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The Writing Process: An Overview<br />English 102<br />Deanna Dixon<br />
Arguing Your Interpretation<br />Claim: Once you have decided to narrow in on a certain interpretation of a story, you mus...
Arguing Your Interpretation<br />Evidence: tells your readers how you have arrived at your interpretation; what is your cl...
Arguing Your Interpretation<br />Reasoning: explain how you arrived at your claim using the evidence you have given<br />R...
Sample plan for literary argument<br />Thesis: “Eveline lacks courage to flee from her domineering father and to seek her ...
Avoid plot summary<br />Be careful not to get bogged down in mere summary. Assume that your audience has read the story an...
Topic Sentences<br />Every body paragraph must begin with a topic sentence the summarizes the main argument of the paragra...
Critical Interpretation vs. Plot Summary<br />Notice the difference between a critical comment and a plot detail:<br />Plo...
Introductions<br />Remember to focus your reader’s attention on the incident/character/symbol you find significant. Try to...
Conclusions<br />Do not simply repeat what you said in your introduction. <br />Answer the “so what?” question. Why is you...
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Literature and the Writing Process

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Literature and the Writing Process

  1. 1. The Writing Process: An Overview<br />English 102<br />Deanna Dixon<br />
  2. 2. Arguing Your Interpretation<br />Claim: Once you have decided to narrow in on a certain interpretation of a story, you must make a claim about that interpretation. To come up with your claim, relate some aspect of the work (setting, characters, symbols, etc) to the meaning of the whole, or the theme. This claim is known as your thesis statement. <br />Remember, thesis = WHAT + HOW + WHY/SO WHAT?<br />If you want to focus your paper in on your interpretation of the character, Eveline, you could make the claim, “Eveline lacks courage to flee from her domineering father and to seek her own happiness when she refuses to board the ship with Frank, resulting in her perpetuation of a continuous cycle of unhappiness often experienced by Irish working-class women in the 1900s.”<br />
  3. 3. Arguing Your Interpretation<br />Evidence: tells your readers how you have arrived at your interpretation; what is your claim based on?<br />Evidence will come from details in the story<br />Some evidence may come from outside the text (i.e. you could use info. about working-class Irish-Catholic women in Ireland in the early 1900s)<br />It is important to use some direct quotes from the text (see p. 27 for directions on how to use them correctly)<br />
  4. 4. Arguing Your Interpretation<br />Reasoning: explain how you arrived at your claim using the evidence you have given<br />Refutation: acknowledging and responding to opposing viewpoints/opinions <br />If/when you include a refutation, make sure that you show why/how other interpretations are faulty or inaccurate or limited; you could present contrasting evidence or alternate reasoning<br />
  5. 5. Sample plan for literary argument<br />Thesis: “Eveline lacks courage to flee from her domineering father and to seek her own happiness when she refuses to board the ship with Frank, resulting in her perpetuation of a continuous cycle of unhappiness often experienced by Irish working-class women in the 1900s.”<br />Evidence of Eveline’s lack of courage can be seen in the following:<br />Her passivity as a female who lacks the resources and imagination to challenge her traditional role<br />Her physical fear of her father, perhaps generalized to all men<br />Her reverence to her mother’s memory and the promise she made to keep the family together<br />Conclusion/So What?: Eveline exemplifies how a woman in Ireland in the early 1900s may be trapped by passivity, fear, and obligations.<br />
  6. 6. Avoid plot summary<br />Be careful not to get bogged down in mere summary. Assume that your audience has read the story and is familiar with the main plot points and characters. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t include a sentence or two of plot summary if you are reinforcing a certain interpretation or if a certain event or character is ambiguous and requires clarification/interpretation.<br />
  7. 7. Topic Sentences<br />Every body paragraph must begin with a topic sentence the summarizes the main argument of the paragraph. <br />In order to avoid falling into a mere plot summary with your paper, try to avoid topic sentences that discuss plot points. <br />Topic sentences should be strictly critical observations that support/relate back to your thesis statement. <br />
  8. 8. Critical Interpretation vs. Plot Summary<br />Notice the difference between a critical comment and a plot detail:<br />Plot detail: Jackson’s story opens on a balmy summer day.<br /> <br />Critical comment: By setting her story on a balmy summer day, <br /> Jackson creates a false sense of well-being.<br /> <br /> Plot detail: Granny detests Cornelia’s blue lampshades.<br /> <br /> Critical comment: One of Cornelia’s blue lampshades becomes <br /> the image of Granny’s diminishing spark of life.<br />Combined: Although Granny detests Cornelia’s blue lampshades, one <br /> of them becomes the image of her diminishing spark of <br /> life.<br />
  9. 9. Introductions<br />Remember to focus your reader’s attention on the incident/character/symbol you find significant. Try to include something specific in the first sentence. For instance, always include the title (underlined or in quotation marks and the author of the work you will be discussing). Always include your thesis statement.<br />
  10. 10. Conclusions<br />Do not simply repeat what you said in your introduction. <br />Answer the “so what?” question. Why is your particular interpretation important to understanding/appreciating the work?<br />

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