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Short Guide to Writing About Literature

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Short Guide to Writing About Literature



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A Short Guide to Writing About Literature by Sylvan Barnet
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Part of Longman's successful Short Guide Series, A Short Guide to Writing about Literature,11/e, emphasizes writing as a process and incorporates new critical approaches to writing about literature.

Table of Contents

PREFACE xiv LETTER TO STUDENTS xvii PART 1 Jumping In 1--WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE: A CRASH COURSE 3 The Pleasures of Reading--and of Writing about Literature 3 The Writing Process 5 . A Checklist of Basic Matters 9 2--THE WRITER AS READER: READING AND RESPONDING 10 Kate Chopin, "Ripe Figs" 10 The Act of Reading 11 Reading with a Pen in Hand 13 Recording Your First Responses 14 Audience and Purpose 15 A Writing Assignment on "Ripe Figs" 16 The Assignment 16 A Sample Essay: "Images of Ripening in Kate Chopin's 'Ripe Figs' " 16 The Student's Analysis Analyzed 18 Critical Thinking and the Study of Literature 19 3--THE READER AS WRITER: DRAFTING AND WRITING 21 Pre-writing: Getting Ideas 21 Annotating a Text 21 More about Getting Ideas: A Second Story by Kate Chopin, "The Story of an Hour" 22 Kate Chopin: "The Story of an Hour" 22 Brainstorming for Ideas for Writing 24 Focused Free Writing 25 Listing 26 Asking Questions 27 Keeping a Journal 28 Critical Thinking: Arguing with Yourself 29 Arriving at a Thesis and Arguing It 31 Writing a Draft 33 A Sample Draft: "Ironies in an Hour" 33 Revising a Draft 35 . A Checklist for Revising for Clarity 36 Two Ways of Outlining a Draft 37 . A Checklist for Reviewing a Revised Draft 38 Peer Review 39 The Final Version 41 Sample Essay: "Ironies of Life in Kate Chopin's 'The Story of an Hour' " 41 The Analysis Analyzed 43 Quick Review 44 From First Responses to Final Version: Writing an Essay about a Literary Work 44 4--TWO FORMS OF CRITICISM: EXPLICATION AND ANALYSIS 45 Explication 45 A Sample Explication: Langston Hughes's "Harlem" 45 Working toward an Explication of "Harlem" 46 Some Journal Entries 48 The Final Draft: "Langston Hughes's 'Harlem' " 50 The Analysis Analyzed 51 . Checklist: Drafting an Explication 52 Analysis: The Judgment of Solomon 52 Thinking about Form 54 Thinking about Character 55 Thoughts about Other Possibilities 55 Comparison: An Analytic Tool 57 . A Checklist: Revising a Comparison 60 Finding a Topic 60 Considering the Evidence 61 Organizing the Material 61 Communicating Judgments 62 Review: How to Write an Effective Essay 63 1. Pre-writing 63 2. Drafting 64 3. Revising 65 4. Editing 66 . Editing Checklist: Questions to Ask Yourself When Editing 67 5--OTHER KINDS OF WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE 69 A Summary 69 A Paraphrase 71 A Review 72 A Review of a Dramatic Production 73 A Sample Review: "An Effective Macbeth" 74 PART 2 Standing Back: Thinking Critically about Literature 6--LITERATURE, FORM, AND MEANING 81 Literature and Form 81 Literature and Meaning 84 Arguing about Meaning 84 Form and Meaning 85 Robert Frost, "The Span of Life" 85 Suggestions for Further Reading 88 7--WHAT IS INTERPRETATION? 90 Interpretation and Meaning 90 Is the Author's Intention a Guide to Meaning? 91 Characteristics of a Good Interpretation 92 An Example: Interpreting Pat Mora's "Immigrants" 93 Thinking Critically about Literature 95 A Student Interpretation of Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" 96 Sample Essay: "Stopping by Woods and Going On" 97 Suggestions for Further Reading 100 8--WHAT IS EVALUATION? 101 Criticism and Evaluation 101 Are There Critical Standards? 102 Morality and Truth as Standards 103 Other Ways to Think about Truth and Realism 105 Suggestions for Further Reading 107 9--WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE: AN OVERVIEW 108 The Nature of Critical Writing 108 Some Critical Approaches 109 Formalist Criticism (New Criticism) 110 Deconstruction 112 Reader-Response Criticism 113 Archetypal (or Myth) Criticism 115 Historical Criticism 116 Marxist Criticism 116 The New Historicism 117 Biographical Criticism 118 Psychological (or Psychoanalytic) Criticism 118 Gender (Feminist, and Lesbian and Gay) Criticism 119 Suggestions for Further Reading 123 PART 3 Up Close: Thinking Critically about Literary Forms 10--WRITING ABOUT FICTION: THE WORLD OF THE STORY 131 Plot and Character 131 Writing about a Character 133 A Sample Essay on a Character: "Holden's Kid Sister" 136 The Analysis Analyzed 137 Foreshadowing 138 Organizing an Essay on Foreshadowing 140 Setting and Atmosphere 141 Symbolism 142 A Sample Essay on Setting as Symbol: "Spring Comes to Mrs. Mallard" 143 "Spring Comes to Mrs. Mallard" 144 Point of View 147 Third-Person Narrators 147 First-Person Narrators 150 Notes and a Sample Essay on Narrative Point of View in James Joyce's "Araby" 151 "The Three First-Person Narrators of Joyce's 'Araby' " 153 The Analysis Analyzed 155 Theme: Vision or Argument? 155 Determining and Discussing the Theme 156 Preliminary Notes and a Sample Essay on the Theme of Eudora Welty's "A Worn Path" 156 Preliminary Notes 157 "Rising into Love" 160 A Brief Overview of the Essay 163 Basing the Paper on Your Own Responses 163 A Note on Secondary Sources 164 A Second Essay about Theme: Notes and the Final Version of an Essay on Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" 166 " We All Participated in 'The Lottery' " 168 The Analysis Analyzed 169 Suggestions for Further Reading 170 . A Checklist: Getting Ideas for Writing about Fiction 171 . A Checklist: Getting Ideas for Writing about a Film Based on a Work of Literature 175 11--WRITING ABOUT DRAMA 178 A Sample Essay 178 Preliminary Notes 179 "The Solid Structure of The Glass Menagerie" 180 Types of Plays 184 Tragedy 184 . A Checklist: Writing about Tragedy 188 Comedy 188 . A Checklist: Writing about Comedy 190 Aspects of Drama 190 Theme 190 Plot 192 . A Checklist: Writing about Plot 195 Characterization and Motivation 197 Conventions 198 Costumes, Gestures, and Settings 199 A Sample Essay on Setting in Drama 202 " What the Kitchen in Trifles Tells Us" 203 The Analysis Analyzed 204 Suggestions for Further Reading 205 . A Checklist: Getting Ideas for Writing about Drama 206 . A Checklist: Getting Ideas for Writing about a Film Based on a Play 208 A Student's Essay on a Filmed Version of a Play 209 "Branagh's Film of Hamlet" 209 A Checklist: Topics for Critical Thinking and Writing 212 12--WRITING ABOUT POETRY 214 The Speaker and the Poet 214 Emily Dickinson, "Wild Nights--Wild Nights" 215 The Language of Poetry: Diction and Tone 216 Edna St. Vincent Millay, "I, being born a woman and distressed" 217 Writing about the Speaker: Robert Frost's "The Telephone" 219 Robert Frost, "The Telephone" 219 Journal Entries 221 Figurative Language 223 John Keats, "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer" 224 Preparing to Write about Figurative Language 227 William Blake, "The Sick Rose" 228 Structure 229 Robert Herrick, "Upon Julia's Clothes" 230 Annotating and Thinking about a Poem 230 The Student's Finished Essay: "Herrick's Julia, Julia's Herrick" 232 Some Kinds of Structure 233 William Wordsworth, "A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal" 234 John Donne, "The Flea" 235 Verbal Irony 236 Paradox 236 Explication 237 A Sample Explication of Yeats's "The Balloon of the Mind" 237 William Butler Yeats, "The Balloon of the Mind" 238 Rhythm and Versification: A Glossary for Reference 240 Rhythm 240 Meter 242 Patterns of Sound 245 Stanzaic Patterns 247 Blank Verse and Free Verse 248 Walt Whitman, "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" 248 Preparing to Write about Prosody 250 Sample Essay on Metrics: "Sound and Sense in A. E. Housman's 'Eight O'Clock'" 251 "Sound and Sense in A. E. Housman's 'Eight O'Clock' " 251 The Analysis Analyzed 255 Suggestions for Further Reading 256 . A Checklist: Getting Ideas for Writing about Poetry 256 13--WRITING ABOUT AN AUTHOR IN DEPTH 259 A Case Study: Writing about Langston Hughes 260 Langston Hughes, "The South" 261 Langston Hughes, "Ruby Brown" 263 Langston Hughes, "Ballad of the Landlord" 264 "A National Problem: Race and Racism in the Poetry of Langston Hughes" 265 A Brief Overview of the Essay 268 PART 4 Inside: Style, Format, and Special Assignments 14--STYLE AND FORMAT 273 Principles of Style 273 Get the Right Word 274 Write Effective Sentences 278 . A Checklist for Revising for Conciseness 280 Write Unified and Coherent Paragraphs 282 . A Checklist: Revising Paragraphs 288 Write Emphatically 289 Notes on the Dash and the Hyphen 290 Remarks about Manuscript Form 290 Basic Manuscript Form 290 Quotations and Quotation Marks 292 15--WRITING A RESEARCH PAPER 297 What Research Is Not, and What Research Is 297 Primary and Secondary Materials 298 Locating Material: First Steps 298 Other Bibliographic Aids 300 The Basics 300 Moving Ahead: Finding Sources for Research Work 301 What Does Your Own Institution Offer? 301 Taking Notes 302 Drafting Your Paper 304 Focus on Primary Sources 306 Documentation 306 What to Document: Avoiding Plagiarism 306 . A Checklist for Avoiding Plagiarism 308 How to Document: Footnotes, Internal Parenthetical Citations, and a List of Works Cited (MLA Format) 309 Sample Essay with Documentation: "The Women in Death of a Salesman" 321 . A Checklist: Reading the Draft of a Research Paper 328 Electronic Sources 329 Encyclopedias: Print and Electronic Versions 329 The Internet/World Wide Web 329 Evaluating Sources on the World Wide Web 330 . A Checklist: A Review for Using the World Wide Web 330 Documentation: Citing a Web Source 331 . A Checklist: Citing World Wide Web Sources 331 APPENDIX A: TWO STORIES 334 James Joyce, "Araby" 334 Eudora Welty, "A Worn Path" 338 APPENDIX B: GLOSSARY OF LITERARY TERMS 345 CREDITS 359 INDEX OF AUTHORS, TITLES, AND FIRST LINES OF POEMS 360 INDEX OF TERMS 362
Release date Australia
February 22nd, 2008
Country of Publication
United States
11th Revised edition
Longman Inc
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