Writing about Literature
Reading literature like Beowulf and Emerson’s "Heroism" is just one stop along the way to becoming an English scholar. Writing about literature is a third essential element. In the assignment for this lesson, you will synthesize the texts you have read to write a short essay; this means you will combine details from Beowulf and "Heroism" to show your understanding.
When writing about what you’ve read, you need to consider the general idea of the text and the specific pieces of it that will support your ideas. Asking yourself two questions can help you locate supporting evidence in the text.
Which words, phrases, and sentences did the author select to make me think or feel this way about the text? Why are those words, phrases, and sentences effective in making me think or feel the way I do about the text? The first question will help you identify examples, details, or facts to support your central idea. The second question will help you provide the explanation of how your examples and details prove your point.
Supporting Your Ideas
When using supporting information from a text, you need to include:
You can incorporate these items in your writing in three ways:
Putting the main, broad ideas of a text entirely in your own words Paraphrasing
Putting a specific sentence or several sentences entirely in your own words Directly Quoting
Using the exact words of another writer
Paraphrased examples and direct quotations make the strongest support because they are more specific than summarized examples.
Regardless of the form your examples take, each one needs to be:
· relevant to the topic
Quotations are a good way to support a point, but how do you use them effectively?
Direct quotations cannot be in a sentence by themselves and cannot simply be “stuck”...
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