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A Literary Analysis
Transcript of A Literary Analysis
How to Tell a Story
Summary: Humorous and blunt essay on the elements of storytelling.
Critique: Twain uses mockery and comical examples such as "The Golden Arm" to engage readers, while also teaching how to write a humorous, "American" story.
Historical Impact: Mark Twain is known as the father of American Literature. His writing, including "How to Tell a Story" were comical and light, changing the type of writing that dominated the 1800's. Twain was one of the first writers to successfully write humorous fiction.
30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary
By Wilfred Funk and Normal Lewis
Introduction: Give Us Fifteen Minutes a Day
Research shows that “if your vocabulary is limited, your chances of success are limited”
When you reach your mid-twenties, your vocabulary stops growing, so if you want to continue learning, you must have a plan to improve
• Persuasive writing
• Claims were backed up by research and evidence
• The excerpt was relateable, encouraging, empowering
• Fun, engaging and interactive activities
• “Started millions of students and adults off on a self-improvement regimen that promised nothing less than success and personal fulfillment when the exercises were completed”
by Abbey Cavendish, Krista Rasmussen, Chris Robbie, Jasmyn Domingues, Melissa Lewis & Justine Volkman
The Common Sense Book of Baby Care: Should Children Play with Guns
The Joy Luck Club
Summary: Author Benjamin Spock retracts his previous opinion that violent toys and media exposure are harmless to children and discusses the influence they have.
Critique: Writing is simple enough for nearly all parents to understand and he balances sharing his own opinion with the evidence to support what he is saying.
Historical Impact: This book has been a fundamental parenting tool since it was written and many of the themes throughout the book have become universally accepted parenting practices.
Summary: In her autobiography, Angelou reminisced on Joe Louis's victory as the world's heavyweight champion. She contextualized the fight in terms of the racial struggles of the African American people. She told the story of her small country town crowding around the radio, in anticipation of a victory for her people.
Critique: Angelou succeeds in placing her reader in the moment through her vivid imagery and intricate metaphors. Her mix of humor and brutal honesty makes for an enjoyable, yet powerful piece. Her poetic and poignant account of Louis's win reveals the cruelty and injustice that restricted African Americans in the 1930s-1940's.
Historical Impact: Angelou was born on April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri. She battled racism her entire life. She was a very well respected writer who worked with Dr. Martin Luther King, and President's Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton. By 1995, she had spent two years on The New York Times Paperback Nonfiction Bestseller list, becoming the first African American author to achieve such success. Most importantly, Angelou's book, "I know why the caged bird sings" depicted the struggles of a black child growing up in the segregated south.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Protagonist, Jing-mei, describes her childhood. This revolves around how her mother sought to make her into a child prodigy.
Jing-mei takes piano lessons, performs dismally at a talent show, and struggles to form her own identity
Effective use of figurative language and Chinese culture.
The Joy Luck Club provides fresh insight into the lives of four Chinese immigrant families living in San Francisco.
The Joy Luck Club
Writing documents transcendentalist Thoreau's experience spending over two years in Ralph Waldo Emerson's cabin.
Writing to gain understanding of human development in society by practicing introspection
Written by a very gifted writer who utilizes a variety of complex literary techniques.
Combines the style of an autobiography with a societal criticism piece.
Led the transcendentalist movement by challenging materialism and preaching non-conformity.
Check your answers for a prize!
Once More to the Lake
Summary: Written in 1941 by E.B. White, this essay is a reflective piece describing his trip to the lake with his son. Through out the essay, the narrator is constantly pensive and reflecting how the trip to the lake is different than the time he went to the same lake with his dad.
Critique: Use of vivid imagery and adjectives, figurative Language, power of expressing/connecting personal experiences to the present through literal and abstract means.
Historical Impact: Demonstrates the passage of time and changes in technology over the span of 30 years.
Henry David Thoreau
There comes a time when it is necessary to break ties with oppressive power & establish a new government
Should not be taken lightly; 27 offenses of King George III are proven
People of the colonies are breaking from Great Britain and establishing themselves as the United States of America
Ethos: written by Thomas Jefferson
Pathos: use of words such as "despotism" and "tyranny"
Logos: lists 27 particular offenses of King George III
Led to our independence from Great Britain
Helped us receive foreign assistance
Influenced other countries to do the same
Put into writing what Americans believed to be important
Declaration of Independence
Who's On First?
Abbott attempting to identify players on a baseball team to Costello.
The team members names and nicknames can be misconstrued to be questions.
Comedy sketch which was never performed quite the same way each time.
Playful usage of the English language.
Time Magazine named "Who's on First" the best Comedy sketch of the 20th century.
Bud Abbott and Lou Costello
• King’s vision of the future
• Sermon from the steps of Lincoln Memorial to over 200,000 people in Washington, D.C.
• Addressing civil rights issues and racism
• The speech was a call to action
• The speech was full of descriptive and rich writing
• Use of metaphor and repetition
• Allusions and reference to history and other great speeches
• The speech was delivered with eloquence and charisma
• Changed the course of history and the civil rights movement
• One of the most famous speeches ever given
I Have a Dream
Martin Luther King, Jr.
What makes writing good?
Table of Contents
2. Who's on first
3. I have a dream
4. Once more to the lake
5. Thirty Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary
6. How to tell a story
7. The Common Sense Book of Baby Care
8. The Declaration of Independence
9. The Joy Luck Club
10. I know why the caged bird sings