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  1. 1. Writing about Literature<br />YeoJuChoi<br />ChristinHunnicutt<br />
  2. 2. Most students need help with . . .<br />Thesis statement<br />Argument<br />Analysis<br />Literary Terms<br />Structure <br />Organization<br />Introduction and Conclusion<br />Transitions, Flow<br />
  3. 3. Analysis<br />How one or more aspects of the writing, such as theme, style, or character, contribute to overall meaning<br />The ambiguity of events in The Scarlet Letter shows us that Hawthorne. . .<br />“The Scarlet Letter” (1860) by T. H. Matteson .<br /><br />
  4. 4. Comparison<br />Illuminates two or more works and shows connections between them<br />Focuses on similarities or differences in style, theme, character or other matters<br />When comparing Tom Sawyer to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the reader should bear in mind that, though intended to be companion pieces, . . .<br />
  5. 5. The Elements of Fiction<br />Plot and Structure<br />Characterization<br />Setting <br />Theme<br />Irony<br />Point of View <br />First person<br />Third person (omniscient, participating)<br />Symbolism<br />Style <br />
  6. 6. Style?<br />When writers talk about style, they usually mean the overall impression gained from the effect of the words—the content, the use of language, the organization. It’s a slippery concept. <br />So, break it down . . .<br />.<br />
  7. 7. Style is . . .<br />Word Choice (Diction)<br />Word Order (Syntax)<br />Sentence length<br />Paragraph length<br />Sentence type<br />Sentence Length<br />Tone<br />Figurative language<br />
  8. 8. Fictions: Prompts for Thesis Ideas <br />What was the author attempting to do?<br />Purpose, scope, view, attitude<br />Picture of material presented<br />Ideas on life, liberty, morals, society, religion, etc.<br />Author’s personal background<br />How well did the author succeed in his/her attempt?<br />Stylistic faults, excellencies, devices<br />Relationship between structure and content<br />Targeted audience<br />What value does the attempt have?<br />Theme and purpose<br />Tone: light, serious, etc.<br />Comparison between the author’s intention and the reader perception<br />
  9. 9. The Elements of Poetry<br />Voice: Speaker & Audience<br />Diction <br />Imagery<br />Figures of Speech<br />Symbolism <br />Allegory<br />Sound, Rhythm, & Meter<br />Theme<br />
  10. 10. Poetry: Prompts for Thesis Ideas<br />Indentify the overall effect of the poem<br />convert the reader<br />create shock, nostalgia, fear or another emotion<br />evoke a mood<br />Consider how the poem&apos;s parts contribute to the overall effect.<br />structure, organization, language, meter, literary devices<br />Is there a theme or a thesis to the poem?<br />
  11. 11. The Elements of Drama<br />Type: <br />Tragedy<br />Comedy<br />Tragicomedy<br />Plot<br />Characters: Major, Minor<br />Dialogue<br />Staging<br />Theme<br />
  12. 12. Drama: Prompts for Thesis Ideas<br />How do the roles of the various minor characters expose the major characters or advance the movement of the plot?<br />Compare and contrast the knowledge the audience has that of the characters. Does the difference create dramatic suspense?<br />Analyze the importance placed on the various themes. Are there any changes that occur during the course of the play?<br />Consider the role of physical stage directions and the effect they have on the play as a whole.<br />
  13. 13. Critical Perspectives<br />The critical theory that informs an approach to analysis or commentary on a literary text<br />For a review of approaches: (The Bedford Glossary on the UWC shelf)<br />In advanced classes, students may be required to approach a text from a particular critical perspective; or they may have to select one.<br />Dr. Samuel Johnson, the ultimate critic<br />
  14. 14. Helping Students Select a Topic<br />Look over notes and <br /> readings for:<br />key points of emphasis<br />recurring concerns<br />interesting questions<br />Ask proffor suggestions.<br />Talk with other students.<br />Consult other sources of information about the work.<br />
  15. 15. Research <br />The librarians offer help! Check out<br />or<br />
  16. 16. Thesis Statements<br />Argue a point about the author or the work<br />Are as specific as possible<br />Are written in a simple, direct sentence<br />Act as an umbrella for the content of the essay<br />
  17. 17. Introductions<br />Name the author and work being discussed.<br />Give the basic premise of the argument by<br />identifying the subject, or<br />setting limitations for a unified theme.<br />Create interest by examining the subject from the perspective of a reader.<br /> Introduce the thesis.<br />
  18. 18. Primary Sources (what the text says)<br />Primary sources should be quoted directly or paraphrased as needed.<br />Often the author’s exact wording is important, so a direct quote would be warranted.<br />
  19. 19. Secondary Sources (what the critics say)<br />Direct quotes should be used only when the person being quoted is eloquent or very apt; generally, indirect quotes (paraphrases) are needed. <br />The quote’s significance to the argument should be explicitly stated.<br />Every quote should be introduced by a tag or a colon.<br />
  20. 20. Synthesis (what the writer says)<br />The writer’s job is to consider what the critics say and what the text itself says and to bring these together (synthesize them) from a new or original perspective.<br />The best essays help the reader see the work under discussion in a new light.<br />
  21. 21. Conclusions<br />Leave the reader with a sense of completeness and closure.<br />Summarize the main points in a creative restatement.<br />Place emphasis on significant or memorable points.<br />
  22. 22. Resources<br />Baker, Jim. The Aggie Critic. Boston: Pearson Custom Publishing, 2002.<br />DiYanni, Robert. Literature: Reading Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 5th ed. New York: McGraw Hill, 2002.<br />McKeague, Pat. Step By Step: Writing About Literature. 6th ed. Dubuque, IA: Kendall / Hunt Publishing Company, 1999.<br />“Analyzing General Literature.” Texas A&M University Writing Center. 2003. 20 April 2004 &lt;;.<br />“Analyzing Plays.” Texas A&M University Writing Center. 2003. 20 April 2004 &lt;;.<br />“Analyzing Poetry.” Texas A&M University Writing Center. 2003. 20 April 2004 &lt;;.<br />“Analyzing Prose.” Texas A&M University Writing Center. 2003. 20 April 2004 &lt;;.<br />