BIU English 106 Slide set #2: Nov. 5-14Introduction to Literary Forms and Critical Writing I Dr. Daniel Feldman firstname.lastname@example.org
Writing Blurbs 3Writers have only one duty, as I see it: the duty to express accurately their way of being in the world. If that sounds woolly and imprecise, I apologize. Writing is not a science, and I am speaking to you in the only terms I have to describe what it is I persistently aim for (yet fail to achieve) when I sit in front of my computer. --Zadie Smith, novelist and critic
Vocabulary from last week• Consolidate• Cornucopia• Diffident• Paradox• Cogent• Eloquent• Articulate (n. & v.)
This week’s agenda• Honing an argument – What’s your opinion?• Finding evidence – What’s your proof?• Editing – How can this essay be improved?• Intro to literary analysis – What do we look for in Dubliners?
Thesis to Argument• A good argument demands an opinion supported by evidence • Another blast from Bill (next slides) • Review terms: » Thesis » Evidence » Argument (slide 19)
Another Blast from BillWhat’s the affect (characteristic emotion) of today’s youth culture? Not just the hipsters, but the Millennial Generation as a whole, people born between the late ’70s and the mid-’90s, more or less. The thing that strikes me most about them is how nice they are: polite, pleasant, moderate, earnest, friendly. No anger, no edge, no ego. What is this about? The millennial affect is the affect of the salesman. Today’s polite, pleasant personality is, above all, a commercial personality.
Another Blast from BillWe’re all selling something today, because even if we aren’t literally selling something (though thanks to the Internet as well as the entrepreneurial ideal, more and more of us are), we’re always selling ourselves. We use social media to create a product — to create a brand — and the product is us. We treat ourselves like little businesses, something to be managed and promoted.The self today is an entrepreneurial self, a self that’s packaged to be sold.
The Ninety-Five Theses, Martin Luther (1517)• Make your argument worth nailing to a door!
A thesis is a position, not a question• A woman these days is expected and desires to fulfill many things almost in every aspect in life – a quite time consuming plan. How much time do such ambitions leave for personal developments like finding a spouse and starting a family. Is late parenthood a good solution?
A thesis takes sides in a debate• The debate concerning whether students who study in single-sex schools do better or not is rather controversial and is difficult to assess. Studying with the opposite sex on the one hand, could be somewhat distracting and result in diminution in educational achievements. However, on the other hand it could rather be a motivating incentive for students who thrive and do well in a versatile environment. I strongly believe that there is no one particular method for estimating students educational success in the long term for every person has different mental structure and will thrive differently under certain circumstances.
For Wednesday• More Dubliners – “Eveline” – “Two Gallants” (optional) – “The Boarding House”• For next week (writing on Monday, reading on Wednesday): – “A Little Cloud” (optional) – “The Dead”
BIU English 106 Slide set #2 (cont’d): Nov. 7Introduction to Literary Forms and Critical Writing I Dr. Daniel Feldman email@example.com
Writing Blurbs 4“Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.” ― Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
Literary Analysis• Analysis is not plot summary – How does the text signify (create meaning)? • What are its methods of constructing plot, character, narrating voice, imagery, setting, and themes? • Pay attention to telling details
Epiphany: Coming to See• “Araby” as tale of: –A quest –Exoticism –Maturation –Unrequited love –Disappointment
Kinds of Critical Questions• Plot: What conflicts drive the plot? How is the plot structured? What order or sequence do events take?• Character: What motivates the protagonists, the central characters? How are the characters characterized? What does the text tell us about the characters to inform us about them?
Kinds of Critical Questions• Setting: How does the setting influence the story? Why is this story set where it is? Is there symbolic meaning to the setting that makes it appropriate for this work• Point of view / narrative voice: In what voice is the story told? Does the point of view affect our understanding of the text?• Motifs: Do various symbols or ideas repeat in the work? Why those motifs or themes?
Evidence in Literary Analysis• Passages, quotations of primary text• Details paraphrased from the plot, character, setting, etc.• Scholarly articles (secondary literature) regarding the primary text• Facts about the author, text, and the publication’s historical period
Outline of an Essay• Thesis paragraph (introduction) ~50-150 words – Opening lines engage reader and frame your topic or question – Frame and present your thesis statement• Body: development paragraphs present secon-dary claims and evidence supporting the thesis – Each ‘graph introduced by a clear topic sentence – Paragraphs should be unified around a main point and organized in a coherent, logical structure of each point leading to the next (development)
Sample Outline1. Thesis and general problem in the opening paragraph a. One reason for the thesis is X. a. Statistical evidence can prove this. b. Logic can prove this. b. A second reason for the thesis is Y.2. Development-- Statistical proof that my thesis is correct.3. Dev2--Logical proof that my thesis is correct.4. Dev3-- Counter-arguments opposing my thesis can be dismissed because Z.5. Conclusion: my argument rocks and this issue has significance because…
FormatYour NameDr. FeldmanEnglish 10627 November 2011 Catchy or clear title centered The body of the paper begins below and followswith each paragraph indented the customary space.Use standard 2.5cm (1”) margins and 12-point serif font.
Dubliners, “Araby”NORTH RICHMOND STREET, being blind, was a quiet street except at the hour when the Christian Brothers School set the boys free. An uninhabited house of two storeys stood at the blind end, detached from its neighbours in a square ground The other houses of the street, conscious of decent lives within them, gazed at one another with brown imperturbable faces. […]I was thankful that I could see so little. All my senses seemed to desire to veil themselves
Setting in “Araby”• Street• Personified houses• City as network, city as character• Bazaar• Localized and globalized worlds – How does setting advance the plot?
Exposition• Exposition is the author laying out the situation by providing background information to the audience about the plot, characters, setting, and theme. – In analyzing exposition, ask what details did the author have to present at the outset to get the reader involved in the story?
For next week14.11 & 16.11• For Monday: Write full introductory thesis paragraphs and complete outlines, including topic sentences, for two potential essays. – Topics: Choose from of your five from last week, invent your own, or draw on our readings. – Your outlines should show your plan for how you would construct an essay arguing your thesis. – Your outlines should indicate specific evidence. – Your outlines must include sample topic sentences for each supporting paragraph.• For Wednesday: Read “The Dead” – Optional (supplementary): “Little Cloud”
Writing Blurbs 5• Proofread carefully to see if you any words out. --Dave Barry, humorist
Outlining Essay Structure• Formulate a focused and persuasive thesis.• Choose sources that relate most closely to your argument and put others aside.• Plan your essay • an introduction • sections that organize and develop your argument • and a conclusion
Outlining Essay Structure• Plan your essay • an introduction • sections that organize and develop your argument • and a conclusion – Write down the major points you want to make in each section » This is your outline – Use the outline as a guide for drafting the paper, but plan to reconsider the structure of the paper after you have a working draft » Next week: Working drafts
Purposes of an Outline• An outline will help • An outline can help you to get an overall you to see the view of your paper logical progression and, perhaps more of your argument important, to figure and identify which out how each segments need section of the paper more research and relates to the others. which elements you should revise.
Topic Sentences• State the main point of a paragraph in a topic sentence: a summary of what to expect in the following ‘graph of text. – A body paragraph clusters information supporting your thesis. – Every ‘graph sentence relates to the topic sentence and serves to unify the paragraph. • EXAMPLE: “Music also plays an important background role in Dubliners.” – In an essay on aesthetic motifs in the book – Followed by examples: harp in “Two Gallants,” distant music in “The Dead”
Joyce on DublinersMy intention was to write a chapter of the moral history of my country and I chose Dublin for the scene because that city seemed to me the centre of paralysis. I have tried to present it to the indifferent public under four of its aspects: childhood, adolescence, maturity and public life. The stories are arranged in this order. I have written it for the most part in a style of scrupulous meanness and with the conviction that he is a very bold man who dares to alter in the presentment, still more to deform, whatever he has seen and heard. -Letters II. 134
Paralysis• What examples does the text indicate of paralysis in Dublin life? – Symbolic: what elements or motifs symbolize paralysis? – Thematic: how is paralysis evident among Joyce’s characters? • “Trivial things”: realistic objects acquire heightened significance