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What does it mean to analyze? Did you hear about the meteor that crashed through the roof of a doctor’s office last year and landed on the examining table? How would scientists set about analyzing this meteor, the largest one on record to crash through the atmosphere? What does a literary analysis prove? How the various elements of a literary work relate to each other How two separate literary works deal with similar concepts or forms How concepts and forms in literary works relate to larger aesthetic, political, social, economic, or religious contexts Writing Your Thesis A strong thesis • Expresses topic + opinion • Takes a stand and shows conviction. • Expresses one main idea. • Is specific. • Uses parallel structure to clearly set up supporting details to come in the body paragraphs What’s wrong with that THESIS? Original: Little Red Riding Hood has some negative and positive traits. A. takes no stand, lacks conviction B. scattered; expresses more than one idea C. vague, lacks specific reasons Revised: Innocent yet naive, Little Red Riding Hood faces the world with untested bravery, which leads her to danger in the forest. What's wrong with this thesis? Original: Little Red Riding Hood visits the grandmother to care for her, and the wolf threatens those that travel the forest road. A. takes no stand, lacks conviction B. scattered; expresses more than one idea C. vague, lacks specific reasons Revised: Despite the risk of hungry wolves on the forest road, Little Red Riding Hood travels the dangerous route to care for her sick grandmother. 3. What’s wrong with that THESIS? Original: Fairy tales have many kinds of lessons. A. takes no stand, lacks conviction B. too broad to argue in a short essay C. vague, lacks specific reasons Revised: A tale of innocence and danger, the story of Little Red Riding Hood teaches children the risk of disobeying their parents. Writing Commentary Strong Commentary •Follows each quotation in your body paragraphs •Gives a balance between quoted material and your original interpretation of the work •Proves how the quotation supports your thesis • More than repeating what the quote shows, good commentary interprets what the quote means using the SPIES model Writing Commentary Significance: • what does the quotation mean in relation to your thesis? • how does the context of the quotation establish theme? • what led to this line; how does this line propel actions to come? Purpose: • for what reason does Miller include this quotation and scene? Importance: • how and why is this quotation and scene important? • why is this quotation a money quote? Effect: • how does Miller use literary devices to further theme in this quote? • how does this line show how the character thinks or feels, or what motivates the character, or what the character wants? Suggestion: • what does Miller infer in this quotation? What ideas do you read between the lines? Writing Commentary Topic: Corruption of Power and Hypocrisy Thesis: In The Crucible, Miller portrays a character whose hypocrisy leads to injustice; Judge Danforth’s arrogance drives the court towards duplicity and disaster. Evidence: “postponement now speaks a floundering on my part… If retaliation is [Hale and Parris’s] fear, know this – I should hang ten thousand that dared to rise against the law, and an ocean of salt tears could not melt the resolution of the statutes” (Miller 129). Writing Commentary Topic: Corruption of Power and Hypocrisy Thesis: In The Crucible, Miller portrays a character whose hypocrisy leads to injustice; Judge Danforth’s arrogance drives the court towards duplicity and disaster. Evidence: “postponement now speaks a floundering on my part… If retaliation is [Hale and Parris’s] fear, know this – I should hang ten thousand that dared to rise against the law, and an ocean of salt tears could not melt the resolution of the statutes” (Miller 129). Commentary: Danforth’s refusal to reconsider the death sentence perpetuates the arrogance and short-sightedness that defined his ruling of the case. Moreover, his resolute stance that nothing, not even the hyperbolic metaphor, “an ocean of salt tears,” could alter his stance shows the lengths he will go to protect his position of authority. Nothing can cause him to recant his own hypocrisy. Writing Commentary Strong Verbs for Writing Commentary Yield Illustrate Illuminate Reveal Suggest Clarify Organize Detail Prove Imply Assert Infer State Define Support Construct Argue Reiterate Invoke Present Underlie Dominate Encompass Explain Show Demonstrate Writing Lead-Ins While quotes provide excellent support for your ideas, make sure your voice shines through the paper, not a patchwork of the words of others. So you need lead-ins to smoothly blend the quotes in with your own words. VARY YOUR LEAD INS WITH THREE TYPES SOMEBODY SAYS: a verb indicates someone is speaking (says, notes, exclaims); punctuate with a comma. BLENDED: a portion of the quote is blended into your sentence; there is no punctuation between lead-in and quote. SENTENCE: the lead-in is a complete sentence, and the quote that follows is also a complete sentence; punctuate with a colon. Example: Dejected yet triumphant, Proctor cries, “I want my name” (Miller 12xx). Example: Proctor’s triumph comes in the moment when he realizes his honor is as unconquerable as his name because he “cannot have another” (Miller 12xx). Example: The redemptive power of forgiveness comes when Elizabeth understands Proctor’s sacrifice: “he has his goodness now” (Miller 12xx).