Step 1 1/2 While you read, take notes. Underline things. Circle words. Do you notice any patterns? Do you notice anything about the author’s tone? Is it funny? Angry? Serious?
Step 2 Gather your ammunition. Find out where the work was published – does that help you figure out the author’s purpose and audience? What are the author’s obvious strategies in making his or her point? Are they successful?
Step 3 Go Deeper Look at underlying assumptions, both yours and the writer’s. Look for places where the author has left gaps – are these deliberate? Do they need to be filled? Does the author play on your emotions? How? Is he or she using any images or ideas that play on some abstract, for example patriotism?
Step 4 Organize Arrange paragraphs based on clusters you find in your reading AFTER organizing, you should see a clear thesis beginning to emerge
Your essay should include A general introduction, in which you state your thesis A brief (BRIEF) (that means short, like ONE paragraph!) summary Something about the purpose and audience, as you see it Something about the author’s strategies, as you detect them Whether they are successful or not Analysis of critical elements, like underlying values, rhetorical appeals. Comments on what worked, what didn’t Your personal response to the issue (also pretty short) Overall conclusion
How many paragraphs was that? You may need more than five! That’s okay. In fact, you can look at each line on the previous slide as one paragraph’s worth of information
Step 5 Write Write Revise.
General Guidelines Organize by rhetorical point, not by summary. Allow your organization to develop naturally out of what you have found in your reading and note-taking.
General Guidelines Use the Present Tense
General Guidelines Refer to the author by his or her last name Lewis argues, Atwood writes, James demonstrates…
Common Errors of Expression The essay states The essay argues This essay will show… In this essay he writes… or In Margaret Atwood’s essay, she writes…