The term “Dialectic” means “the art or practice of arriving at the truth by using conversation involving question and answer.” Think of your dialectical journal as a series of conversations with the texts we read during this course. The process is meant to help you develop a better understanding of the texts we read. Use your journal to incorporate your personal responses to the texts, your ideas about the themes we cover and our class discussions. You will find that it is a useful way to process what you’re reading, prepare yourself for group discussion, and gather textual evidence for your Literary Analysis assignments.
Sample Dialectical Journal entry: THE THINGS THEY CARRIED by Tim O’Brien
|Passages from the text |Comments & Questions | | | | |“-they carried like freight trains; they |(R) O’brien chooses to end the first section of the novel with this sentence. He provides excellent | |carried it on their backs and shoulders-and |visual details of what each solider in Vietnam would carry for day-to-day fighting. He makes you feel | |for all the ambiguities of Vietnam, all the |the physical weight of what soldiers have to carry for simple survival. When you combine the emotional | |mysteries and unknowns, there was at least |weight of loved ones at home, the fear of death, and the responsibility for the men you fight with, with| |the single abiding certainty that they would |this physical weight, you start to understand what soldiers in Vietnam dealt with every day. This quote | |never be at a loss for things to carry”. |sums up the confusion that the men felt about the reasons they were fighting the war, and how they clung| | |to the only certainty - things they had to carry - in a confusing world where normal rules were | | |suspended. |
Responding To the Text:
You can respond to the text in a variety of ways. The most important thing to remember is that your observations should be specific and detailed. You can write as much as you want for each entry.
o Raise questions about the beliefs and values implied in the text o Give your personal reactions to the passage
o Discuss the words, ideas, or actions of the author or character(s) o Tell what it reminds you of from your own experiences o Write about what it makes you think or feel
o Agree or disagree with a character or the author
|Sample Sentence Starters: | |I really don’t understand this because… | |I really dislike/like this idea because… | |I think the author is trying to say that… | |This passage reminds me of a time in my life when… | |If I were (name of character) at this point I would… | |This part doesn’t make sense because… | |This character reminds me of (name of person)...
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