Under each genre heading, you will find a model essay, a rubric, and a brief explanation of how the author created an excellent work.
What is it?
In an analytical essay, writers form and convey their ideas concerning a particular topic based on careful use and analysis of evidence. Below are some common types of analytical essays written in English classes:
Close Reading: Analyze literary/rhetorical devices, style, and tone used by an author to achieve his or her purpose/theme.
Compare and Contrast: Compare and/or contrast two passages or two different texts for style, purpose, or tone.
Theoretical: Analyze a text in relation to literary theory, cultural movement, and history.
Why Write Analytical Essays?
An analytical essay is an effective way of communicating critical thought about a variety of subjects. It develops and demonstrates important skills such as close reading, analysis, comparison and contrast, persuasion, conciseness, clarity, and exposition.
Often, the word narrative is synonymous with story. A narrative is the story (fiction or non-fiction) told and the order in which it is told. Sometimes, there is a narrator, a character or series of characters, who tell the story. Sometimes, as with most non-fiction, the author himself/herself in the narrator.
You are narrators of your own lives all the time. Something happens in class. You go to lunch; then, you tell the details that are important to you in the order that seems right to you. The story that you tell is a narrative. A reporter who tells a human interest story for the Olympics about an athlete that fought for years to get to the Olympics might emphasize his hardship, the time he had to sleep outside for a week, the eight hours a day that he worked out. The narrative is shaped by details. These details offer clues about the author’s purpose. Clearly, the author who emphasizes the hardships of an Olympic athlete wants to show us that this person overcame adversity to succeed.
Why Write Narrative?
Narrative writing is very important in your day-to-day life. For the rest of your life, you will write texts, e-mails, cover letters, blogs, etc. about your beliefs, your ambitions, information you know, and feelings you have. What could be more important?
Narrative writing in fiction and non-fiction (and even poetry) tells others the stories of our personal experiences and allows us to gain empathy and sympathy about the world around us.
Fiction is as true as non-fiction, which makes it difficult to define. Almost all fiction has elements of “real life,” including character, place, and events. Fiction is a story. Something happens and someone talks about it. John Gardner, a famous novelist, once said there are really only two stories – one in which someone leaves home, another in which a stranger comes to town. Though there are prototypes of stories, a story can be about anything. Usually, something or someone changes in the course of a story, but modern writers like to write about how hard it is for and how little people change.
Elements of fiction include:
Plot: The author must choose what happens in the story and how those actions are arranged. Action is a part of plot. It is what the characters do, though often the most interesting thing is what the characters DON’T do.
Setting: The author must choose when and where the story takes place. Elements of setting should occur throughout the story and should be used to show character and emotion.
Character: The author must choose to create characters whose relationship propels story and conflict.
Conflict: The author should have a conflict (internal or external) in mind. Without conflict, little happens or changes.
Resolution: The author can choose to have a clear resolution (a death, a break-up, or a marriage). Yet, often in more modern fiction, resolution is uneasy and not complete.
Why write fiction?
When writers create an imaginary world in a story, they are referring to the world outside of the text. Writing fiction allows you to look closely at life, to explore places, to make observations, and to turn these discoveries into stories.
Writers use characters, settings, and actions to illustrate issues that have no easy resolution. They show different sides of a problem, and they can raise new questions.
The ability to write an effective summary might be the most important writing skill a student can possess. When you summarize a text(or describe visual material), you distill the ideas of another source for use in your own work. Summarizing primary sources allows you to keep track of your observations. Summarizing is a stand-alone skill that bridges reading and writing. It is necessary for personal note taking and for conveying to others your understanding of a text. It is also, however, a skill needed as a foundation for many types of writing. You need to be able to summarize before you can be successful at most of the other kinds of writing that will be demanded of you.
To answer questions such as “What was the movie about?,” “How did the game go?,” and “What did I miss in class today?” you must be able to summarize. Your questioner doesn’t want to know every line and action in the movie, every play in the game, or every word from class; the question asks you to select the important details and summarize them. Similarly,when you summarize a reading you need to be able to find the important elements and then present them as clearly and concisely as possible.
Politicians and companies employ people to read every newspaper and news magazine and summarize relevant stories and articles. The more concise the summary the better; yet if any major details are omitted the purpose of the summary is lost—its readers will be uninformed on key aspects of the news and may make embarrassing errors as a result. Accuracy and concision are the most important traits of a good summary.
Simply put, poems are words broken into lines. Typically, a poem has heightened figurative language, though good prose as well. Much of poetry is “lyrical,” a word that means song-like. However, prose, too, can be considered lyrical, and not all poetry feels or reads like song.
What stands out in a poem is a heightened attention to language. Because poetry tends to be briefer (not always!), every word and other choices a poet makes seem to “stand out” more. This careful choosing of language is good practice for any writer, regardless if he/she considers himself/herself a poet.
Elements of Poetry include:
Form: Poetry is often in a form. Some forms are famous, like the sonnet. Other forms might be of the poet’s own devising. Each poem should finds its form. The poet should consider whether and how lines and stanzas are split, where and if one should rhyme, how and if that rhyme should be entirely regular, or patterned. Some content matter has traditionally been associated with a particular form. For instance, historical events are often retold in ballad form. Love or argument is often expressed in a sonnet. However, any form can express any subject. There are no hard or fast rules about form.
Alliteration/Assonance/Consonance: These are all sound devices that emphasize meaning. Alliteration is the repetition of the consonants at the beginning of words: “Sally sent a seashell slowly sinking in the sea.” (The use of the alliteration begins to sound like a kind of “sinking.”)
Assonance is the repetition of a vowel sound: “The boat never woke though the bones of it groaned.” (One can feel the boat rocking in a storm.)
Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds mid-sentence. “The cracking, barking, sanctions of the officer went on.” The sharp sound, mid-word reflects the unpleasantness of the policeman’s voice.
Rhyme/Rhythm:Though a poet might not be familiar with all the different meters, the poet should “hear” for herself if the rhythm of the poem supports the message and tone. Rhyme should not be used unless it supports the message and tone. (Rhyme is often a part of form.)
Figurative language: Any good poet will use figurative language in his/her poem because it helps the reader create images in his/her head that make the feeling of the poem come alive. This may include metaphor and simile, figurative language of comparison. It may also include hyperbolized (exaggerated) or understated diction.
Why write poetry?
Why not write poetry? Many have argued that poetry is the human voice at its best and most beautiful. Writers often turn to poetry’s heightened language because they feel as if other forms of writing do not convey the depth of feeling and experience they have.