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The Literary Analysis Paper on Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness
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The Literary Analysis Paper on Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness


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    • 1. Writing a Literary Analysis Paper English 116
    • 2. What is a Literary Analysis  It’s literary  It’s an analysis  It’s- An Argument!
    • 3. How is it Literary  Since a literary analysis involves a discussion of a piece of writing we use the term “literary” because it means “having to do with letters.” More importantly, a literary analysis discusses the elements of literature.
    • 4. Key Elements of Literature – – – – – – – – Plot Setting Narration/point of view Characterization Symbol Metaphor Theme Irony/ambiguity
    • 5. What is Analysis?  Analysis is a critical thinking skill that involves breaking something down into its elements and seeing how they work together.
    • 6. How does analysis apply to literature ?  An analysis of a literary work may discuss – – – How the elements (plot, theme, characterization) of an individual work relate to each other How two separate literary works deal with similar elements, concepts and forms How concepts and elements in a literary work relate to larger aesthetic, political, social, economic, or religious concepts
    • 7. Why Argument?  When you write about literature, you make a claim about the work. This is called your thesis. And then, just like a lawyer, you support your claim with evidence. Your evidence comes from the text. The purpose of a response to literature is to persuade your readers that your analysis, your interpretation, of the work is valid, reasonable, and logical.
    • 8. Where do you start? A literary analysis begins with a careful reading of the work. 1. Consider your thoughts and responses as your read. Make notes describing how various parts of the work caused your emotional reactions. 2. Make notes on how characters are developed and on images and ideas that interest you.
    • 9. 3. Try to see patterns developing. What are the conflicts? How are these developed and resolved? How do you respond to the winner or loser? Who gets your sympathy? 4. Mark key passages in the work. Make notes in the margin explaining what makes a passage important.
    • 10. Develop your focus 1. 2. Once you've read the novel closely, look back over your notes for patterns of questions or ideas that interest you. Have most of your questions been about the characters, how they develop or change? When you have some general points to focus on, write your possible ideas as questions, then answer them.
    • 11. Preparing for the Timed Essay  During Week 12 you will enter the Timed Essay exam. Once you enter it, you will be asked to write a four to five paragraph literary analysis essay responding to a prompt about the theme of the novel. You will have three hours to compose your essay, but right now you can get started by just thinking about it.
    • 12. Here’s an example of a prompt  Question: How does Fuller’s description of her parents’ love of Africa conflict with their actions and way of life in Africa?
    • 13. Write a thesis statement.  To write your thesis statement, all you have to do is turn the question and answer around. Put it in a sentence (or a couple of sentences) so that the thesis of your paper is clear.
    • 14. For example  In her novel, Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness, Fuller presents the paradoxical relationship between her parents and their home in Africa. Fuller’s memorable stories about her parents help illustrate their conservative political beliefs which eventually left them without their land or power, but at the same time these stories also demonstrate their powerful love for the land, animals, and people around them.
    • 15. Next Step: Find the evidence Now that you’ve developed a thesis statement, you're ready to choose the evidence to support your thesis. Our example thesis focuses on ideas about politics, land, and nature in Fuller’s novel. To support this thesis, you would need to find examples of stories that illustrate these elements within the text.
    • 16. Make a list of evidence you can use, then select the best.  Be – – – sure your list includes: Direct quotations Summarizing Paraphrasing
    • 17. Outline and Draft the essay Like all essays, a Literary Analysis has an  Introduction  Body  Conclusion
    • 18. Introduction  The purpose of an introduction is to establish a framework and to orient the reader to the essay. Offering a preview of what's to follow, the introduction reveals how the writer intends to treat the topic. The concluding sentences usually state the thesis and give the main supporting points.
    • 19. Body The body of the essay presents the evidence promised in the thesis statement. Just as the thesis statement governs the essay, the topic sentence governs the paragraph. Each topic sentence should connect logically to the thesis statement and announce how the paragraph will prove it. The information or evidence in each paragraph should fully develop the idea of the topic sentence.
    • 20. Conclusion The thesis is reemphasized here, but now that all the evidence has been presented it can be tied together to strengthen the your position. A restatement or summary of what's been said is not as effective as illustrating the significance of your claim. Point out how your essay offers a helpful interpretation, and how your reader can apply it to their own experience.
    • 21. As You Write    When citing evidence from the text, try to paraphrase rather than quote directly. Save only the very strongest lines or passages for direct quotation. Make your point clear—don't assume the reader will read your paraphrase or quote and reach the same conclusion you did. Explain the significance of the evidence in the citation. Don't merely re-tell the story. Remember that you are an interpreter, writing to an intelligent audience, helping the reader to understand the particular piece of literature.
    • 22. Good luck!