LITERATURE IN MALAYSIAN SCHOOLS
Writing Essays on Literary Topics: Download
ØWriting is sharpened, focused expression of thought and study.
ØIt begins with the search for something to say – an IDEA.
ØNot all ideas are equal, some are better than others, and getting good ideas is an ability that you will develop the more you think and write.
ØLearning to analyze literature and to write about it will also improve your perceptions and increase your critical faculties.
ØWriting is a process that begins in uncertainty and hesitation, and that becomes certain and confident only as a result of diligent thought and care.
ØWhat comes to your mind when you read a complete, polished, well-formed piece of writing?
3 Major Stages of THINKING & WRITING
Ø1st STAGE – Discovering Ideas
Compare this with the qualities of ordinary conversation.
Ø2nd STAGE – Creating an early, rough draft of a critical paper
Your thought should be less like ordinary conversation and more like classroom discussion.
Ø3rd STAGE – Preparing a finished essay
Your thinking must be sharply focused. Your writing must be organized, definite, concise and connected.
ØBrainstorming / Freewriting
It is the FIRST step in writing. You are talking to yourself and writing down all your thoughts. Then, decide which ideas to keep and which to throw out.
ØFocus on Specific Topics
ØDevelop subjects you create when taking notes and brainstorming.
üStart redirecting your mind into specific channels.
üFocus on the topic and write as much as you can about it.
2. Build on your original notes
üMine your journal notes for relevant topics
üWrite about the importance of the attic flat where Mathilde and her husband live after they paid for the replacement necklace.
The attic flat is important. Before, in her apartment, Mathilde was dreamy and impractical. She was delicate, but after losing the necklace, no way. She becomes a worker when in the flat. She gives up her servant, climbs stairs carrying buckets of water, washes greasy pots, throws water around to clean floors, does all the wash by hand.
While she gets stronger, she also gets loud and frumpy- argues with shopkeepers to get the lowest prices. She stops caring for herself. A reversal here, from incapable and well groomed to coarse but capable. All this change happens in the attic flat.
3. Raise and answer your own questions.
üWhat explanations are needed for the characters? Which actions, scenes and situations invite interpretation? Why?
üWhat assumptions do the characters and speakers reveal about life and humanity in general? (about themselves, people, work, religion, politics..etc)
üWhat are their manners or customs?
üWhat kinds of words do they use: formal or informal words, slang or profanity?
üWhat literary conventions and devices have you discovered, and how do these add to the work?
4. Use the PLUS-MINUS, PRO-CON, OR EITHER-OR METHOD to put ideas together.
üA common method of discovering ideas is to develop a set of contrasts.
üShould Mathilde be “admired” or “condemned”?
5. Trace Developing Patterns
üDiscover ideas by making a list or scheme for the story or main idea.
üWhat conflicts appear?
üDo these conflict exist between people, groups or ideas?
üHow does the author resolve them?
üHow do you respond?
6. Let your writing help you develop your thinking.
üUnwritten thought is incomplete thought.
üMake a practice of writing notes about your reactions and any questions that occur to you.
Drafting Your Essay..
ØAn essay is a fully developed and organized set of paragraphs that develop and enlarge a central idea.
ØEach paragraphs refers to the central idea and demonstrate how selected details from the work relate to it and support it.
ØThe central idea controls and shapes your essay. Thus, it provides guidance for the reader.
A successful essay about literature…
üA brief but thorough examination of a literary work in light of a particular element, such as character, point of view or symbolism.
ØCreate a thesis sentence
ØYour goal is to establish a number of major topics to support the central idea, and to express them in a thesis sentence.
ØTS – an organizing sentence that plans or forecasts the major topics you will treat in your essay.
The setting of the Necklace reflects Mathilde’s character.
Mathilde’s character growth is related to her first apartment, her dream-life mansion room and her attic flat.
ØOrganization of essay – thesis statement
ØOrganization of each paragraph – topic sentence
The attic flat reflects the coarsening of Mathilde’s character.
What should your paragraph consist of?
ØMathilde’s rough, heavy housework has a direct effect on her behaviour, appearance and general outlook.
ØUse only one topic in each paragraph.
The attic flat reflects the coarsening of Mathilde’s character. Maupassant emphasizes the burdens she endures to save money, such as mopping floors….
ØDevelop an outline.
ØAnalytical sentence outline.
1.An introduction, central idea, thesis sentence
2.Topic sentences in each paragraph
3. A conclusion
ØCentral idea: Maupassant uses his setting to show Mathilde’s character.
ØTS: Her character growth is related to her first apartment, her daydreams about elegant rooms in a mansion and her attic flat.
2. Body – Topic Sentences
ØDetails about her first apartment explain her dissatisfaction and depression
ØHer daydreams about mansion rooms are like the apartment because they make her unhappy.
ØThe attic flat reflects the coarsening of her character
3. Conclusion – Topic sentence
All details in the story, particularly the setting, are focused on the character of Mathilde.
May be a summary of the body, evaluate the main idea, may briefly suggest further points of discussion, may be a reflection on the details of the body.