In 7th grade we expect that your work is:
Date (the date should be the date on which the assignment is due, not that of a prior draft)
Title of Paper
Structure and Organization
Always begin your essays with an introduction that logically and clearly sets up what the essay will cover, and end with a conclusion which sums up your main points. It must be very clear from your introduction what your thesis is; the introduction must introduce the essay itself, not the book generally. Along the way in the essay you must have a narrative flow to your discussion – that is, your points should transition from one to the next in a logical way. For these reasons, I strongly suggest that you write an outline before beginning, dedicating one main idea per paragraph.
Always attempt to include specific textual references to support your ideas and opinions. When in doubt, include a reference from the text, but also be sure to discuss and analyze that reference; it doesn’t do much good to simply drop a quotation into your paper if you don’t say what point it demonstrates. Page number references are executed as follows: (p. 34); more importantly, your discussion should provide adequate context to place the reference – the page number alone is not sufficient.
Your knowledge of the text must be accurate; mistakes as to which character is responsible for certain actions or statements, or how and when an event takes place, are unacceptable.
Depth of Analysis
Never stop asking “Why?” Remember, this is literary analysis, not fill-in-the-blanks.
If you are not perfectly clear about what needs to be improved in your writing after reading my comments, you are strongly encouraged to set up an appointment to talk with me and review each comment on your papers. Don’t remain in the dark and make the same mistakes over and over again.
Here’s a simple 3-pronged strategy for your analysis:
Here are some more details to consider:
If you use one sentence for each of those analysis tasks, you’ll have three sentences of analysis. But you should use two to three sentences just to connect back to your argument! That means this technique will easily get you between three and six sentences of analysis. THAT IS AWESOMESAUCE.
To guarantee that your reader clearly follows your writing, you MUST introduce your quotes with a signal phrase, reporting verb, or both (as shown in the quote sandwich) rather than simply plopping the quote down. If you add in a quote without any sort of introduction, your reader may not understand how the quote connects to your paragraph, even if it makes sense to you (think of it as similar to a random thought in a conversation).
(click to chart enlarge)
In addition to incorporating quotes with the quotation sandwich and introducing them with signal phrases and reporting verbs, there are a few punctuation rules to keep in mind.
The first time you reference a book (or other text) you need to give the full name(s) of the author(s) and the title of the book. The next time you use a quote from that book, only use the last name of the author.
Example: In the novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie writes about the experience of a teenager struggling with poverty. Alexie uses humor and sarcasm to write about the hardships of living on the Spokane Reservation.
• Put quotation marks “ ” around the quote and use the author’s/character’s exact words
• After the quote, put the page number in parentheses.
• Insert ellipses (…) wherever you delete any words from the original quotation
• Use brackets ([ ]) to add words or substitute words in the original quotation.
Lastly… ADD IN YOUR EXPLANATION! Once you’ve made sure to punctuate your quotes correctly, explain them!! (The last part of the quote sandwich.)