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Building the Freshman Essay 1 This first essay building lesson is based on James Thurber’s short Story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” Students can.

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Presentation on theme: "Building the Freshman Essay 1 This first essay building lesson is based on James Thurber’s short Story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” Students can."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Building the Freshman Essay 1 This first essay building lesson is based on James Thurber’s short Story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” Students can find this selection in their Language of Literature anthologies, beginning on page 6. After students have read this story and discussed it in their freshman English classes, they can answer the following essay prompt: Analyze why the protagonist in James Thurber’s short story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” dreams and examine their impact on his life.

3 Building the Freshman Essay 2 After reading the story, students should read the essay prompt and decide what the question is asking the students to write about. The prompt, “Analyze why the protagonist in James Thurber’s short story ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ dreams and examine their impact on his life,” asks students to analyze why Walter dreams and to explain how these dreams affect his life.

4 Prewriting is the first step in the writing process: Prewriting 3 Some students like to brainstorm: Why did Walter dream? Make a list of 3-5 reasons why you think Walter dreamed The essay prompt also asks students to explain how these dreams affected Walter. Can you list 3-5 ways? , 4. 5.

5 Prewriting 4 Prewriting is the first step in the writing process: Some students like to cluster: 1.Why did Walter dream? 2.How did these dreams affect Walter’s Life?

6 Shaping the Essay 5 Shaping the essay is the second step in the writing process. 2 nd paragraph Why did Walter dream? 3 rd paragraph How did these dreams affect Walter’s Life? The thesis statement and two supporting topic sentences form the core of the essay. 1 st paragraph Thesis Statement that addresses prompt and in form of opinion

7 The introduction is composed of three sentences: Shaping the Essay 6 1. The first sentence introduces an important theme from the story. In order to be successful in life, people must learn from life’s experiences.

8 The introduction is composed of three sentences: Shaping the Essay 7 2. The second sentence introduces the literary selection’s title, author, plot, setting, and characters. In James Thurber’s classic short story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” the protagonist escapes from the realities of everyday life in World War II America by creating heroic fantasies.

9 The introduction is composed of three sentences: Shaping the Essay 8 3. The third sentence is the thesis statement. It addresses the essay prompt and is written in the form of an opinion. Walter Mitty, the famous dreamer of American fiction, does not possess the inner strength and confidence to make his dreams come true.

10 We now have a three sentence introduction: First Draft 9 In order to be successful in life, people must learn from life’s experiences. In James Thurber’s classic short story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” the protagonist escapes from the realities of everyday life in World War II America by creating heroic fantasies. Walter, the famous dreamer of American fiction, does not possess the inner strength and confidence to make his dreams come true. The order of these sentences may be varied.

11 Shaping the Essay 10 Each body paragraph is composed of eight sentences: 2 nd paragraph Why did Walter dream? Why did Walter dream? Make a list of 3-5 reasons why you think Walter dreamed. 1.Walter dreams to escape To write the topic sentence for the first body paragraph, reread the essay prompt and look at the ideas you generated in the brainstorming or clustering activity. Walter dreams to escape

12 Shaping the Essay 11 Now, try to turn your best idea into a topic sentence for your first body paragraph that analyzes why Walter dreams. Why did Walter dream? Make a list of 3-5 reasons why you think Walter dreamed. 1.Walter dreams to escape 2 nd paragraph Why did Walter dream? Walter dreams to escape Mr. Mitty dreams of heroism to escape the reality of his own existence.

13 Shaping the Essay 12 The second sentence in your body paragraph is a concrete detail that is introduced by words like ”For example,” 1.TS 2.CD For example, (A concrete detail from text, selected to support topic sentence) Remember to use parenthetical documentation for your quotations. For example, Walter dreams of flying a Navy hydroplane through one of the worst storms of World War II when his wife brings him back to reality by complaining, “Not so fast! You’re driving too fast,” (Thurber 7).

14 Shaping the Essay 13 1.TS 2.CDFor example, 3.CM(This example shows that…) Commentary sentence that analyzes the evidence presented in the prior concrete detail sentence Harsh criticism by his wife and other characters like the parking lot attendant, who complains about Walter’s inability to even back up his own car, sends Walter scurrying for cover in a heroic world of his own creation.

15 Shaping the Essay 14 1.TS 2.CD For example, 3.CM(This example shows that…) 4.CM(This is because…) Commentary sentence that delves deeper into ideas presented in the prior commentary sentence The characters in Walter’s dreams defer to his judgment and admire his ability to fly behind enemy lines or perform open heart surgery without showing signs of fear.

16 Shaping the Essay 15 1.TS 2.CDFor example, 3.CM(This example shows that…) 4.CM (This is because…) 5.CDIn addition, or In contrast, Second concrete detail sentence with integrated evidence that supports the topic sentence In contrast to Walter’s dream world, his wife threatens, “ I’m going to take your temperature,” when he asserts, “I was thinking,” (Thurber 11).

17 Shaping the Essay 16 1.TS 2.CDFor example, 3.CM(This example shows that…) 4.CM (This is because…) 5.CDIn addition, or In contrast, 6.CM (This example shows that…) Walter would like to be daring and admired like the characters in his dreams, but he lacks their strength.

18 Shaping the Essay 17 1.TS 2.CDFor example, 3.CM(This example shows that…) 4.CM (This is because …) 5.CDIn addition, or In contrast, 6.CM (This example shows that…) 7.CM (This is because …) Walter’s lack of self-confidence prevents him from performing these heroic deeds outside the security of his own dream world.

19 Shaping the Essay 18 1.TS 2.CDFor example, 3.CM(This example shows that…) 4.CM (This is because …) 5.CDIn addition, or In contrast, 6.CM (This example shows that…) 7.CM (This is because …) 8.CSconclude and make transition As a result, Walter’s dreams only provide a temporary refuge from his everyday life.

20 Shaping the Essay 19 The first body paragraph: Mr. Mitty dreams of heroism to escape the reality of his own existence. For example, Walter dreams of flying a Navy hydroplane through one of the worst storms of World War II when his wife brings him back to reality by complaining, “Not so fast! You’re driving too fast,” (Thurber 7). Harsh criticism by his wife and other characters like the parking lot attendant, who complains about Walter’s inability to even back up his own car, sends Walter scurrying for cover in a heroic world of his own creation. The characters in Walter’s dreams defer to his judgment and admire his ability to fly behind enemy lines or perform open heart surgery without showing signs of fear. In contrast to Walter’s dream world, his wife threatens, “ I’m going to take your temperature,” when he asserts,“I was thinking,” (Thurber 11). Walter would like to be daring and admired like the characters in his dreams, but he lacks their strength. Walter’s lack of self-confidence prevents him from performing these heroic deeds outside Continued

21 the security of his own dream world. As a result, Walter’s dreams only provide a temporary refuge from his everyday life. Shaping the Essay 20 You can now repeat these steps and write the second body paragraph on your own: 3 rd paragraph How did his dreams affect his life? The essay prompt also asks students to explain how these dreams affected Walter. Can you list 3-5 ways? 1. Brainstorming Clustering

22 Shaping the Essay 21 1.TSIn form of opinion: Why did Walter dream? 2.CDFor example, 3.CM(This example shows that…) 4.CM (This is because …) 5.CDIn addition, or In contrast, 6.CM (This example shows that…) 7.CM (This is because …) 8.CSconclude and make transition Second body paragraph:

23 Shaping the Essay 22 The conclusion may sum up your ideas, reflect on what is said in the paper, or give a personal statement about the subject. You may summarize, review, or restate the thesis in different words; echo methods used in introduction; make an appeal for action; or relate the essay to the reader’s interest. Dreams are an important part of life. They can inspire humanity to set and achieve goals that can improve the quality of life. Unfortunately, Walter Mitty lacks the strength and determination to bring his dreams to fruition.

24 First Draft 23 In order to be successful in life, people must learn from life’s experiences. In James Thurber’s classic short story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” the protagonist escapes from the realities of everyday life in World War II America by creating heroic fantasies. Walter, the famous dreamer of American fiction, does not possess the inner strength and confidence to make his dreams come true. Mr. Mitty dreams of heroism to escape the reality of his own existence. For example, Walter dreams of flying a Navy hydroplane through one of the worst storms of World War II when his wife brings him back to reality by complaining, “Not so fast! You’re driving too fast,” (Thurber 7). Harsh criticism by his wife and other characters like the parking lot attendant, who complains about Walter’s inability to even back up his own car, sends Walter scurrying for cover in a heroic world of his own creation. The characters in Walter’s dreams defer to his judgment and admire his ability to fly behind enemy lines or perform open Continued

25 heart surgery without showing signs of fear. In contrast to Walter’s dream world, his wife threatens, “ I’m going to take your temperature,” when he asserts,“I was thinking,” (Thurber 11). Walter would like to be daring and admired like the characters in his dreams, but he lacks their strength. Walter’s lack of self-confidence prevents him from performing these heroic deeds outside the security of his own dream world. As a result, Walter’s dreams only provide a temporary refuge from his everyday life. (Your second body paragraph should explore how these dreams affect his life) First Draft 24 Dreams are an important part of life. They can inspire humanity to set and achieve goals that can improve the quality of life. Unfortunately, Walter Mitty lacks the strength and determination to bring his dreams to fruition.

26 Revising the Essay 25 1.Reread your essay and check for misspellings, fragments, run-ons, and awkward syntax. 2.Check to make sure your concrete details are specific and support the paragraph’s topic sentence. Be sure to use proper parenthetical documentation for your quotations. 3.Did you use a variety of concrete detail styles in your essay: Paraphrase Quotations integrated into the beginning of CD sentences. [“You’re driving too fast,”Mrs. Mitty hollered at Walter, (Thurber 7). Quotations inserted into the middle of CD sentences. [See slide 15 for an example.] Quotations integrated into the endings of CD sentences. ]See slide 12 for an example.]

27 Revising the Essay 26 4.Does your first commentary sentence of each chunk comment on the prior CD sentence? 5.Does the second CM sentence of each chunk explore the ideas of the first CM sentence at a greater depth? 6.Do concluding sentences (CS) provide closure to ideas discussed in the paragraph, and if needed, do they transition readers to the next paragraph? 7.Does your conclusion sum up your ideas, reflect on what is said in the paper, or give a personal statement about the subject?

28 Revising the Essay Did you avoid the use of first person pronouns? I, me, we, us 9. Did you avoid the use of second person pronouns? you, your, yours 10.Did you write in the literary present tense? Walter Mitty is an imaginative dreamer. not Walter Mitty was an imaginative dreamer.

29 The Finished Essay 28 Please make sure your final draft follows the GHHS essay guideline: Assignment Heading: Located in the upper right corner Student’s first and last name Teacher’s name Period and subject Date Centered above first line of writing Assignment title

30 The Finished Essay 29 Please make sure your final draft follows the GHHS essay guideline: Assignment Style Sheet: Computer printout or blue or black ink One side of paper only One inch margins 12 point type size or teacher preference Double-spaced or teacher preference Times New Roman, Geneva, or Helvetica font

31 The Finished Essay 30 Before turning in your essay, please attach: a GHHS cover sheetcover sheet Freshman Essay ChecklistEssay Checklist Your final draft Your completed Shaping the EssayShaping the Essay All drafts Essay Rubric Good luck on your first essay!


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