Division and Analysis Essay.
1) Begin with a topic that seems simple at first, and ask a significant question about it.
2) Think, research, gather information, and form a tentative conclusion about the topic.
3) Analyze the topic to show its complex elements. Show how the elements support your conclusion.
4) Make sure the topic itself has enough complexity and real world application (i.e. division elements) to support an essay of the required length. (For instance, can you really spend 4 pages analyzing chewing gum (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.?)
5) Finally, consider the discussion: What are “they” saying about this? How are “you” entering the conversation? What is the discussion that you are entering, and how are you adding to that discussion?
You should realize that to do this, you are likely going to have to read outside sources, to find out and summarize what “they” say about the topic. You will have to correctly cite your sources and create an MLA Works Cited page.
Choose one of the following topics:
1) A book (childrens, young adult, or adult).
Your thesis will be an analysis of the book, not a mere summary–
If its not good, so what? who cares?
Note–do not argue TASTE (i.e. you liked it), or preferences, which are subjective prejudices.
ideas: themes, topics.
language: language, writing style
writing: pacing, characterization, plotting
A high school book report merely asks you to summarize the contents of a book and to conclude with your subjective opinion on whether you “liked” the book, and why. Such a high school-level book report is not a book review, which requires far more. Again: for a book review, you need to establish the argument(s) of the book you are writing on, the manner in which the author attempts to support that argument, and his or her success in so doing.
You will have an argument, or an opinion of the book supported by evidence from it.
Did it achieve its purpose for that audience? How so specifically? If not, then why not?
If you think it is a good book, so what? What do you mean that it is a “good” book, and for whom?
Break it down into its significant components to analyze them:
Don’t use a religious text (such as the Bible) for your topic–faith-based analysis is not what I am asking for here.
MLA help: remember that a book title is italicized when you refer to it in an essay (type it as Huckleberry Finn for example, not “Huckleberry Finn.”) Essay titles are in quotation marks.
Works Cited format:
Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Publisher, Publication Date.
Note that some books will contain other information (such as edition, translator, and so on.
When in doubt, ask a reference librarian.
Sanderson, Brandon. Elantris. Tor Books, 2006.
Meusant, Kirstie. The Way to a Man’s Heart is Through His Ribcage. Kindle. Translator Georgia Prescott. 2nd Edition. Harcourt, 2006.
For help on this topic: writing about litfilm_001.pdfPreview the documentSettings
The author’s name or a book with a single author’s name appears in last name, first name format. The basic form for a book citation follows this pattern:
2) A valuable consumer product (gaming system, ebook reader, smart phone, hybrid car, surfboard, etc.)
Imagine that your audience is informed consumers such as yourself — what do you think they need to know about this this? This is your thesis.
Merely listing its features is not an analysis. You need to explain how those features support your thesis.
Is it a good product? What is good/bad about it, specifically?
How are those good/bad things? How do they add up to support your thesis? How are they better or worse than similar products?
If it is good or bad, then what?
. MLA help: remember to cite anything that you read in another source, and name the author rather than referring to the article.
3) A film–either theater release or home version
Here are the things you need to consider when analyzing a film:
who is the film intended for, specifically? What is the director trying to “say” with the film? Does he/she succeed?
To guide your analysis, review the tips here:
(Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.http://www.dailywritingtips.com/7-tips-for-writing-a-film-review/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
http://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Movie-Review (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
writing about litfilm_001.pdfPreview the documentSettings (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Read other reviews (try rottentomatoes.com (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. for a large collection of film reviews) to find out how film reviewers break down or review a film. Do not argue taste or preference–create an objective, reasoned analysis of the faults or successes of the film. Be careful–don’t merely summarize the plot, and don’t spend a lot of time merely recounting the plot details. The plot is not what a film is about.
(For example, see Colin Fleming’s “Why the First ‘Star Wars’ Is Still the Best ‘Star Wars’ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.” for a good example of analysis vs. mere review or summary)
MLA help: When using the name of a film in your essay, italicize the name (type it as Star Wars: The Force Awakens, not “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”)
Works Cited format for a film:
List films by their title. Include the name of the director, the distributor, and the release year. If relevant, list performer names after the director’s name. Use the abbreviation perf. to head the list. End the entry with the appropriate medium of publication (e.g. DVD, VHS, Laser disc):
Ed Wood. Dir. Tim Burton. Perf. Johnny Depp, Martin Landau, Sarah Jessica Parker, Patricia Arquette. Touchstone, 1994. DVD.
4) A pending, proposed piece of legislation (such as legalizing medical marijuana in your state.)
Analyze the reasons given for the legislation, explain your responses to them, and then explain what actions you recommend (vote yes? vote no?).
Be specific–don’t just write about issues such as gun control. Find a specific, nearby piece of legislation proposed about your topic.
(A better topic than just gun control itself is analyzing a proposed bill to allow concealed carry of weapons, to licensed CCW permit holders, on your local college campus.)
You are likely to be citing an Internet source without an author for this assignment, so you should refer to a style guide (like this one (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.) for help.
5) A topic of your choice, as long as you check with the instructor first to make sure it fits the requirements of this essay.
For All Topics:
Make sure that you are ADDING to our understanding of the topic, not just creating a list of ways you divided the topic. In other words, “so what?”
You have to explain HOW the “divisions” support the stance of your THESIS.
Make sure that you are actually entering a discussion. Make sure you address objections (include naysayers).They say X about the topic…what do you say about it? Who is your audience? Why does this matter to them?
You will be required to turn in an outline for this essay, so that I may give you feedback on your topic suitability.
You will not turn in a formal draft for this essay, but I will give you a chance to later make revisions on your essay:
global revisions (thesis, structure, paragraphs), and “local” revisions (sentences, grammar, spelling and MLA format).
I will record the first version of the essay, but then if your revision scores higher I will record the revised grade.
Remember to use correct MLA Works Cited format! (See HERE (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.for help.)
Minimum length: about 2000 words, and Works Cited page