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The Critical/Analytical Response to Text The Craft of Writing an Essay

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The Critical/Analytical Response to Text The Craft of Writing an Essay Part 1 PLANNING THE ESSAY WRITING A THESIS STATEMENT A Think Aloud Process – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Critical/Analytical Response to Text The Craft of Writing an Essay


1
The Critical/Analytical Response to TextThe
Craft of Writing an Essay Part 1
  • PLANNING THE ESSAY
  • WRITING A THESIS STATEMENT
  • A Think Aloud Process

2
Deciding on your thesis statement The first
step to planning your essay
  • The assumption is that you know your text inside
    out and have developed your own ideas in relation
    to the text
  • For a literary essay, you are asked to make a
    debatable claim that demonstrates your insight on
    a specific topic (essential question). Your claim
    should strike the reader as an aha rather than
    a duh observation

3
Critical Essay Question
  • Essay questions normally consist of an essential
    question that can be related to a wide variety of
    texts. For example
  • With reference to the novel or film you studied
    in ELA 20-1, discuss the ideas developed by the
    text creator regarding how individuals struggle
    to come to terms with their sense identity?

4
STEP ONE Interpret the question (work the prompt)
  • Underline the key thematic words - identity,
    struggle, come to terms with
  • develop your own interpretation
  • how do we determine what identity is?
  • how will you define/describe identity?
  • what factors may cause a struggle to come to
    terms with identity?

5
Now work interpretations to suit your chosen
text
  • What do you think the author/director suggests
    about various aspects of identity in your chosen
    text?
  • Who gives the character(s) their sense of
    identity?
  • What gives the character(s) their sense of
    identity?
  • What does the text say about identity?

6
STEP TWODecide on a text and create the question
  • Change the statement into a question (that you
    can answer) related to a specific text of your
    choice
  • How/Why/When (under what circumstances) do / does
    (name character/s) struggle to come to terms with
    their sense of identity in authors (name text)?

7
STEP THREEBrainstorm a subset of questions
  • As you do so, think of possible answers. Let your
    imagination roam over all possible questions
  • How is a sense of identity compromised in the
    text?
  • Which characters (or characters) responses to
    this struggle intrigue me?
  • How does / do the character/s display their
    identity and does their sense of identity change
    throughout the course of the text?
  • How does / do other character/s contribute
    to/reinforce the main characters sense of
    identity?
  • Which characters (or characters) responses best
    demonstrate a struggle with their own sense of
    identity?
  • What is the nature of the characters (or
    characters) struggle (internal/external)?
  • Who or what is holding them back from achieving a
    secure sense of identity?
  • How does the character (do the characters) of
    your choice attempt to create/come to terms with
    a new sense of identity?
  • Is a secure sense of identity achieved in the end
    by the actions of your character(s) and if so how?

8
STEP FOURCreate your claim blueprint your
supporting arguments
  • Look for a pattern (group your ideas) in your
    brainstorming that leads to a potential claim
  • Think of an argument/claim (that contains
    potential for debate)
  • Create at least three supporting arguments that
    support your main argument/claim
  • Be specific have specific incidents from the
    text to back up your point

9
STEP FIVEWrite your thesis
  • A good thesis is not only a debatable claim, but
    also suggests the structure of the paper. The
    thesis allows the reader to imagine and
    anticipate the flow of the paper
  • Your statement should
  • State the topic
  • State your insight/interpretation/claim
  • Refer the text if you have not already done so in
    your introductory paragraph
  • State specific character(s) involved
  • Suggest a sequence of points that logically prove
    the essay's main assertion
  • Be expressed in the present tense

10
FORMULA SENTENCE(When in doubt, try this)
  • Think about it this way
  • By looking at ___, we see that ___ (unique
    insight) which is significant because
  • Write it this way
  • In (name of text), the author (name) develops the
    idea that
  • Consider
  • whether your statement implies cause and effect
    (a leads to statement), makes connections or
    comparisons (an is statement) or comments on a
    theme related to the prompt

11
Examples of formula statements
  • Think about it this way
  • By looking at the way Jamal and Forrester change
    during the course of the film, we see that
    individuals may hide their true identities from
    the people around them and the outside world
    which is significant because it is only when they
    reveal who they really are that they are able to
    live fulfilling lives.
  • Write it this way
  • In the film Finding Forrester, the director, Gus
    Van Sant, develops the ideathat individuals may
    hide their true identities from the people around
    them and the outside world however, it is only
    when they reveal who they really are that they
    are able to live fulfilling lives.

12
STEP SIXTest your thesis against the 5-part MTS
(magic thesis statement) formula
  1. Identify what you are looking at (aspect of
    identity in character/s)
  2. Identify the situation you can see / are
    describing
  3. State where that leads
  4. Point out the significance
  5. Be able to restate your thesis in other words
    literally write a sentence following your thesis
    that begins with in other words

13
LAST STEPTest your thesis (CSSMI) Kiss me
  • Clarity
  • Use straightforward language avoid reference to
    philosophers/philosophies or anything esoteric
  • Specificity
  • Is your thesis it too vague? For example, the
    statement Gus Van Sants characterization
    demonstrates his incredible insight as a
    director" is too vague because your reader can't
    be sure what you mean by "insight" or how it
    relates to "characterization"
  • Strength
  • Make sure you have at least three arguments (in
    mind) that support your thesis
  • Make sure you have evidence for each argument
  • Each argument should be the material for future
    body paragraphs
  • Manageability
  • Can you handle the topic within the time
    frame/space provided?
  • Interest
  • Does it state the obvious (duh)? If it's so
    obvious that nobody could fail to see it, it's
    probably not worth writing about

14
Identity in Finding Forrester Level 3
  • Disadvantaged, basket-ball-playing, black teen,
    Jamal Wallace, meets eccentric, reclusive writer,
    William Forrester. Jamal is a gifted student and
    writer, but he hides his talent from his peers in
    order to be accepted. Likewise, Forrester is a
    prize-winning writer who wants no contact with
    the outside world and lives a life of isolation
    in his small apartment. At some level, both
    characters in the film Finding Forrester are
    denying their true identities at the start of the
    film, and it is only when the two meet that they
    are able to gradually break through the barriers
    that are holding them back from assuming their
    true identities. Director, Gus Van Sant, uses the
    films physical settings, costumes, and the motif
    of literature to explore this idea.
  • Good opening hook. Two main characters are
    introduced, and the notion that identity can be
    hidden is set up briefly to provide context.
    There is no interpretation or explanation given
    of identity. Blueprint needs clarification.
    Expressions such as Likewise and At some
    level should be revisited. Where is the thesis
    statement?
  • How to change to a level 4 see next slide.

15
Identity in Finding Forrester Level 4
  • Disadvantaged, basket-ball-playing, black teen,
    Jamal Wallace, meets eccentric, reclusive writer,
    William Forrester. In the film Finding Forrester,
    the director, Gus Van Sant, develops the idea
    that that individuals may hide their true
    identities from the people around them and the
    outside world however, it is only when they
    reveal who they really are that they are able to
    live fulfilling lives. Although Jamal is a gifted
    student and writer, he hides his talent from his
    peers in order to be accepted. Likewise,
    Forrester is a prize-winning writer who wants no
    contact with the outside world and lives a life
    of isolation in his small apartment. At some
    level, both characters in the film Finding
    Forrester are denying their true identities at
    the start of the film, and it is only when the
    two meet that they are able to gradually break
    through the barriers that are holding them back
    from assuming their true identities. Director,
    Gus Van Sant, uses the films physical settings,
    costumes, and the motif of literature to explore
    this idea.
  • Good opening hook. Two main characters are
    introduced, and the notion that identity can be
    hidden is set up briefly to provide context.
    There is no interpretation or explanation given
    of identity. Thesis statement included. Blueprint
    needs clarification. Expressions such as
    Likewise and At some level should be
    revisited.
  • How to change to a level 5 see next slide.

16
Identity in Finding Forrester Level 3 changed
to a level 5 ()
  • Race. Employment. Family and friends. These are
    all factors that contribute to an individuals
    sense of identity. However, the concept of
    identity is complex because an individuals sense
    of identity is not fixed and is constantly
    evolving as both external and internal
    circumstances change. In the film Finding
    Forrester, director, Gus Van Sant, develops the
    idea that that individuals may hide their true
    identities from the people around them and the
    outside world however, it is only when they
    reveal who they really are that they are able to
    live fulfilling lives. In other words, in order
    to establish an authentic sense of self and to
    live a truly successful life, it is necessary to
    overcome the fears and obstacles that may cause
    an individual to hide vital factors that
    contribute to his identity. In Finding
    Forrester, Jamal Wallace, a disadvantaged,
    basket-ball-playing, black teen, meets William
    Forrester, an eccentric, reclusive writer, and
    the identities of both characters are gradually
    transformed. Because of cultural, environmental,
    and self-imposed restrictions, both Jamal and
    Forrester hide their true identities, Jamal
    conforming to stereotypical behaviour to achieve
    the acceptance of his peers, and Forrester hiding
    from the outside world in the prison of his
    apartment. Neither character is living a
    fulfilling life however, when they both face
    their challenges and fears, they are able to
    reveal their true identities and achieve their
    full potential. Director, Gus Van Sant, uses the
    films physical settings to convey the
    limitations placed upon the characters by their
    environments, the motif of literature to create a
    link between Jamal and Forrester, and clothing to
    depict Jamals and Forresters emerging and
    new-found identities.
  • What is good about this introduction?
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