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Transcript of Analytic Essay
the analytic essay? How Do I Start to Analyze a text? IMPORTANT NOTE! In the same way that the presence of one of these items
is important, the exclusion of one can be significant as well.
For example, what effect would not including dialogue have? Or not including an organizational structure? Dialogue: Which topics would
you discuss in an essay about this passage?
Which ones are you excluding?
Why? This can be very important.
If dialogue is included in a text, it can be there for a variety of reasons. There is a lot you can learn from dialogue, for example, setting, time, conflicts, character motivations, or character types and many other things. Detail: This can either be the author describing something in great detail, or providing a plethora of supporting details for their argument. Imagery: He fell down like an old tree falling down in a storm.
Think about "Once More to the Lake". Can you give me an example of imagery from that essay? Diction: So you can ask why an author might
choose a specific phrase or word, and how that adds to the meaning of the work. Levels of Discourse: Levels of discourse refers to the
levels on which text functions. Is there a specific discernible reason for the author to be writing this piece? Is it making a political statement? Is there a social message? These will usually be very obvious. Syntax: The way words are arranged in a sentence, or how the sentence is structured. Literary Devices: I am sure you know some literary devices right? Organization: This refers to the way the text is structured. How do the ideas flow? If you're writing an analytical essay about a work of non-fiction, you could write a thesis that says, "The author uses__, ___, and ___ to do something within the text. For example: An analytical essay is about analyzing
the information and
coming up with an argument
to support your conclusions. A good recipe for analyzing
a text is S.O.L.L.I.D.D.D. This acronym
will help you find things in the passage to support an argument. Let's take a
closer look at these things.
Traditional: I must go to the store.
Yoda: Go to the store I must. So when you look at a text, see if the author is using different sentences, and ask why they might be doing that. What is the effect of Yoda's speech pattern? What is the effect of short, choppy sentences? A text can be structured a number of ways: Chronologically,Logically, Listing, Compare and Contrast, Process Analysis etc. So when you look at a text, ask why the author chose this organizational pattern. Does it make the most sense? Does it show logical steps? Simile, Metaphor, Alliteration, Allegory, Allusion, Personification, etc. So, if you spot a literary device, ask what purpose is it serving. Why does the author compare the bedroom to a pig sty? YOU DO NOT HAVE TO ADDRESS EVERY
ITEM IN S.O.L.L.I.D.D.D. TO HAVE A GOOD PAPER!
In fact, if you try to cover all 8, your paper will be weak,
and unfocused. You should choose the items that work best with your thesis, which ones most support
your point. In a majority of cases, all 8 items will not be significant enough to add to your paper, and sometimes, not all 8 will even appear. So don't go crazy trying to cover everything, it's a bad idea. Imagery can be thought of as a literary
device, and could be discussed under that
heading as well. But imagery occurs when,
the author uses words and phrases to create
"mental images” for the reader. Imagery helps
the reader to visualize and therein more realistically experience the author’s writings. If you find an example of imagery, ask why
it is there? What is the author trying to do? Diction refers to the distinctive tone
or tenor of an author’s writings.
Diction is not just a writer's choice of
words it can include the mood,
attitude, dialect, and style of writing. Example: ominous glow vs. beaming light.
They both pertain to light, but create a different feeling due to the choice of words. So pay attention, and ask yourself why these details are important? What are the contributing to the work? For example, dialogue in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn reveals a lot of about Huck's education, social status, and beliefs, as well as providing a reference for time period, and the setting. So ask what the dialogue is revealing? Why are characters speaking? What are they talking about? Is it important? Questions? For homework, write at least a paragraph where you explore one of the items in relation to the passage we read in class today.
(Use your notes from class) For example, think about the essay "I Just Met a Girl Named Maria". What messages are there? Think about your descriptive narrative. What details did you include? Why?