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Writing Survival Guide: The Literary Essay English 1 Honors Dr. Michael R. Suñga.

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Presentation on theme: "Writing Survival Guide: The Literary Essay English 1 Honors Dr. Michael R. Suñga."— Presentation transcript:

1 Writing Survival Guide: The Literary Essay English 1 Honors Dr. Michael R. Suñga

2 What is a Blurb? The very first sentence of an expository essay One sentence only! Includes the title, the genre, the author, and a succinct plot summary of the work Do not focus on themes! Focus on plot! Be aware of proper formatting (especially of the title) and punctuation (especially commas)!

3 Model Blurbs Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare is a tragedy about two lovers whose relationship is forbidden due to their feuding families. The Giver by Lois Lowry is a science fiction novel depicting a seemingly utopian society, which, in actually, turns out to be a community that destroys individuality and family. Night by Elie Wiesel is a first-hand account based on the author’s horrific experiences as an Orthodox Jew in the German concentration camps.

4 What is a Thesis Statement? One succinct sentence that usually follows the blurb (thesis statement = second sentence in the introductory paragraph). The central idea/overarching theme you are trying to prove in your expository essay. The position you are defending in your expository essay. The thesis statement focuses on an original idea that YOU have developed from the reading (Harper Lee)—something that can be substantiated.

5 Model Thesis Statement #1 Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet express a pure love for each other that is spiritual in nature.

6 Model Thesis Statement #2 The Giver by Lois Lowry The society described in The Giver is one of conformity and lack of moral values.

7 Model Thesis Statement #3 Night by Elie Wiesel Night is Elie Wiesel’s medium toward healing and spiritual awakening in light of his experiences in the Holocaust.

8 What is a Topic Sentence? A clear, strong, convincing point of textual evidence that supports the thesis statement. Model Topic Sentence: Romeo and Juliet instantly affirm their love for one other through their “pilgrim’s hands” sonnet.

9 Writing the Introductory Paragraph FIVE SENTENCES ONLY!!! Sentence #1: Blurb Sentence #2: Thesis Statement Sentence #3: Topic Sentence #1 Sentence #4: Topic Sentence #2 Sentence #5: Topic Sentence #3 DO NOT make the paragraph sound like a laundry list. VARY YOUR SENTENCE CONSTRUCTION, especially the sentence openers. Create SMOOOOOOOTH TRANSITIONS between sentences. Please see the Purdue University Online Writing Lab Transitional Devices handout.

10 Writing the Body Paragraph Sentence #1: RE-STATE or RE-WORD the topic sentence from the introductory paragraph. CONTEXTUALIZE the topic sentence by providing a SUCCINCT summary of the event during which the topic sentence takes place. Stay focused. Do not jump around. Stick to one important scene. This portion should be at least 3-5 sentences long. IN PROPER MLA FORMAT, EMBED AN APPROPRIATE QUOTATION FROM THE TEXT THAT SUPPORTS THE TOPIC SENTENCE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PARAGRAPH. The quotation should FLOW in an out of your own narrative. Use a transitional device to indicate that a quote is coming up. BE SURE THE SPEAKER’S NAME IS CLEAR! DO NOT USE LONG QUOTES! If you would like to use a long passage, use ellipses […]. ANALYZE THE QUOTATION FOR HIGHER-LEVEL MEANING. DO NOT SIMPLY SUMMARIZE THE QUOTATION. How does the quotation PROVE the topic sentence? What THEMES arise out of your analysis? Provide a COMMENTARY of the text. This portion should be at least 5 sentences long. The analysis portion of the paragraph should contain the words: “Harper Lee,” “the author,” “the reader,” etc. Use appropriate literary devices in your analysis.

11 Embedded Quotations and Parenthetical Citation in MLA Format NARRATION The narrator says, “When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow” (3). DIALOG Miss Maudie Atkinson says, “‘I think maybe he put his gun down when he realized that God had given him an unfair advantage over most living things’” (98). Remember the exclamation point and question mark rule! Where is the period placed?! Also, notice the quotation marks! What is the difference?! When transitioning into a quote, always use “says.”

12 The Concluding Paragraph… is MORE than just a reiteration of the thesis statement. is MORE than just a reiteration of the subtopics in each body paragraph. challenges the reader to continue thinking about your essay topic. is a “call to action.” makes relevant and/or practical connections to contemporary issues. answers the questions “So what?” “Why should the reader care?” “How would the author respond to your contemporary connections?” must be at least 8-12 sentences.

13 In the Concluding Paragraph, AVOID… restating the thesis statement from the introductory paragraph in the same exact words. listing the main points of each of the body paragraphs. introducing an ENTIRELY new topic. Source of ideas in this slide: E/FIVE/para_concluding.html

14 Creative Title Guidelines The essay title must be CENTERED. DO NOT underline or alter the font of the essay title. ONLY ITALICIZE the title of the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, since it is a work that can stand by itself. The essay title should reflect the themes discussed in the composition.

15 Creative Title Models Romeo and Juliet’s Charitable Love The Giver and Distorted Reality: Examining the Hidden Dystopia Night: Discovering the Spirit in the Midst of Horror and Despair

16 Editor’s Checklist EDITOR’S CHECKLIST: OTHER CONSIDERATIONS Please be sure that you have covered the following areas in your writing: a. General Formatting _____ Times New Roman, size 12 _____ Double Spaced (with no additional spaces, especially between heading and title, title and body paragraph) _____ One-Inch Margins (top, bottom, left, right) _____ Proper Heading _____ Paginations (0.5” from the top of the page, right hand corner) _____ Creative Title (centered) b. Grammar and Mechanics _____ Complete Sentences (NO fragments) _____ Sentence Variations _____ Third person point of view ONLY _____ Present tense ONLY _____ Subject-Verb Agreement _____ NO contractions _____ Commas and Semicolons used correctly _____ NO spelling or capitalization errors


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