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Essay Unit 2: Nonfiction [Mirrors & Windows logo] Literary Analysis

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1 Essay Unit 2: Nonfiction [Mirrors & Windows logo] Literary Analysis
Level IV NOTE: This presentation contains slides with fields for recording student responses. Any text you insert will remain in the fields until you delete it manually.

2 Truth is not only stranger than fiction, it is more telling
Truth is not only stranger than fiction, it is more telling. To know that a thing actually happened gives it a poignancy, touches a chord, which a piece of acknowledged fiction misses. —W. Somerset Maugham Lecture Notes Outline Truth is not only stranger than fiction, it is more telling. To know that a thing actually happened gives it a poignancy, touches a chord, which a piece of acknowledged fiction misses. —W. Somerset Maugham Navigation Note In all Unit 2 Literary Analysis presentations, slides 3–6 introduce the genre of nonfiction. If you choose to skip the genre introduction, use the “<skip intro>” button below the quotation. This button will advance the presentation to the introduction of the specific literary element on slide 7. <skip intro>

3 What is nonfiction? Nonfiction is prose writing that explores real
lives places things events ideas Lecture Notes Outline What is nonfiction? Nonfiction is prose writing that explores real lives, places, things, events, and ideas. Extension Options • Ask students to discuss how nonfiction has been traditionally viewed and how that reputation has changed in recent years. • Have students consider what factors have led to the surge in popularity of reading nonfiction. Discuss the current trend of narrative or creative nonfiction. This type of nonfiction uses a narrative format (interesting characters, colorful settings, an engaging story line, and significant themes) to communicate factual information. Have students volunteer titles of nonfiction books that they have read that fall into this category of narrative nonfiction. • Tell students that the American Library Association sponsors the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal, an award given annually to the authors and illustrators of the most distinguished informational book for children and adolescents. One criterion for this award is that the nominated book be suitable for children through age fourteen. For a list of past medal winners, have students visit the American Library Association website at

4 What are the most popular forms of nonfiction?
The most popular forms of nonfiction are biographies autobiographies memoirs essays speeches informational text Lecture Notes Outline What are the most popular forms of nonfiction? The most popular forms of nonfiction are biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, essays, speeches, and informational text.

5 What are your favorite types of nonfiction?
Biographies Self-help books Autobiographies Newspaper, magazine, and Internet articles Eyewitness accounts of newsworthy events Essays Memoirs Lecture Notes Outline What are your favorite types of nonfiction? Possible types include biographies; self-help books; autobiographies; newspaper, magazine, and Internet articles; eyewitness accounts of newsworthy events; essays; and memoirs. Extension Options Discuss with students their experiences with nonfiction, their favorite types of nonfiction and why they like them, and the hallmarks of memorable nonfiction.

6 What are the purposes of nonfiction?
To entertain readers To enlighten readers by providing information, explanation, or instruction To persuade readers to understand a particular viewpoint To offer advice or guidance for readers To present snapshots of the human experience for readers Lecture Notes Outline What are the purposes of nonfiction? Nonfiction can entertain readers; enlighten readers by providing information, explanation, or instruction; persuade readers to understand a particular viewpoint; offer advice or guidance for readers; and present snapshots of the human experience for readers. Extension Options Have students discuss the different purposes of reading nonfiction and fiction and the merits of reading each genre.

7 Essay Essays—particularly those written by humorists—are popular among teenagers. Well-known writers of humorous essays include Mark Twain Dave Barry James Thurber David Sedaris Garrison Keillor Lecture Notes Outline Essays—particularly those written by humorists—are popular among teenagers. Well-known writers of humorous essays include Mark Twain, Dave Barry, James Thurber, David Sedaris, and Garrison Keillor. Extension Options Dave Barry, former syndicated columnist for the Miami Herald, has several collections of essays that students may enjoy. Check out copies of his books at your school or local library, and be sure to preview the selections before you share them with your students.

8 Essay Other popular essayists include Annie Dillard E. B. White
Sandra Cisneros Anna Quindlen Henry David Thoreau Ralph Waldo Emerson Lecture Notes Outline Other popular essayists include Annie Dillard, E. B. White, Sandra Cisneros, Anna Quindlen, Henry David Thoreau, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

9 I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all. —Richard Wright How might essays “tell,” “march,” “fight,” and “create a sense of hunger for life”? Lecture Notes Outline I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all. —Richard Wright How might essays “tell,” “march,” “fight,” and “create a sense of hunger for life”? Navigation Note An interactive text field has been provided to record student responses. Please note that any text you insert will remain in the text field unless manually deleted.

10 Essay and Thesis An essay is a short work that presents a single main idea about a particular topic. This single main idea, called a thesis, is the most important part of an essay. The thesis serves as a compass, providing the direction that the essay will take. The thesis typically appears in an essay’s introduction. Lecture Notes Outline An essay is a short work that presents a single main idea about a particular topic. This single main idea, called a thesis, is the most important part of an essay. The thesis serves as a compass, providing the direction that the essay will take. The thesis typically appears in an essay’s introduction. Extension Options Remind students of the difference between a thesis and a topic sentence. A thesis is the overriding or main idea of an entire written piece; a topic sentence is the main idea of a single paragraph.

11 Essay and Thesis In “It’s Not Talent, It’s Just Work,” the author presents her thesis in the opening paragraph, shown in the excerpt below. It’s hard work, doing something with your life. The very thought of hard work makes me queasy. I’d rather die in peace. Here we are, all equal and alike and none of us much to write home about—and some people choose to make themselves into physicists or thinkers or major-league pitchers, knowing perfectly well that it will be nothing but hard work. But I want to tell you that it’s not as bad as it sounds. Doing something does not require discipline; it creates its own discipline…. —from “It’s Not Talent, It’s Just Work,” by Annie Dillard Lecture Notes Outline In “It’s Not Talent, It’s Just Work,” the author presents her thesis in the opening paragraph, shown in the excerpt below. It’s hard work, doing something with your life. The very thought of hard work makes me queasy. I’d rather die in peace. Here we are, all equal and alike and none of us much to write home about—and some people choose to make themselves into physicists or thinkers or major-league pitchers, knowing perfectly well that it will be nothing but hard work. But I want to tell you that it’s not as bad as it sounds. Doing something does not require discipline; it creates its own discipline…. —from “It’s Not Talent; It’s Just Work,” by Annie Dillard

12 Tone Essays serve a variety of audiences and purposes.
As a result, they adopt different tones, or emotional attitudes toward their readers or subjects. Their tones range from personal and intimate to bold and determined Lecture Notes Outline Essays serve a variety of audiences and purposes. As a result, they adopt different tones, or emotional attitudes toward their readers or subjects. Their tones range from personal and intimate to bold and determined.

13 Types of Essays There are three major types of essays:
expository persuasive personal Some essays fall into just one category; others have elements of two or even all three. All essays have one common purpose: to enlighten readers about themselves and the world around them. Lecture Notes Outline There are three major types of essays: expository, persuasive, and personal. Some essays fall into just one category; others have elements of two or even all three. No matter the type, all essays have one common purpose: to enlighten readers about themselves and the world around them.

14 Expository Essay An expository essay explores a topic with the goal of informing or enlightening readers. Expository essays are also known as informative essays. Lecture Notes Outline An expository essay explores a topic with the goal of informing or enlightening readers. Expository essays are also known as informative essays.

15 Expository Essay An effective expository essay
explains a familiar and relevant topic presents specific points about the topic in a structured format expands on the points using examples uses an objective third-person point of view adopts a formal tone shows a writer’s knowledge of the topic Lecture Notes Outline An effective expository essay explains a familiar and relevant topic, presents specific points about the topic in a structured format, expands on the points using examples, uses an objective third-person point of view, adopts a formal tone, and shows a writer’s knowledge of the topic.

16 The following excerpt comes from an expository essay written to inform readers about the dangers of DDT. In 1962, Rachel Carson’s eloquent and best-selling book, Silent Spring, drew international attention to the environmental contamination wrought by pesticides, particularly the insecticide DDT. Carson cited declines in the number of songbirds due to poisoning as a key piece of evidence…. Thanks partly to the fervor generated by Carson’s book and partly to a study done by the National Institutes of Health which found DDT or its by-products in 100% of the human tissues it examined, DDT and most other organochlorines were banned for use in the United States in the early 1970s. —from “When It Comes to Pesticides, Birds are Sitting Ducks,” by Mary Deinlein Lecture Notes Outline The following excerpt comes from an expository essay written to inform readers about the dangers of DDT. In 1962, Rachel Carson’s eloquent and best-selling book, Silent Spring, drew international attention to the environmental contamination wrought by pesticides, particularly the insecticide DDT. Carson cited declines in the number of songbirds due to poisoning as a key piece of evidence…. Thanks partly to the fervor generated by Carson’s book and partly to a study done by the National Institutes of Health which found DDT or its by-products in 100% of the human tissues it examined, DDT and most other organochlorines were banned for use in the United States in the early 1970s. —from “When It Comes to Pesticides, Birds are Sitting Ducks,” by Mary Deinlein

17 Persuasive Essay A persuasive essay aims to convince readers to accept a certain point of view. Lecture Notes Outline A persuasive essay aims to convince readers to accept a certain point of view.

18 Persuasive Essay An effective persuasive essay
takes a position or stance on a familiar and relevant issue presents arguments that defend that position in a structured format offers evidence such as facts, statistics, and expert opinions to support the arguments uses a subjective first-person point of view adopts a formal tone shows a writer’s knowledge of the issue Lecture Notes Outline An effective persuasive essay takes a position or stance on a familiar and relevant issue; presents arguments that defend that position in a structured format; offers evidence such as facts, statistics, and expert opinions to support the arguments; uses a subjective first-person point of view; adopts a formal tone; and shows a writer’s knowledge of the issue.

19 The following excerpt comes from a persuasive essay that tries to convince readers to advocate for safer pesticides. Along with the possibility of the extinction of mankind by nuclear war, the central problem of our age has therefore become the contamination of man’s total environment with such substances of incredible potential for harm—substances that accumulate in the tissues of plants and animals and even penetrate the germ cells to shatter or alter the very material of heredity upon which the shape of the future depends. —from “The Obligation to Endure,” by Rachel Carson Lecture Notes Outline The following excerpt comes from a persuasive essay that tries to convince readers to advocate for safer pesticides. Along with the possibility of the extinction of mankind by nuclear war, the central problem of our age has therefore become the contamination of man’s total environment with such substances of incredible potential for harm—substances that accumulate in the tissues of plants and animals and even penetrate the germ cells to shatter or alter the very material of heredity upon which the shape of the future depends. —from “The Obligation to Endure,” by Rachel Carson

20 Persuasive and Expository Essay
Rachel Carson’s “The Obligation to Endure” is both a persuasive essay and an expository essay. Carson not only tries to persuade readers to advocate for safer pesticides. She also incorporates facts about the pesticide DDT to inform readers on the subject of pesticide use. Lecture Notes Outline While it is persuasive, Rachel Carson’s “The Obligation to Endure” is also considered an expository essay. Carson has incorporated facts about the pesticide DDT to inform readers on the subject of pesticide use.

21 Personal Essay A personal essay explores a topic related to the life or interests of the writer. Lecture Notes Outline A personal essay explores a topic related to the life or interests of the writer.

22 Personal Essay An effective personal essay has a clear main idea
shares a personal experience or recollection uses a narrative format to tell the story includes descriptive details uses a subjective first-person point of view adopts an informal and intimate tone forges a connection with readers on a life experience Lecture Notes Outline An effective personal essay has a clear main idea, shares a personal experience or recollection, uses a narrative format to tell the story, includes descriptive details, uses a subjective first-person point of view, adopts an informal and intimate tone, and forges a connection with readers on a life experience.

23 The following excerpt comes from a personal essay in which the author reflects on incidents of his childhood. The night after Halloween, we were sitting around watching TV when the doorbell rang.… I ran downstairs…opening the door to discover the entire Tomkey family on our front stoop…. It seemed they had spent the previous evening isolated at the lake and had missed the opportunity to observe Halloween. “So, well, I guess we’re trick-or-treating now, if that’s okay,” Mr. Tomkey said. I attributed their behavior to the fact that they didn’t have a TV, but television didn’t teach you everything. Asking for candy on Halloween was called trick-or-treating, but asking for candy on November first was called begging…. This was one of the things you were supposed to learn simply by being alive…. —from “Us and Them,” by David Sedaris Lecture Notes Outline The following excerpt comes from a personal essay in which the author reflects on incidents of his childhood. The night after Halloween, we were sitting around watching TV when the doorbell rang.… I ran downstairs…opening the door to discover the entire Tomkey family on our front stoop…. It seemed they had spent the previous evening isolated at the lake and had missed the opportunity to observe Halloween. “So, well, I guess we’re trick-or-treating now, if that’s okay,” Mr. Tomkey said. I attributed their behavior to the fact that they didn’t have a TV, but television didn’t teach you everything. Asking for candy on Halloween was called trick-or-treating, but asking for candy on November first was called begging…. This was one of the things you were supposed to learn simply by being alive…. —from “Us and Them,” by David Sedaris

24 Essay Organization Essays tend to be structured pieces.
There are several different ways to organize an essay. The most common organizational methods are chronological order order of importance comparison-and-contrast order cause and effect order Lecture Notes Outline Essays tend to be structured pieces. There are several different ways to organize an essay. The most common organizational methods are: • chronological order • order of importance • comparison-and-contrast order • cause and effect order

25 Chronological Organization
In a chronological method of text organization events are given in the order in which they occurred events are connected by transition words and phrases such as when, next, first, then, finally, at last, and before Lecture Notes Outline In a chronological method of text organization, events are given in the order in which they occurred, and the events are connected by transition words and phrases such as when, next, first, then, finally, at last, and before. Personal essays are often written in chronological order.

26 Chronological Organization
To analyze the text organization of an essay that uses chronological order, use a graphic organizer like a Sequence Map or Time Line. Lecture Notes Outline To analyze the text organization of an essay that uses chronological order, use a graphic organizer like a Sequence Map or a Time Line. Examples of essay selections that use a chronological method of organization include “Aha Moment” by Julia Alvarez, “Us and Them” by David Sedaris, “An Ethnic Trump” by Gish Jen, “Climbing Mount Fuji” by Dave Barry, and “New Directions” by Maya Angelou. Graphic Organizer Sources A blank Sequence Map and Time Line in both interactive and printable PDF formats can be found in the Graphic Organizers section of the Visual Teaching Package. Students may access interactive graphic organizers at

27 Order of Importance Organization
When text is organized by order of importance details are given in order of importance or familiarity details are connected by transition words and phrases such as first, finally, more important, less important, most important, and least important. Lecture Notes Outline When text is organized by order of importance, details are given in order of importance or familiarity, and details are connected by transition words and phrases such as first, finally, more important, less important, most important, and least important.

28 Order of Importance Organization
To analyze the text organization of an essay that is organized by order of importance, use a graphic organizer like a Hierarchy of Details Chart. Lecture Notes Outline To analyze the text organization of an essay that is organized by order of importance, use a graphic organizer like a Hierarchy of Details Chart. Examples of essays that use an order of importance method of organization include “Furor Scribendi” by Octavia Butler and “Homeless” by Anna Quindlen.

29 Comparison-and-Contrast Organization
In a comparison-and-contrast method of organization, the characteristics of two people, objects, or ideas are compared by using an alternating method of organization or a block method of organization The comparison items are connected by transition words and phrases such as similarly, in contrast, a different kind, more, and less. Lecture Notes Outline In a comparison-and-contrast method of organization, the characteristics of two people, objects, or ideas are compared by using an alternating method of organization or a block method of organization. The comparison items are connected by transition words and phrases such as similarly, in contrast, a different kind, more, and less.

30 Comparison-and-Contrast Organization
To analyze the text organization of an essay that uses a comparison-and-contrast order, use a graphic organizer such as a Venn Diagram. Lecture Notes Outline To analyze the text organization of an essay that uses a comparison-and-contrast order, use a graphic organizer such as a Venn Diagram. An example of an essay that uses the comparison-and-contrast method of organization is “An ‘A’ in Failure” by Twyla Tharp. Graphic Organizer Sources A blank Venn Diagram in both interactive and printable PDF formats can be found in the Graphic Organizers section of the Visual Teaching Package. Students may access interactive graphic organizers at

31 Cause and Effect Organization
When text uses a cause and effect method of organization one or more causes are presented, followed by one or more effects or one or more effects are presented, followed by one or more causes Transition words and phrases that indicate cause and effect include consequently, because, therefore, if/then, hence, and since. Lecture Notes Outline When text uses a cause and effect method of organization, one or more causes are presented, followed by one or more effects, or one or more effects are presented, followed by one or more causes. Transition words and phrases that indicate cause and effect include consequently, because, therefore, if/then, hence, and since.

32 Cause and Effect Organization
To analyze the text organization of an essay that uses a cause and effect order, use a graphic organizer such as a Cause-and-Effect Chart. Lecture Notes Outline To analyze the text organization of an essay that uses a cause and effect order, use a graphic organizer such as a Cause-and-Effect Chart. An example of an essay that uses the cause and effect method of organization is “The Obligation to Endure” by Rachel Carson. Graphic Organizer Sources A blank Cause-and-Effect Chart in both interactive and printable PDF formats can be found in the Graphic Organizers section of the Visual Teaching Package. Students may access interactive graphic organizers at

33 SUMMARY: Essay To help you determine the type of essay and the author’s purpose for writing it, ask yourself the following questions after reading: Is the author trying to inform me about a particular subject? Is the author trying to convince me to see his or her side of a topic or an issue? Is the author trying to make a connection with me by sharing an experience that I can relate to in some way? Lecture Notes Outline To help you determine the type of essay and the author’s purpose for writing it, ask yourself the following questions after reading: • Is the author trying to inform me about a particular subject? (expository) • Is the author trying to convince me to see his or her side of a topic or an issue? (persuasive) • Is the author trying to make a connection with me by sharing an experience that I can relate to in some way? (personal)


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