Writing About Literature Karen S. Wright
<ul><li>A literary argument is </li></ul><ul><li>--an extended literary essay that  requires some research. </li></ul><ul>...
Examples <ul><li>Do not make this kind of an argument: </li></ul><ul><li>Conrad’s  Heart of Darkness  is a novella about a...
Your Turn <ul><li>Make these weak statements stronger: </li></ul><ul><li>Kurtz changes throughout the novella to a savage....
My Turn Stronger statements: 1.Greed and materialism change Kurtz from a man of ideals to a savage. 2. As Marlow travels u...
Good Topics <ul><li>The best topics are the ones that flow naturally from your own reading.  </li></ul><ul><li>Are charact...
Doing Research <ul><li>The Internet is where you can easily find the following: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Biographical informa...
<ul><li>The Library provides you with information to make your literary paper more scholarly: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Journa...
Using Information <ul><li>Secondary Sources: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Secondary sources are  to be used to support  what you ...
For example, let’s say you are arguing that the shadow or the fog in  Heart of Darkness  is a symbol of the subconscious a...
In the  Heart of Darkness , many layers of meaning are evident:  “ Conrad creates a dramatic drawing together of objective...
Format Longer quotes: Quotes of more than four lines need to be in block format, two tabs or ten spaces in from the margin...
More on Format <ul><li>Essay Format: </li></ul><ul><li>Upper left-hand corner </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Name (first name and  ...
MLA The Works Cited page is in alphabetical order (see MLA Handbook for Writing Research Papers) Titles of books, plays, m...
MLA <ul><li>All documented papers in literature use MLA (Modern Language Association of America) as the method for citatio...
Stress <ul><li>Stress is Not Good—Trust Me </li></ul><ul><li>Stress is unhealthy for you. </li></ul><ul><li>You could be j...
Avoiding Stress <ul><li>So- - How can stress be avoided? </li></ul><ul><li>Pace the work you do on your paper—don’t try to...
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  • Greed and materialism change Kurtz from a man of ideals to a savage. As Marlow travels up the river, he becomes aware that the setting emphasizes a lack of moral environment. Unmeasured greed and fear of Kurtz’s position in the Company permeate the pores of the Manager pushing him up the river to the inner station to find Kurtz. An uncivilized society with the lack of a familiar culture, create and feed Kurtz’s mental illness.
  • Writing about literature1(2)(3) 1

    1. 1. Writing About Literature Karen S. Wright
    2. 2. <ul><li>A literary argument is </li></ul><ul><li>--an extended literary essay that requires some research. </li></ul><ul><li>--an argument where you </li></ul><ul><li>convince your readers of your </li></ul><ul><li>point-of-view by using reliable critical </li></ul><ul><li>sources. </li></ul><ul><li>A thesis statement is </li></ul><ul><li>--a statement that states your </li></ul><ul><li>perspective on a topic. </li></ul>
    3. 3. Examples <ul><li>Do not make this kind of an argument: </li></ul><ul><li>Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is a novella about a man who changes when he goes to Africa. </li></ul><ul><li>Your argument needs to have more force: </li></ul><ul><li>Marlow is in search of his alter-ego, Kurtz. </li></ul>
    4. 4. Your Turn <ul><li>Make these weak statements stronger: </li></ul><ul><li>Kurtz changes throughout the novella to a savage. </li></ul><ul><li>The setting is chaotic, and most of the characters are immoral. </li></ul><ul><li>The Manager seemed to be afraid of Kurtz. </li></ul><ul><li>Kurtz seems to act crazy living in the jungle. </li></ul>
    5. 5. My Turn Stronger statements: 1.Greed and materialism change Kurtz from a man of ideals to a savage. 2. As Marlow travels up the river, he becomes aware that the setting emphasizes a lack of moral environment. 3. Unmeasured greed and fear of Kurtz’s position in the Company permeate the pores of the Manager pushing him up the river to the inner station to find Kurtz. 4. An uncivilized society with the lack of a familiar culture, create and feed Kurtz’s mental illness.
    6. 6. Good Topics <ul><li>The best topics are the ones that flow naturally from your own reading. </li></ul><ul><li>Are characters realistic or symbolic? </li></ul><ul><li>How do characters compare/contrast in the story? </li></ul><ul><li>How does conflict affect the characters? </li></ul>
    7. 7. Doing Research <ul><li>The Internet is where you can easily find the following: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Biographical information on </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>authors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Brief summaries of works </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some analyses </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. <ul><li>The Library provides you with information to make your literary paper more scholarly: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Journal articles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Books by scholars </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>On-line catalog </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>MLA Periodical Index </li></ul></ul><ul><li>PLEASE do not use the dictionary, encyclopedia, or Wikipedia sources in your final paper. </li></ul>More on Research
    9. 9. Using Information <ul><li>Secondary Sources: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Secondary sources are to be used to support what you say, to back your argument. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The thrust of your argument comes from your thoughts. </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. For example, let’s say you are arguing that the shadow or the fog in Heart of Darkness is a symbol of the subconscious and you wish to support your idea. Conrad uses fog as a symbol for the subconscious. As Marlow travels up the river toward the Inner Station, he faces a dense white fog, forcing all other reality to be covered (“Marlow’s Inner Journey”). Marlow’s journey forces him to be face to face with himself.
    11. 11. In the Heart of Darkness , many layers of meaning are evident: “ Conrad creates a dramatic drawing together of objective, rational, Europeanism&quot; (Johnson). British attitudes are evident on the imperial frontier.
    12. 12. Format Longer quotes: Quotes of more than four lines need to be in block format, two tabs or ten spaces in from the margin with no quotation marks. The Heart of Darkness invites a wide variety of interpretations. In fact, the narrator claims the meaning of the story … was not inside like a kernel but outside, enveloping the tale which brought it out only as a glow brings out a haze, in the likeness of one of these misty halos that sometimes are made visible by the spectral illumination of moonshine. (Rozema) The meaning may be hazy, but indeed a kernel of a seed is planted deep within the heart of the reader.
    13. 13. More on Format <ul><li>Essay Format: </li></ul><ul><li>Upper left-hand corner </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Name (first name and last name) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Instructor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Date </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Class </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make a heading with your last name and page number </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Put you title in the center of first page </li></ul>
    14. 14. MLA The Works Cited page is in alphabetical order (see MLA Handbook for Writing Research Papers) Titles of books, plays, major poems, and movies are put into italics ( Heart of Darkness ). Titles of poems, short stories, magazine articles, and newspaper articles will have quotes around them (“Man and Master”).
    15. 15. MLA <ul><li>All documented papers in literature use MLA (Modern Language Association of America) as the method for citation. </li></ul><ul><li>Use parenthetical citations (Conrad 75) for quoting or paraphrasing in the text of the paper. </li></ul><ul><li>Include an alphabetical list of your Works Cited as the last page of your essay. </li></ul>
    16. 16. Stress <ul><li>Stress is Not Good—Trust Me </li></ul><ul><li>Stress is unhealthy for you. </li></ul><ul><li>You could be jumpy or grumpy. </li></ul><ul><li>You might have a tendency to forget things. </li></ul><ul><li>There could be an abundance of errors in your work. </li></ul><ul><li>Perhaps you will feel a little foolish when it is all over. </li></ul>
    17. 17. Avoiding Stress <ul><li>So- - How can stress be avoided? </li></ul><ul><li>Pace the work you do on your paper—don’t try to write it in one night. </li></ul><ul><li>Give yourself plenty of time for the research. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask your instructor questions. </li></ul><ul><li>Allow time for writing in a quiet place. </li></ul><ul><li>Have a friend or the resource center at school help you edit it. </li></ul><ul><li>Word process it and save it on a disc. </li></ul><ul><li>Take time to smell the roses, have a cup of coffee, and hug those special to you. </li></ul>

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