*Now that you’ve printed your author’s biographical information, please choose highlighter colors to annotate it



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Within This PowerPoint, You Will Find Directions on: *Annotation of Author Biography *Thesis Statement *Intro Paragraph *Preliminary Outline Assignment *Intro Paragraph *Author Bio Paragraph *Plot Summary Paragraph *First Lit. Elem/Theme Paragraph

Annotating Your Author Bio

  • *Now that you’ve printed your author’s biographical information, please choose highlighter colors to annotate it.
  • *I will also stamp your chart for author bios and the completed handout.
  • *You will be marking each one for the following items:
  • *Career highlights & awards
  • *Personal events that impact writing style
  • *Major themes/ literary focus/style

Thesis Statements

  • *Let’s put together a strong thesis statement that connects to both literary elements and your chosen theme.
  • *Points to consider:
  • A thesis statement expresses the focus and argument of the essay. 
  • It must PROVE something.  It must take a position.
  • It should be specific, arguable, and interesting.
  • The thesis should use action verbs in PRESENT tense. 
  • Use active voice, not passive voice – meaning that the subject of the sentence should have the action.
  • No "be" verbs are allowed: am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been

Thesis Statements

  • Third person ONLY (no I or you)
  • Is NOT a summary of the story.  It is a judgment or evaluation of some aspect of the story.
  • Each paragraph of the essay will be built to support or prove the thesis.
  • You must “go through” the entire text in your paper…and thus, your thesis must LEAD you through the entire text.  Your thesis does not just address one aspect of the text; you must include the ending!

Thesis Statements

  • Each paragraph of the essay will be built to support or prove the thesis.
  • Please remember that the literary work imparts numerous messages about life in general.  The work will use the particulars (character, conflict, symbols, setting, language and literary devices, etc.) to represent general truths about mankind and life.
  • Examples:
  • Creon is too proud to yield.”  (NOT a thesis statement)
  • “Creon’s uncompromising pride in dealing with the burial of Polynecies ultimately leads to tragedy despite his eventual realization of truth.”

How Do I Know If My Thesis is Strong?

  • Ask yourself the following:
  • Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? Thesis statements that are too vague often do not have a strong argument. If your thesis contains words like "good" or "successful," see if you could be more specific: Why is something "good"; What makes something "successful"?
  • Does my thesis pass the 'So What?' test? If a reader's first response is, "So what?" then you need to clarify, to forge a relationship, or to connect to a larger issue.
  • Does my thesis pass the how or why test? If a reader's first response is "how? or why? your thesis may be too open-ended and lack guidance for the reader. See what you can add to give the reader a better take on your position right from the beginning.
  • Does my essay support my thesis specifically and without wandering? If your thesis and the body of your essay do not seem to go together, one of them has to change. Remember, always reassess and revise your writing as necessary.

Now It’s Your Turn: Thesis Statement

  • Example:
  • (Lit. elements---sensory imagery and characterization; theme: inner workings of the human mind)
  • The sensory imagery and Roderick Usher’s inner conflict both demonstrate the thematic issue of the the inner workings of the human mind in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher.”
  • What could be adapted here?
  • Example: In “The Fall of the House of Usher,” Edgar Allan Poe utilizes the mysterious, morbid and often disturbing Gothic imagery of the Usher House, as well as the macabre descriptions of his corpse-like hypochondriac main protagonist to develop the Victorian Period’s “Dark Romantic” genre, which focused on the inner workings of the mind.

Correct A Thesis

  • In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown,” I think the struggle the main character goes through about his faith and the characterization of symbolic Biblical figures is demonstrating the theme of faith versus doubt during 1690’s Salem.

Corrected Sample

  • Within Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown,” set in religiously strict Puritan Salem, the protagonist’s moral dilemma and his encounter with symbolic Biblical elements exemplifies the struggle between faith and doubt.

Fix This!

  • In Ray Bradbury’s futuristic, virtual reality house in “The Veldt,” the author evaluates the parent-child conflict and the setting of the nursery to display the theme of man vs. machine.

Corrected Sample

  • In Ray Bradbury’s “The Veldt,” set in futuristic 22nd century, the power struggle between parents and children and depiction of the predatory nursery emphasize man’s overdependence upon technology.

Preliminary Outline Assignment

  • *Now that you’ve got your author bios and a basic thesis statement, let’s organize the areas of your essay with a preliminary outline.
  • *You will need a sheet of your own paper, for starters. In your outline, please leave room between each numeral—about five lines.
  • Introduction with Thesis (roughly 5 sentences including thesis)
  • Author Biography Paragraph (roughly 5-7 sentences including quotes)
  • Plot Summary (Don’t write yet)
  • Paragraph One with 1st Lit. Element and Thematic Connection
  • *Include TWO quotes from your story; TWO quotes from a source**
  • *MUST HAVE TEXTUAL DETAILS, TOO!! (in bullet points)
  • V. Paragraph Two with 2nd Lit. Element and Thematic Connection
  • Include TWO quotes from your story; TWO quotes from a source**
  • *MUST HAVE TEXTUAL DETAILS, TOO!! (in bullet points)
  • VI. Conclusion

Intro Paragraphs

  • Introduction: Write one paragraph (about 5 sentences plus your thesis) that begins with a “hook.” Consider a quote, a rhetorical question, or a life connection. Using two transition sentences, relate the “hook” to the thesis statement. Do not use “I” or “You” in this paper! End this paragraph with the thesis statement.
  • Your First Sentence
  • To get your paper off to a great start, you should try to have a first sentence that engages your reader. Think of your first sentence as a hook that draws your reader in. It is your big chance to be so clever that your reader can’t stop.
  • As you researched your topic, you probably discovered many interesting anecdotes, quotes, or trivial facts. This is exactly the sort of thing you should use for an engaging introduction.
  • Consider these ideas for creating a strong beginning.

Surprising fact: The pentagon has twice as many bathrooms as are necessary. The famous government building was constructed in the 1940s, when segregation laws required that separate bathrooms be installed for people of African descent. This building isn’t the only American icon that harkens back to this embarrassing and hurtful time in our history. Across the United States there are many examples of leftover laws and customs that reflect the racism that once permeated American society.

  • Surprising fact: The pentagon has twice as many bathrooms as are necessary. The famous government building was constructed in the 1940s, when segregation laws required that separate bathrooms be installed for people of African descent. This building isn’t the only American icon that harkens back to this embarrassing and hurtful time in our history. Across the United States there are many examples of leftover laws and customs that reflect the racism that once permeated American society.
  • Startling information: This information must be true and verifiable, and it doesn't need to be totally new to your readers. It could simply be a pertinent fact that explicitly illustrates the point you wish to make. If you use a piece of startling information, follow it with a sentence or two of elaboration.
  • Lead Up:
  • A few sentences explaining your topic in general terms can lead the reader gently to your thesis. Each sentence should become gradually more specific, until you reach your thesis.
  • Introduction
  • Broadly discuss the topic within the parameters of the literature
  • Share your focus with the audience
  • End with one-sentence thesis

Intro No To Do’s…

  • Apologize. Never suggest that you don't know what you're talking about or that you're not enough of an expert in this matter that your opinion would matter. Your reader will quickly turn to something else. Avoid phrases like the following:
  • In my [humble] opinion . . . I'm not sure about this, but . . .
  • Announce your intentions. Do not flatly announce what you are about to do in an essay.
  • In this paper I will . . . The purpose of this essay is to . . .
  • Get into the topic and let your reader perceive your purpose in the topic sentence of your beginning paragraph.
  • Use a dictionary or encyclopedia definition.
  • According to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary,a widget is . . .
  • Although definitions are extremely useful and it might serve your purpose to devise your own definition(s) later in the essay, you want to avoid using this hackneyed beginning to an essay.
  • Dilly-dally. Get to it. Move confidently into your essay. Many writers find it useful to write a warm-up paragraph (or two, even) to get them into the essay, to sharpen their own idea of what they're up to, and then they go back and delete the running start.

Peer-Editing of Introductions

  • Read for basic understanding; comment upon content and flow of paragraph
  • Check grammar (use your packet) and make corrections on their paper
  • Evaluate thesis; what is the thematic issue? Is the statement clear?
  • Y/N Is the author, title and area of analysis present in this paragraph?
  • Write 1 strength and 1 weakness and offer ways to improve this work
  • Sign your name as peer editor

Author Bio Paragraph

  • Birth
  • Time Period (ex: “scandalous Roaring 20’s”)
  • Personal experience that influenced writing (connects to thesis concepts—i.e. theme)
  • Main themes or focus leading to your short story
  • Internal documentation (should appear in the last sentence—just one)

Partner Author Bio Check

  • Use the following as a checklist to edit your partner’s paragraph.
  • Read through the paragraph, noting key points. Does your partner make a connection to an element of the thesis (perhaps, theme??)?
  • Edit it for grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc.
  • Do they mention the following elements below?
  • *Birth
  • *Time Period (ex: “scandalous Roaring 20’s”)
  • *Personal experience that influenced writing (connects to thesis concepts—i.e. theme)
  • *Main themes or focus leading to your short story
  • *Internal documentation (should appear in the last sentence—just one)
  • 4) Underline one interesting tidbit about the author that caught your eye.
  • 5) Suggest any improvements.
  • 6) Sign your name next to that paragraph.
  • 7) Turn to your partner and make any comments you think might help.

Writing a Plot Summary (DUE TYPED on BLOCK DAY)

  • To begin with, please either turn your outline over, or take out a sheet of your own notebook paper and follow these steps:
  • 1) Using bullet points, list the main components of the book. This means that you’ll have to describe the setting, the point of view, the protagonist/major characters and theme. A good way to summarize the book's plot is to talk about the climax and resolution as well -- this helps narrow down the most important events in the story.
  • 2) If an event marks a turning point or directly relates to a large event in the story, mention it. If it has no bearing on the direction of the story, leave it out.
  • 3) Discuss the overall mood. What sense did you get from the story (whether it felt depressing, lively, hopeful or scary, for example) ?
  • 4) Using those details, now write one paragraph of plot summary (no more than three of four sentences in your own words. This paragraph will include: 1) a topic sentence with the author’s name and the title of the short story (in quotation marks). Story details should provide an introduction to the main characters and the background for the story’s theme.
  • (For extra help, see the SAMPLE essay’s plot summary paragraph)

Crafting Your Lit. Elem/Theme Paragraph (1st DUE TYPED on BLOCK DAY; 2nd DUE FRIDAY)

  • Now is the time to write the first of two larger paragraphs.
  • Work on a topic sentence that connects to one of your two literary elements
  • (Ex: Faulkner’s use of flashbacks proves that Emily’s greatest flaw is her inability to move forward or let go, making her an outcast of the Southern society she lives in.)
  • Write your analysis BEFORE you begin incorporating textual support in the form of quotes, both from the story and your literary criticism. Each body paragraph will include 2 story, 1 lit. crit. Quote.
  • Work on including connections to the theme within this paragraph. How does your first literary element demonstrate it? Be specific. Use textual details from your story to help support your stance.
  • NOW incorporate quotes. This way, you will not be summarizing what they say, but rather, supporting your own arguments with scholarly criticism.
  • Craft a transition sentence to paragraph two, which reflects one element of your theme.
  • For Paragraph 2, you should have a concluding sentence that wraps up the demonstration of you 2nd Lit. Elem and THEME! 

How to Incorporate Quotes

  • YOUR OWN WORDS SHOULD CLEARLY DOMINATE.
  • You are in control, not your sources. If you rely heavily on other people's words, then you are not writing the paper; they are. You need to paraphrase and summarize your sources as well as quote them.
  • KNOW WHEN TO USE QUOTATIONS:
  • Use quotations to support your argument.
  • A short phrase or sentence is more easily understood than a long quotation.
  • Look for the "kernel" or the most important part of the quotation and extract it.
  • Paraphrase a quotation in your own words when possible.
  • Do not forget to include internal documentation (author page #) at the end of the sentence you incorporate your quote into.
  • DISCUSS YOUR QUOTATIONS.
  • Don't just pop in a quotation and run. Introduce the quotation so that the reader knows its relevance to your text; then discuss its significance in the context of your paper. The longer the quotation, the more likely you will need to double the number of your own words to discuss it.

Incorporating Quotes Part II

  • Incorporate quotations smoothly into your paper:
  • 1) Combine a paraphrase with a quotation.
  • Original: Tania Modleski suggests that "if television is considered by some to be a vast
  • wasteland, soap operas are thought to be the least nourishing spot in the desert" (123).
  • Revised: In her critique of soap operas, Tania Modleski argues that some view
  • television as "a vast wasteland" and soap operas as "the least nourishing spot in the
  • desert" (123).
  • 2) Introduce a quotation by citing the name of the authority combined with a strong verb.
  • Examples:
  • Thoreau believes that "a true patriot would resist a tyrannical majority" (23).
  • Eisenhower admits in retrospect that Sputnik created two problems: the "near hysteria" of the American people and the need "to accelerate missile and satellite perspectives" (211).

Incorporating Quotes Part III

  • 3) Describe or identify the source of information if it is available.
  • Example:
  • In The Coming of Age, Simone de Beavoir contends that the decrepitude accompanying old age is "in complete conflict with the manly or womanly ideal cherished by the young and fully grown" (65).
  • 4) Use key words from the quotation and make them a grammatical part of your sentence.
  • Example:
  • As William Kneale suggests, some humans have a "moral deafness" which is never punctured no matter what the moral treatment (Acton 93). Remember, always provide a context for your quotations -- explain to the reader why and how the quote is relevant to the topic.

Incorporating Quotes Part IV

  • SELECT THE RIGHT VERB AND TENSE. Don't overuse "says" or "states." Here are some alternatives:
  •  acknowledges admits affirms argues asks 
  • believes
  • comments considers criticizes declares 
  • defends explains
  • expresses insists mentions
  • proposes refers reveals speculates states
  • submits suggests testifies writes


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