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Idea Outlines

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... ideas for writing critically about literature. The Idea Outline Form ... Ie: something specific about the human condition, character, or certain situations ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Idea Outlines


1
Idea Outlines
  • Gathering and organizing ideas for writing
    critically about literature

2
The Idea Outline Form
  • Most weeks you will have an Idea Outline due. 
    The main point behind an idea outline is to get
    you to think about the work you're looking at and
    make an argument about it.  The Idea Outline is
    set up in a form that you can download here. 
    (Its also linked on the Course Content page.)
  • You can find a version of this that is
    printer-friendly here.
  • (I suggest you save the file, and each time you
    do an outline, save it using "save as," and give
    it a new title, for example IdeaOulineFrost.rtf. 
    This way you can always go back to the original
    document and not have to erase what you write
    before.)

3
Critical Analysis Content and Structure
  • First, we have to think about the general
    structure of writings about literature.
    Basically, most critical writings about
    literature a structured like this

4
Introduction
  • Sets the context by sharing the general topic.
    Ie something specific about the human condition,
    character, or certain situations
  • Provides the name of the author and title of the
    work, properly formatted. (Often this is in
    conjunction with the thesis.)
  • Provides a clear thesis, that can be checked by
    answering the following questions
  • Thesis checklist
  • Does the thesis go beyond an apparent fact from
    the story?
  • Is the thesis arguable?
  • Is the thesis supportable with specific (direct
    quotes or very specific) examples from the story?
  • Is the thesis related to an element of fiction?

5
Body
  • The body of the essay should work to explain and
    illustrate the main point made in the thesis.
    With each point you make, you should
  • Provide specific reasons for your belief in your
    thesis.
  • Support those beliefs with evidence from the
    text direct quotes, paraphrases, or very
    specific examples.
  • Interpret the evidence youve given explain how
    the evidence shows or illustrates the reason.
  • Connect the evidence and interpretation to the
    thesis. Make sure to explain how this specific
    moment plays a role in or supports the thesis.
  • Sometimes the last two points will be merged.

6
Conclusion
  • The conclusion should bring the paper together.
    Options for this include
  • Discussion of how the specific examples add up to
    illustrate something more about the general topic
    set up in the introduction.
  • OR
  • Discussion of how the work gives us a deeper
    understanding of the human condition, character
    or situations through the authors use of the
    particular element.

7
Where to start
  • When you start to get ideas for an essay, the
    best place to start may not always be at the
    beginning.  Sometimes you may know exactly what
    you want to talk about (you may be blessed with a
    working thesis) if so, then you can start with
    developing your thesis.  For example, if you have
    been given a question to answer about a story,
    then the answer to that question is your thesis. 
    You can work through the outline beginning with
    your thesis, then go back and develop your
    introduction to round it out.

8
  • However, it doesnt always happen that way.  If
    youre working with a wide open choice of what to
    write about, the first thing you want to
    familiarize yourself with are the basic elements
    of literature and how they work.  In your
    literature textbook there are chapters that deal
    with each element (plot, character, setting,
    etc.).  At the beginning of the chapter is a
    discussion of the basic workings of the element
    at the end of the chapter is a discussion of how
    to write about the element.  In this case, you
    should be using your literature book as a
    reference tool.  We will of course discuss these
    elements in our course, but each of you will
    select different things to write about so should
    review the specifics on your own.

9
Starting with Evidence
  • If you find a specific element stands out for you
    in a story or a poem, think about what it is that
    makes it work or makes it unique in the story. 
    For example, you might decide that you want to
    look carefully at setting and how it relates to
    Mathildes character in The Necklace.  After
    reviewing the discussions of setting and
    character in fiction as discussed in your
    literature book, you are ready to go.  One of the
    easiest places to start is with evidence.  You
    can go through and find places in the story that
    the setting seems to play a role.  Here is a
    quote Ive found that might work

10
  • She suffered because of her grim apartment with
    its drab walls, threadbare furniture, ugly
    curtains.  All such things, which most other
    women in her situation would not even have
    noticed, tortured her and filled her with
    despair. (5)
  • The five in parenthesis is my in-text citation. 
    It shows the page number where I read the
    information. See pages 370-373 in you Writers
    Reference for instructions on how to do this.)

11
  • However, I can't just throw the quote out there
    in between my sentences and think it's clearly
    related and that my point will be evident to my
    reader.  Instead I need to blend it with a
    sentence that places it in context, considering
    cutting out those details I won't need, or at
    least summarizing them.  I might do that like
    so 
  •  
  • There the narrator comments on her suffering
    because of the apartment's walls, furniture and
    curtains, but goes on to point out that other
    women in   her situation would "not even have
    noticed" these things yet they "tortured   her
    and filled her with despair" (5).
  •  
  • First I've summarized or paraphrased much of the
    quote I selected to use.  Use only the details
    that support your point.  Also, in the second
    half of the sentence, I've blended my words with
    the authors, but am careful to show where his
    begin with the use of quotation marks.  The
    general rule of thumb is if you use three or more
    words sequentially as they appear in the text you
    use quotation marks.
  •  

12
  • Integrating sources is discussed in The Writers
    Reference on pages 362-369. You should
    familiarize yourself with the discussion there,
    as this is one of the things that will make the
    biggest difference in your writing style.  (I
    believe its the key thing in making your writing
    sound like college level writing.  Of course, you
    have to have good ideas behind it.)

13
Discussion/Interpretation
  • If you don't explain how that evidence shows or
    illustrates your points, then you've left your
    ideas out of the work.  So, I ask what this shows
    me about my Mathildes character as revealed
    through the setting.  I would answer that by
    saying 
  •  
  • Mathilde is not other women.  She is not
    satisfied with what they would realize as
    acceptable considering their husbands' incomes
    and positions.   Instead, her disdain of her
    apartment and home illustrate a clear pride,  
    showing that she doesn't feel as if these things
    are quite good enough.
  •  
  • In essence, I'm telling you what I read between
    the lines when I read this quote.  Now there's
    just one more step, then we'll take a look at how
    this process comes together.

14
Connecting
  • As you work with each reason, your connection
    should show the role it plays in your thesis. If
    you dont have a thesis yet, think about how it
    illustrates some main idea. Heres an example of
    what I might say about the quote and my
    interpretation

15
  • By providing readers with an insight into
    Mathilde's character at the beginning of the
    story we are able to see in her the
    characteristics that are sometimes found in
    people around us often people are dissatisfied
    with what they have and this dissatisfaction can
    be played out through an attitude that speaks of
    pride but lacks the responsibility to do
    something about it.  Mathilde is just such a
    character, so she suffers despite the fact she
    should be happy, vainly wishing for what she
    doesn't have and all the while cursing what she
    does have.
  •  
  • Here I've shown not only how Maupassant uses
    Mathilde's character at the beginning of the
    story, but how that character relates to the
    human condition.  While this one paragraph does
    not illustrate the whole of the thesis, and it
    shouldn't, it sets the stage for the readers.

16
Thesis
  • To develop your thesisif youre working from
    evidence firsttake a look at your evidence and
    discussion/interpretation together.  What does it
    point out about that main topic, here character
    and setting?  To put this together for your
    reading pleasure, I had to go through The
    Necklace and look for other points about
    character and setting.  When I put those together
    with the one Ive shown you here, I came up with
    this thesis

17
  • Through looking at Mathilde's growth as a
    character in relation to the settings she exists
    in, it's apparent that Maupassant uses her to
    show one aspect of the human condition and
    illustrate how vanity and pride can be changed
    into responsibility and practicality.

18
  • While the single example Ive given you above,
    does not reveal all of the ideas in the thesis,
    other parts of the work do.  Ive made sure that
    my thesis fits the thesis criteria
  •  
  • its not a simple fact or basic conclusion from
    the reading,
  • its arguable and supportable, and
  • its linked to literary ideas.

19
Beyond The Idea Outline
  • While your idea outlines are homework, you should
    also use them to develop your essays.  To do
    that, you put the parts together, filling in and
    smoothing out as necessary.  To give you a quick
    picture of that, heres how a body paragraph
    using the evidence and discussion/interpretation
    Ive shown you above might look in a final draft

20
  • The first setting readers see Mathilde in is her
    small apartment, where she  is clearly proud and
    vain.  There the narrator comments on her
    suffering because of the apartment's walls,
    furniture and curtains, but goes on to point out
    that other women in her situation would "not even
    have noticed" these things yet they "tortured her
    and filled her with despair"(5).  Mathilde is not
    other women.  She is not satisfied with what they
    would realize as acceptable considering their
    husbands' incomes and positions.  Instead, her
    disdain of her apartment and home illustrate a
    clear pride, showing that she doesn't feel as if
    these things are quite good enough.  By
    providing   readers with an insight into
    Mathilde's character at the beginning of the
    story we are able to see in her the
    characteristics that are sometimes found in
    people around us often people are dissatisfied
    with what they have and this dissatisfaction can
    be played out through an attitude that speaks of
    pride but lacks the responsibility to do
    something about it.  Mathilde is just such a
    character, so she suffers despite the fact she
    should be happy, vainly wishing for what she
    doesn't have and all the while cursing what she 
    does have.

21
Dos and Donts
  • Do quote the text and correctly cite it!
  • Do use the correct convention for a writers
    name!
  • Dont summarize the whole work!
  • Dont use a quote or specific example unless it
    directly relates to your thesis or point.
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