to lose Miss Kinnian, his teacher and the love of his life. When he begins to surpass her with his knowledge, he says, "The thought of leaving her behind makes me sad" (38). Miss Kinnian can no longer teach Charlie anything because he is gaining so much knowledge so quickly. This thought pains Charlie deeply and makes him very upset. The same thing is happening to Charlie as Robinson Crusoe now that he has been deserted and abandoned by everyone he's ever known.
  • 36. Concluding Paragraph Concluding transition, Echo your major thesis without repeating words verbatim. Then, broaden from the thesis to answer the “so what?” question for your reader. Reflect on how your topic relates to the book as a whole, give your opinion of the novel’s significance Connect back to your HOOK!!!!!
  • 37. Thesis with 3 major reasons Reason #1 discussed in this paragraph Reason #2 discussed in this paragraph Reason #3 discussed in this paragraph Final thoughts Intro. Paragraph with thesis statement* Body Par. #1 Body Par. #2 Body Par. #3 (optional) Concluding Paragraph
  • 38. Credit: PowerPoint by Anita Mattos; April, 2006 Based in part on: Poway Unified School District “A Guide to the Literary-Analysis Essay” which was based in part on: Cobb County’s “A Guide to the Research Paper,” Upland High School’s “Student Writer’s Handbook,” and the MLA Handbook for Writer’s of Research Papers .