To answer the how, you must observe. To answer the why, you must analyze. If you can formulate a strong, focused thesis statement, the rest of the essay will write itself. Not really—but it will be easier because “well begun is half done.” To take the different elements or components and determine their purpose as part of a whole To examine carefully and in detail so as to identify authorial purpose To determine the nature and relationship of the elements of literature Part to whole is an essential concern of analysis: why and how does the author use certain elements to create meaning Your focus is the PROMPT AP = Address the Prompt Make sure you have a clear understanding of what the prompt asks before you plunge in; don’t twist it to suit what you want to write about. Too many great essays go down in flames because the student simply did not respond to the prompt. Echo wording of the prompt without parroting the prompt. Include brief background of the book/character, specifically parts of the novel/play/poem which connect to the prompt. Include a strong, clear thesis sentence. Avoid lists: “The writer uses words such ___, ___ and ____ to show ___.” Avoid fluff. Your opinion on the Iraq war and your unreasonable parents have nothing to do with the task. Avoid sweeping generalizations. Avoid judgmental adjectives (this one is worth repeating). The organic approach means several things. You develop a thesis AFTER you assemble your evidence. Your evidence leads to analysis and your analysis leads to an arguable thesis. Your argument develops organically: you begin at the beginning and end at the end— just like the author did! This naturally leads to better coherence. Examples from the book provide evidence for your analysis. Show, don’t tell, and be sure you provide a clear explanation of the evidence’s relevance to your analysis. What is its significance to the work, your thesis and the prompt? When writing about literature, verb tense should be PRESENT. Why? Because every time one reads the story/play/poem, the same actions take place: Huckleberry takes to the river, Lear dies, Dante descends into Hell. Don’t use first person! Why? We know it’s your opinion-you wrote it! Choose a distinguished novel or play in which some of the most significant events are mental or psychological; for example, awakenings, discoveries, changes in consciousness. In a well-organized essay, describe how the author manages to give these internal events the sense of excitement, suspense, and climax usually associated with external action. Do not merely summarize the plot. In Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, all of the true excitement and climax happens within the mind of Billy. Thesis does not say why this is important. A critic has said that one important measure of a superior work of literature I its ability to produce in the reader a healthy confusion of pleasure and disquietude. Select a literary work that produces this “healthy confusion.” Write an essay in which you explain the sources of the “pleasure and disquietude” experienced by readers of the work. Avoid plot summary. A work of literature is only as interesting to the reader as its ability to create a “healthy confusion.” A healthy confusion is what makes the reader keep reading. In Joseph Heller’s Catch 22, Heller is able to create this confusion by creating humorous yet illogical cases during the second half of WWII. Life, as we know it, progresses in a linear time-table. There is first the birth of life from a mother’s womb, then the growth of the baby into a child, and continuing through time until the death of the individual. This is not the case for Billy Pilgrim in Slaughterhouse Five. Billy Pilgrim is unstuck in time. The concept of time being a linear progression does not apply to Billy Pilgrim. As the novel unfolds, Billy is constantly traveling back and forth through time. The abrupt and sudden changes in the setting and time of life of Billy Pilgrim leaves readers gasping for breath as they try to keep up with the time traveling Billy. Through the extensive development of Billy Pilgrim and his unique characteristic of time traveling, Kurt Vonnegut produces a “healthy confusion” in readers who have to determine for themselves how to view certain events in the life of Billy Pilgrim through the ever-changing time lens. Never Let Me Go, a novel written by Kazuro Ishiguro, combines the unrealistic and futuristic storyline with realistic features of human emotion. The concept of human cloning has not developed into a reality, yet Ishiguro uses present tense in the novel to bring a closer feel to the readers. Such grammatical elements and the show of realistic emotions allow the unheard-of storyline to have a more plausible feel that readers can connect with. To produce “healthy confusion” on the reader’s part is a challenge many novels seem to be to take on. A multitude of novels have one significant effect on their readers, be it satisfaction, disappointment, confusion, anxiety or any additional categories that come to mine. Never Let Me Go, however, proves to stand out of the spectrum with its puzzling effects on the reader. The novel leaves one neither upset nor elated, as its meaning is very debatable and unique.