Analyzing a Text• Three different news sources may all cover the same story, yet each may interpret what happened differently. This is why we need to carefully analyze what we read or become an analytical reader.• Text not only conveys information, but it can influence what we think and how we think. So we need to understand what text say and how they say it.(Page 38)
Analyzing a Text Cont.• Different types of courses will require you to analyze for different things.• This unit will deal with detailed guidelines for writing an essay that closely examines a text both for what it says and how it does so with the goal of demonstrating for readers how—and how well—the text achieves its effect.
Key Features/Textual Analysis• A summary of the text: Readers may not know the text you are analyzing, so you have to include it or tell them about it before you can analyze it. Texts that are not well-known require a more detailed summary.• Attention to the context: Texts are influenced by and contribute to ongoing conversations, controversies, or debates, so to understand them, you need to understand the larger context.(Page 49)
Key Features/Textual Analysis Cont.• A clear interpretation or judgment: Your goal is to lead readers through careful examination of the text to some kind of interpretation or reasoned judgment, generally announced clearly in a thesis statement. When you interpret something, you explain what you think it means.(Page 50)
Key Features/Textual Analysis Cont.• Reasonable support for your conclusions: Written analysis of the text is generally supported by evidence from the text itself and sometimes from other sources. The writer supports his/her interpretations by quoting words or passages from a written text or referring to images in a visual text. The support your offer for your interpretation needs only to be ―reasonable‖—there is never one way to interpret something. It just requires proof of how you reached your interpretation.• (Page 50)
A Guide to Writing Textual Analyses• Choosing a Text to Analyze: Most of the time you will be assigned a text or type of text to analyze. If you must choose a text to analyze, look for one that suits the demands of the assignment—one that is neither too large or complex to analyze thoroughly nor too brief or limited to generate sufficient material. You can also examine three or four text by examining the elements they have in common.(Page 50-51)
Considering the Rhetorical Situation• Purpose: Why are you analyzing this text? To demonstrate that you understand it? To persuade readers that the text demonstrates a certain point? Or are you using the text as a way to make some other point?• Audience: Are your readers likely to know your text? How much detail will you need to supply?• Stance: What interests you about your analysis? Why? What do you know or believe about the topic? How will your own beliefs affect your analysis?• (Page 51)
Considering the Rhetorical Situation Cont.• Media/Design: Are you writing an essay for a class? Is it to be published in a journal or magazine? Something for the Web? If you are analyzing a visual text, you will probably need to include an image of the text.(Page 51)
Generating Ideas and Text• In analyzing a text, your goal is to understand what it says, how it works, and what it means. You will need to read, respond, summarize, analyze, and draw conclusions from your analysis.• Read what the text says: Start by carefully reading to get a sense of what it says. Skim to preview, reread for main ideas, then question and annotate (jot down notes).(Page 52)
Generating Ideas and Text Cont.• Decide what you want to analyze: Once you have carefully read the text, think about what you find most interesting or intriguing, and why. Does the language interest you? The imagery? The structure? The context? You might begin your analysis by exploring what attracted your notice.(Page 52)
Generating Ideas and Text Cont.• Consider your initial response. After you have read it, what is your initial response? What’s your reaction to the argument, the tone, the language, the images? Do you find the text difficult? Puzzling? Do you agree or disagree with what the writer says? How you react can color your analysis. Consider the intellectual and emotional reactions. Identify places that trigger or account for your reactions. Think about what accounts for your reaction.• Consolidate your understanding of the text by summarizing what it says in your own words. You may need to do an outline of the main ideas.(Page 52)
Generating Ideas and Text Cont.• Study how the text works: Texts are made up of several components like words, sentences, images, and punctuation. Visual texts have images, lines, angles, color, light/shadow, and sometimes words. All elements can be used in various ways. To analyze them, look for patterns in the way they are used and try to decide what those patterns reveal about the text. How do they affect the message? Write a sentence or two describing the patterns you see and how they contribute to what the text says.(Page 52-53)
Generating Ideas and Text Cont.• Analyzing the argument: Every text makes an argument and provides some kind of support for those claims. In important part of understanding the text is to recognize its argument—what the writer or artist wants the audience to believe, feel, or do. Consider the text’s purpose and audience, identify its thesis, and decide how convincingly it supports that thesis. Write a sentence or two summarizing the argument of the text, along with your reactions to or questions about that argument.• (Page 53)
Generating Ideas and Text Cont.• Think about the larger context: Texts are always part of larger, ongoing conversations. You need to do additional research to determine where the text was originally published, what else was happening or being discussed at the time the text was published or created, and whether or not the text responded directly to other ideas or arguments. Write a sentence or two describing the larger context surrounding the text and how it affects your understanding of the text.• (Page 53)
Generating Ideas and Text Cont.• Consider what you know about the writer or artist: What do you know about the person who created the text? How does this influence your understanding? Knowing his/her credentials, other work, reputation, stance, and beliefs are all useful in helping to understand the text. Write a sentence or two summarizing what you know about the writer and how that information influences your understanding.(Page 53)
Generating Ideas and Text Cont.• Come up with a thesis: When you analyze a text, you are basically arguing that the text should be read in a certain way. You need to identify your analytical goal: do you want to show that the text has a certain meaning? Uses certain techniques to achieve its purposes? Tries to influence its audience in a particular way? Relates to some larger context in some significant manner? Should be taken seriously or not? Draft a tentative thesis statement.(Page 53-54)
Generating Ideas and Text Cont.• A thesis statement is a declarative sentences that usually has three areas or subtopics about the main topic that will be covered in the body of your paper.
Ways of Organizing a Textural Analysis• Examine the information you have to see how it supports or complicates your thesis. Look for clusters of related information that you can use to structure an outline. It can be structured two ways: discuss the patterns or themes that runs through the text, or analyze each text or section of text separately.
Ways of Organizing a Textual Analysis Cont.• Thematically: – Introduce the text (summarize or describe) and give any needed context. State thesis. – Analyzing the text (identify a theme or pattern and use the examples from the text with appropriate context or source evidence of support) – Restate the thesis, relating it to larger issues (how the text works and what it means)
Ways of Organizing a Textual Analysis Cont.• Part by Part – Introduce the text (summarize or describe and give any necessary context—state your thesis) – Analyze first section of the text; analyze the next section of the text; continued as needed. – Restate the thesis, relating it to larger issues (how the text works; what the text means)
Writing Out a Draft• Your goal should be to integrate the various parts into a smoothly flowing, logically organized essay. It’s easy to get bogged down in the details. Consider writing one section of the analysis first, then another and another until you have drafted the entire middle; then draft you beginning and ending. Start by summarizing the text and moving from there to your analysis and then to your ending. You will need to support your analysis with evidence from the text and other texts.(Page 55)
Writing Out a Draft Cont.• Draft a beginning: Introduce or summarize the text and give your thesis statement last. – Summarize the text: Give a brief summary. – Provide a context for your analysis: you might mention the larger context of the text. – Introduce a pattern or theme: If there is a larger context that is significant for analysis, you might mention it in your introduction.
Writing Out the Draft Cont.– State your thesis: The thesis is the main idea sentence for the entire paper and it is usually one declarative sentence with three aspects or subtopics you will cover in the paper.
Writing Out a Draft• Drafting the ending: Think of what you want your readers to take a away from your paper. – Restate the thesis or say why it matters. • Say something about the implications of your findings.• Come up with a title: The title indicates something about what your analysis is about, and it makes the reader want to read your paper.• (Page 56)
Considering Matters of Design• If you cite written text as evidence, be sure to set long quotations and documentation according to MLA style.• If your paper is lengthy, consider headings.
Getting Response and Revising• Is the beginning effective?• Does the introduction provide an overview of your analysis and conclusion?• Is the text described or summarized clearly and sufficiently?• Does each part of the analysis relate to each other?• Are quotations written accurately and documented?• Is there clear evidence to support your interpretation?• Is the ending clear?
Editing and Proofreading• Is the thesis clearly stated• Check all quotations, paraphrases, and summaries for accuracy and documentation.• Are transitions used for flow from one idea to the next?• Proofread for grammatical issues.
Reading Strategically• Preview the text: look over it by skimming and looking at the title, subtopic headings, first and last paragraph, and first sentence of all the paragraphs.• Considering the Rhetorical Situation—is the purpose to entertain, persuade, or inform? Who is the audience? What genre will the information be presented in?• What stand does the writer take? (Critical? Curious? Opinionated? Objective? Passionate? Indifferent?)• What medium will be used to present the information?
Reading Statically Cont.• Thinking about your initial response: What are your initial reactions? What accounts for your reactions?• Annotating: highlight key words, phrases, sentences, connecting ideas; write in questions and comments in the margins; note what is noteworthy or questionable. Question anything the author says that you do not agree with. Take notes. Read below the surface.
Reading Strategically Cont.• Playing the believing and doubting game: – List or freewrite as many reasons as you can think of for believing what the writer says and then as many as you can think of for doubting it. Look at the world from the writer’s perspective and try to understand why he/she said what he/she did. Look for flaws in his/her reasoning and be ready to refute them.