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Writing the Response-to-Literature (RTL) Essay

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Title: Writing the Response-to-Literature (RTL) Essay


1
Writing the Response-to-Literature (RTL)Essay
  • Adapted from Wohlstattar, Thousand Oaks High
    School
  • Based on Jane Schaffers format for writing the
    response to literature essay

2
Take exceptional notes of this information!
This will help you throughout all essay writing.
Seriously, take notes.
Start NOW!
3
(No Transcript)
4
Introductory Paragraph -- Like a funnel, start
with a broad connection to the topic and then
hone in on your point (thesis).
Diagram
5
INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPH the first paragraph in
your essay. Attention Grabber (AG) -- a
creative beginning, meant to catch your readers
interest Title and Author use in the first
couple sentences of your essay Background/Set-up/B
rief summary -- provides essential background
about the literary work and prepares the reader
for your major thesis Thesis Statement -- a
sentence or two in your first paragraph that
presents your argument to the reader, usually at
the end of the paragraph. It is a good idea to
UNDERLINE this sentence(s).
6
  • Attention Grabber (AG) a creative beginning,
    meant to catch your readers interest. Ways of
    beginning creatively include the following
  • A startling fact or bit of information
  • 2) A snatch of dialogue between two characters
  • 3) A meaningful quotation (from the work or
    another source)
  • A universal idea
  • 5) A rich, vivid description of the setting
  • 6) An analogy or metaphor

7
Attention Grabber (AG) Examples
  • Rational. Intelligent. Pragmatic. These three
    words describe . . .
  • The power of knowledge is a dangerous thing.
  • The adage walking in someone elseshoes never
    made such an impression on a little girl until
    they were uttered to Scout.

8
Title Author Sentence Example
  • Rational. Intelligent. Pragmatic. These three
    words describe Atticus Finch, one the main
    characters and father of Scout and Jem Finch in
    Harper Lees novel, To Kill A Mockingbird.

9
Background/Set-up/Brief summary -- provides
essential background about the literary work and
prepares the reader for your major thesis
Keep in mind that your audience (your teacher
or classmate) has read the literature however,
they have not analyzed it in the same way you
have.
Keep your summary BRIEF! (no more than four
sentences)
10
Background/Set-up/Brief summary Example
  • In the novel, the Finch children learn a valuable
    lesson about racism and the prejudice ideals of
    others growing up in Maycomb, Alabama. Through a
    short few years, Jem and Scout become aware
    through the trial of Tom Robinson and the silent
    crucifixion of neighbor Boo Radley, that what
    their father has taught them about treating
    people fairly and with respect, is not always the
    manner everyone uses towards others during the
    south in the 1930s.

11
THESIS STATEMENT a sentence or two in your first
paragraph that presents your argument to the
reader, usually at the end of the paragraph
Note -- Some thesis statements are divided,
hinting at what the two or three body paragraphs
will be about.
12
THESIS STATEMENT Examples
Thesis statement Atticus was a good role model
who conveyed moral ideals to live by for Jem and
Scout.
Thesis statement (divided) Atticus was a good
role model for Jem and Scout because he taught
them to respect all people regardless of their
station in life, to walk in others shoes when
doubtful of another person, and to be brave in
the face of adversity.
13
Thesis with 3 major reasons
Reason 1 discussed in this paragraph
Reason 2 discussed in this paragraph
Reason 3 discussed in this paragraph
Final thoughts
14
BODY the support paragraphs of your essay. These
paragraphs contain supporting examples (textual
evidence) and analysis or explanation
(commentary) for your topic sentences. Each
paragraph in the body includes (1) a topic
sentence/support thesis, (2) integrated
evidence/examples, (3) commentary/explanation for
evidence/examples, and (4) a concluding sentence.
15
Jane Schaffer Writing Strategy
  • How to Write an
  • Effective Body Paragraph

16
How to write an Effective Body Paragraph
  • Blue is for Topic Sentences and Concluding
    Sentences (TS and CS)
  • Red is for Evidence (E)
  • Green is for Commentary (CM) sentences.

17
Step 1 TOPIC SENTENCE
  • A Topic Sentence (TS) is the top bun of a
    hamburger.
  • TS first sentence of the paragraph.
  • It shows the main idea.
  • It identifies one aspect of the thesis and
    states a primary reason why the major thesis is
    true.

18
Example Topic Sentence (TS)
1) In the fairy tale Cinderella, the main
character feels mistreated.
19
Step 2 EVIDENCE
  • Textual Evidence (E) is the meat of the hamburger.
  • Es quoted passages or paraphrased facts from
    the story
  • Es cant be argued withan E is evidence that
    supports your point!

20
More on Textual Evidence . . .
  • a specific example from the work of literature
    used to provide evidence for your topic sentence
    and support your thesis.
  • Evidence can be a combination of paraphrased and
    direct quotation from the work.

21
Example of Paraphrased Evidence (E)
2) For example, Cinderella must do all of the
cooking and cleaning for her family.
22
Integrating Quotes using T-L-Q
  • TRANSITIONAL/LEAD-IN phrase or sentence that
    prepares the reader for textual evidence by
    introducing the speaker, setting, and/or
    situation.

23
T
Transition However,
Lead-in Jem naively explains to Scout that
L
Quote grown folks dont have hidin places
(54).
Q
QuoParPunc Quotation Mark, Parentheses,
Punctuation
24
Step 3 COMMENTARY
  • Commentary Sentences (CM) are the extras on the
    hamburgerthe tomato, cheese, lettuce, mayothey
    make it delicious!
  • Commentary tells the reader what the author of
    the text means or how the evidence proves the
    topic sentence and supports the thesis.
  • CMs your analysis, interpretation, explanation,
    argument, reflection, or insight into the text.

25
Example Commentary Sentences (2 CMs)
3) These chores keep her isolated and friendless.
4) The stepmother is thus able to give
Cinderella even more work, which prevents her
from going to the ball.
26
Tips for Writing Commentary (CM)
  • These sentence starters put the writer into
    commentary-mode
  • This shows . . .
  • This is because . . .
  • This means . . .
  • This reveals . . .
  • This illustrates . . .
  • This highlights the difference between . . .
  • Note As you become a more sophisticated
    writer, you will not need these starter words.

27
Step 4 CONCLUDING SENTENCE
  • A concluding sentence (CS) is the bottom bun of
    the hamburger.
  • It concludes the paragraph by tying the evidence
    and commentary back to the topic sentence and/or
    thesis statement.
  • A CS wraps up the paragraph. It rephrases the
    main idea.

28
Example Concluding Sentence (CS)
  • Therefore, Cinderella
  • feels abused by the very
  • people who are supposed to
  • love her.

29
TS, E, CM, CSNow What?
  • CHUNKS

A combination of Es and CMs is called a chunk.
In English, we will mostly use a combination (or
ratio) of 12. That is, for every 1 E, you
will have 2 CMs.
30
One Chunk 1 E 2 CM
For example, Cinderella must do all of the
cooking and cleaning for her family. These
chores keep her isolated and friendless. The
stepmother is thus able to give Cinderella even
more work, which prevents her from going to the
ball.

Ratio 12
31
LETS EAT!
Now you know how to write a one-chunk paragraph!
Lets read it all together
32
Step 6 A Whole Paragraph
In the fairy tale Cinderella, the main
character feels mistreated. For example,
Cinderella must do all of the cooking and
cleaning for her family. These chores keep her
isolated and friendless. The stepmother is thus
able to give Cinderella even more work, which
prevents her from going to the ball. Therefore,
Cinderella feels abused by the very people who
are supposed to love her.
33
Concluding Paragraph reverse funnel go from
specifics to a broader, universal statement.
Echo your major thesis without repeating words
verbatim.
Then, broaden from the thesis to answer the so
what? question for your reader.
Reflect on how your topic relates to the book as
a whole, give your opinion of the novels
significance, or connect back to your creative
opening. It should relate to all people and
thus, be universal.
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