Digging into Literature
First EditionJoanna Wolfe; Laura Wilder©2016
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Great literature is complex, but writing effective essays about it doesn't have to be. Through plenty of opportunities to practice and apply what you're learning, Digging into Literature teaches you the essential strategies for reading, analyzing, and writing about literary texts.
Table of Contents
1. Why Join Critical Conversations about Literature?Discourse Communities as ParlorsWhy Join the Critical Conversation on Literature?"Texts" and Their "Authors" and "Critics""Text" in Literary and Cultural AnalysisAuthor vs. Literary CriticLet’s Get Started: Joining the Discourse Community of Literary CriticsReview
2. What Is Literary Analysis?A Literary Analysis Makes Interpretive ClaimsA Literary Analysis Must Make Debatable ClaimsA Literary Analysis Supports Arguments with Textual EvidenceA Literary Analysis Argues for a Thesis about the TextA Literary Analysis Explores the Complexity of the TextComplexity of Arguments vs Complexity of ExpressionReview Leslie Marmon Silko, "The Man to Send Rain Clouds" [story] PART II STRATEGIES FOR CLOSE READING
3. From Surface to DepthWhat is the Surface/Depth Strategy?Sylvia Plath, "Morning Song" [poem]Using Surface/Depth to BrainstormStep 1: Get a Good Grasp of the Surface (Literal) MeaningStep 2: Dig Below the SurfaceUsing Surface/Depth to Write PersuasivelyUsing the Surface/Depth Linking StrategyUsing the Surface/Depth Contrasting StrategyPlausible vs. Implausible ReadingsA Note on Persuasive Interpretations ReviewNow Practice on Your OwnLouise Glück, "Gretel in Darkness" [poem]
4. PatternsUsing Patterns to BrainstormUsing the Patterns Strategy before Having Clear Surface/Depth Arguments in MindUsing the Patterns Strategy after Having Brainstormed Some Possible Surface/Depth ArgumentsUsing Patterns to Write PersuasivelySample Essay Using Patterns and Surface/Depth StrategiesSample Essay: Sylvia Plath’s "Morning Song" and the Challenge of Motherly IdentityReviewNow Practice On Your OwnMichael Ondaatje, "The Cinnamon Peeler" [poem] Sample Essay: "Smell Me": Eroticism in Michael Ondaatje’s "The Cinnamon Peeler"Sample Essay: Contradictory Desires in Michael Ondaatje’s "The Cinnamon Peeler"
5. Digging DeeperCharacter DescriptionsSettingPerspectiveComparisonsIroniesTime and SequenceTitles and Epigraphs Specific WordsSoundBreaks and GroupingsVisual AppearanceReviewNow Practice on Your OwnRick Bass, "Antlers" [story]
6. OppositesOpposites vs. IronyUsing Opposites to BrainstormUsing Opposites to Write PersuasivelyReviewNow Practice on Your OwnAlice Walker, "Everyday Use" [story] PART III STRATEGIES FOR GOING BEYOND THE TEXT
7. ContextCommon Types of Contextual InformationUsing Context to BrainstormFinding Contextual InformationFinding Contextual Information Using General Web SearchesFinding Contextual Information Using Library DatabasesFinding Contextual Information Using the Oxford English Dictionary (OED)Phillis Wheatley, "On Being Brought from Africa to America" [poem]Now Practice on Your Own William Wordsworth, "The World Is Too Much with Us" [poem] Using Context to Write PersuasivelyOptions for the Scope of the Context StrategySample Essay: Competing Parental Philosophies in Sylvia Plath’s "Morning Song" Sample Essay: Smelling Sri Lanka in Michael Ondaatje’s "The Cinnamon Peeler"Citing Contextual InformationReview
8. Genre and FormGenre vs. Verse FormMaking Arguments about GenreUsing Genre to BrainstormUsing Unfamiliar Verse Genres: The SonnetThe Sonnet DefinedPetrarchan and Shakespearean SonnetsUsing Genre to Write PersuasivelyLearning More about GenresReviewNow Practice on Your OwnMolly Peacock, "Desire" [poem]
9. Social RelevanceUsing Social Relevance to Brainstorm Using Social Relevance to Write PersuasivelySocial Relevance and Other Strategies of Literary Analysis Criticism Changes Over Time Review
10. Theoretical LensTheoretical Lens vs. ContextApplying a Theoretical Lens: Double-Consciousness and Langston HughesLangston Hughes, "Theme for English B" [poem]Sample Synopsis: The Veil and Double-Consciousness in Du Bois’s "Of Our Spiritual Strivings"Using the Theoretical Lens Strategy to BrainstormStep 1: Choose a Theoretical LensStep 2: Work to Understand the Surface Meaning of Both Primary and Theoretical TextsStep 3: Re-read the Primary Text Using the Surface/Depth StrategyStep 4: Reflect on How the Primary Text Differs from the Theoretical TextUsing a Theoretical Lens to Write PersuasivelySample Essay: Double-Consciousness in "Theme for English B"Additional Theoretical TextsReviewNow Practice on Your Own
11. Joining the Critical ConversationRepeating the Conversation vs. Contributing Something New to the ConversationMoving Beyond "Because the Experts Say So"Entering the Discourse Community of Published CriticismAdd New EvidenceAdd New InterpretationsDisagree with Previous InterpretationsUsing the Critical Conversation to BrainstormFinding Published CriticismJoining a Conversation When No One Has Written on a TextUsing the Critical Conversation to Write PersuasivelyRemind Readers What Has Already Been Said about the Conversation You Are JoiningDistinguish Your Views from Those of the Critics You CiteSupport Your ViewsReview
12. Using All the Strategies on a Single WorkDavid Henry Hwang, As the Crow Flies [play]Now Practice on Your Own PART IV. CRAFTING YOUR ESSAY
13. Developing a Thesis and Organizing Your EssayUnderstanding the Role of the Thesis StatementAnalyzing the Well-Organized EssaySample Essay: Contradictory Desires in Michael Ondaatje’s "The Cinnamon Peeler"Developing a Thesis by Freewriting and Reverse OutliningSample Freewrite: "The Man to Send Rain Clouds"Developing a Thesis with an Outlining-First StrategyMoving Between Drafting, Organizing, and DiscoveringReviewSample Essay: Hunter and Hunted: The Mixture of Animal and Human in "Antlers"
14. Presenting Textual Evidence EffectivelyThe Quotation Sandwich Quoting vs. ParaphrasingMechanics of QuotingDocumenting Quotations and ParaphrasesReview
15. Revision and Peer Review
Global vs. Local Revision
How to Revise Globally
Revision Technique 1: Outline or Reverse Outline
Revision Technique 2: One-Paragraph Summary
Revision Technique 3: Paragraph Analysis
Receiving Feedback: Peer Review and the Critical Conversation