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Writing the Body Paragraphs of your Literary Argument Paper

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1 Writing the Body Paragraphs of your Literary Argument Paper

2 This is where you prove your thesis.
Why Body Paragraphs? This is where you prove your thesis. For example, if you are claiming that George murders Lennie in Of Mice and Men because he is selfish and longs for a solitary life, the body paragraphs you organize and craft will prove that he has that quality and it causes him to commit murder.

3 T Topic Explanation Examples Analysis Summary E X A S

4 T: Topic Sentence 1. Introduces your reader to the main idea of the paragraph. 2. One sentence is usually sufficient here, just enough to specify what you’re talking about. For example: “Lennie’s murder is not a crime of blind passion, nor is it a justifiable last act of loving friendship. George is fully aware of the result of his premeditated act of necessity, but he is calmly and methodically able to complete it.” 3. The remainder of the sentences in this paragraph will work toward proving that this is a true statement and how it connects to the main claim/thesis of your paper.

5 Explanation / Background Info.
Here you will elaborate on your topic, giving the reader more information about what it is. Provide your reader with a sentence or two of textual explanation. Set the scene by summarizing the characters that appear, the setting in which the scene occurs, and/or the action that is most relevant directly prior to your first piece of evidence.

6 Examples/Evidence (Quotations)
Literary argument calls for direct quotation from the primary text. Usually two major quotations from the text will be sufficient to support the topic of the paragraph and, in turn, your main claim/thesis statement.

7 Introducing Quotations
X: Introducing Quotations Integrate quotations smoothly into your argument, considering the flow and syntax of the paper, without making any logical or grammatical jolts. All borrowed ideas or words should be accompanied by a signal phrase that names the author or character or otherwise alerts the reader that the information is from a source. Examples: According to Curley’s wife, “’The whole country is fulla mutts,’” (85). Carlson proves the nature of his insensitivity with questions like, “’Now what the hell ya suppose is eatin’ them two guys?’” (105). 3. Always introduce your quotations in some way--either by using something like According to George Milton, " . . ." or by working a part of the quote into one of your own sentences. Don't just slap a quote on a paper like a BandAid.

8 Formatting in-Text Citations (Quotations)
To cite short quotations in your paper, enclose the quotation within double quotation marks. Provide the specific page number after the quotation inside parenthesis. Punctuation marks such as periods, commas, and semicolons should appear after the parenthesis of the citation. Question marks and exclamation points should appear inside the quotation marks if they are a part of the quoted passage but after the parenthesis if they are a part of your text.

9 A: Analysis (Discussion of Quotation)
This is your chance to explain how the quotation supports your claim / thesis. Consider the following: Discuss what happens in the passage and why it is significant to the work as a whole. Consider what is said, particularly subtleties of the imagery, figurative language, and/or the ideas expressed. Assess how it is said, considering how the word choice, the ordering of ideas, sentence structure, etc., contribute to the meaning of the passage. Explain what it means, tying your analysis of the passage back to the significance of the text as a whole and, of course, your claim/thesis.

10 A: Analysis: to pull something apart to carefully examine the pieces.
1. When you analyze a novel, you select lines or passages to INTERPRET and make a claim about the whole work.  2. Analyze the author's mode of expression: Why is this choppy? clear? full of biblical references? written in dialect? 3. Interpret the themes the author has written about: Why is friendship or solitude or othering important?  How does the character learn about or experience this theme? 4. Explain the patterns of imagery, metaphor, and/or symbols the author creates: How does the author’s word choice inform meaning?  Why does the author develop the character this way? Why do specific objects keep coming up in the text? 5. Discuss what happens in the passage and why it is significant to the work as a whole. Why does the author bother to include this passage?How does it work to prove your claim/thesis? 

11 S: Summary (Transition)
1. Each body paragraph should conclude with a wrap-up sentence that shows readers how the evidence and analysis support the claim/thesis.  2. An effective final sentence of a body paragraph helps to transition into the next paragraph by creating a bridge to the next topic sentence. 3. This sentence may restate the body paragraph’s topic in light of the evidence and analysis presented. 4. You may wish to use the transitional language at the beginning of the next paragraph. Examples may include another key point, in like manner, in addition, in the same fashion, equally important, together with, similarly, additionally.

12 MLA Formatting Reminders
1. Always use the present tense when writing about literature.  2. You are writing a formal paper. Do not use contractions, abbreviations, or texting dialect (unless you are quoting these styles directly from the text). 3. Use a 12 point standard font. 4. Double space throughout your essay, including your “Works Cited” page. 5. Put your last name and the page number in the upper right hand corner of each page (including the first page). 6. Titles of books are underlined or italicized.

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