Final draft format: at least 3 pages, typed, double-spaced, 12-point font, 1-inch margins Essay #1: Reasoning Inductively: Reading (and Writing) Between the Lines In order to write effectively about literature, you’ll need to learn how to write sustained, in-depth, careful interpretations of excerpts from literary works; so, you’ll need to become adept at explicating: at commenting on a short passage, line by line, to reveal to your readers the underlying meanings and significance of individual words and phrases. This first essay asks you to do just that—to start gearing up for the longer essays by working on your ability to write a thorough, critical explication. Assignment: Write an explication of an important passage (a few important lines) from “Territory” or “Silver Water,” analyzing for inferences, for what individual words and phrases suggest or imply, and, in your conclusion, ultimately explaining the passage’s importance to the meaning of the story as a whole. In doing so, I’d like you to, first, type out the passage you’ll be explicating (at the top of the page), and then explicate/interpret/explain it, line by line. Suggestions: You’ll want to organize this paper inductively—meaning, you’ll start with the specific evidence first, and then analyze this evidence, reasoning your way to a more general thesis/conclusion at the end of your essay. In doing so, I’d like you to identify, early in your essay, the title of the work and the author’s name. Also, be sure to consider how to break up your body paragraphs, since you’ll need to organize your analysis into separate chunks (again, you should pick just a short passage—no more than a paragraph or perhaps even just a few sentences). In addition, you should carefully quote specific words and/or phrases in order to show the relationship between the original text and your interpretations. Typically, you should analyze a line or even a phrase at a time. Be sure to notice details: What do particular words and phrases suggest? What else do they suggest? What do these words/phrases reveal about the characters, the setting, symbolism, foreshadowing, etc.? Then, at the end of the explication (in your “conclusion”), you’ll make a more general claim about the work as a whole: How does the passage contribute to your understanding of the short story as a whole? Why is this passage important, in other words? On this essay, you’ll be working on the following skills: reading between the lines, making inferences, thinking critically; reasoning/organizing inductively by starting off with a specific passage and then explaining the deeper underlying meanings and implications of the specific textual evidence (and offering clear, logical reasons why the text means what you say it means); reaching a coherent, insightful conclusion/thesis about the general meaning of the story; quoting, paraphrasing, and citing your literary source; and, of course, organizing your essay in a logical manner and editing carefully for grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
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