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Literary analysis: sample essay.

We turn once more to Joanna Wolfe’s and Laura Wilder’s  Digging into Literature: Strategies for Reading, Writing, and Analysis  (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2016) in order to show you their example of a strong student essay that has a strong central claim elucidated by multiple surface/depth arguments supported by patterns of evidence.

Paragraph 1

Sylvia Plath’s short poem “Morning Song” explores the conflicted emotions of a new mother. On the one hand, the mother recognizes that she is expected to treasure and celebrate her infant, but on the other hand, she feels strangely removed from the child. The poem uses a combination of scientific and natural imagery to illustrate the mother’s feelings of alienation. By the end of the poem, however, we see a shift in this imagery as the mother begins to see the infant in more human terms.

Paragraph 2

There are several references to scientific imagery in “Morning Song” that suggest that mother is viewing the baby in clinical, scientific terms rather than as a new life. The poem refers to magnification (4) and reflection (8), both of which are scientific methods. The word “distills” (8) refers to a scientific, chemical process for removing impurities from a substance. The baby’s cry is described as taking “its place among the elements” (3), which seems to refer to the periodic table of elements, the primordial matter of the universe. The watch in the first line is similarly a scientific tool and the gold the watch is made of is, of course, an element, like the baby’s cry. Even the balloons in the last line have a scientific connotation since balloons are often used for measurements and experiments in science. These images all serve to show how the speaker feels distanced from the baby, who is like a scientific experiment she is conducting rather than a human being.

Paragraph 3

Natural imagery also seems to further dehumanize the baby, reducing it to nothing more than its mouth. The baby’s breathing is compared to a moth in line 10, suggesting that the speaker feels the infant is fragile and is as likely to die as a moth dancing around candlelight. A few lines later, the baby’s mouth is compared to another animal—a cat—who greedily opens its mouth for milk. Not only does the speaker seem to feel that the baby is like an animal, but she herself is turned into an animal, as she arises “cow-heavy” (13) to feed the infant. These images show how the speaker sees both the baby and herself as dumb animals who exist only to feed and be fed. Even the morning itself seems to be reduced to another mouth to feed as she describes how the dawn “swallows its dull stars” (16). These lines suggest that just as the sun swallows up the stars, so the baby will swallow up this mother.

Paragraph 4

However, in the last few lines the poem takes a hopeful turn as the speaker begins to view the baby as a human being. The baby’s mouth, which has previously been greedy and animal-like, now becomes a source of music, producing a “handful of notes” (17) and “clear vowels” (18). Music is a distinctly human sound. No animals and certainly not the cats, cows, or moths mentioned earlier in the poem, make music. This change in how the speaker perceives the baby’s sounds—from animalistic cry to human song—suggest that she is beginning to relate the baby as an individual. Even the word “handful” in the phrase “handful of notes” (17) seems hopeful in this context since this is the first time the mother has referred to the baby as having a distinctly human body part. When the baby’s notes finally “rise like balloons” (18), the speaker seems to have arrived at a place where she can celebrate the infant. For the first time, the infant is giving something to the speaker rather than threatening to take something away. The mother seems to have finally accepted the child as an independent human being whose company she can celebrate.

Works Cited

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Introduction

You’ve been assigned a literary analysis paper—what does that even mean? Is it like a book report that you used to write in high school? Well, not really.

A literary analysis essay asks you to make an original argument about a poem, play, or work of fiction and support that argument with research and evidence from your careful reading of the text.

It can take many forms, such as a close reading of a text, critiquing the text through a particular literary theory, comparing one text to another, or criticizing another critic’s interpretation of the text. While there are many ways to structure a literary essay, writing this kind of essay follows generally follows a similar process for everyone

Crafting a good literary analysis essay begins with good close reading of the text, in which you have kept notes and observations as you read. This will help you with the first step, which is selecting a topic to write about—what jumped out as you read, what are you genuinely interested in? The next step is to focus your topic, developing it into an argument—why is this subject or observation important? Why should your reader care about it as much as you do? The third step is to gather evidence to support your argument, for literary analysis, support comes in the form of evidence from the text and from your research on what other literary critics have said about your topic. Only after you have performed these steps, are you ready to begin actually writing your essay.

Writing a Literary Analysis Essay

How to create a topic and conduct research:.

Writing an Analysis of a Poem, Story, or Play

If you are taking a literature course, it is important that you know how to write an analysis—sometimes called an interpretation or a literary analysis or a critical reading or a critical analysis—of a story, a poem, and a play. Your instructor will probably assign such an analysis as part of the course assessment. On your mid-term or final exam, you might have to write an analysis of one or more of the poems and/or stories on your reading list. Or the dreaded “sight poem or story” might appear on an exam, a work that is not on the reading list, that you have not read before, but one your instructor includes on the exam to examine your ability to apply the active reading skills you have learned in class to produce, independently, an effective literary analysis.You might be asked to write instead or, or in addition to an analysis of a literary work, a more sophisticated essay in which you compare and contrast the protagonists of two stories, or the use of form and metaphor in two poems, or the tragic heroes in two plays.

You might learn some literary theory in your course and be asked to apply theory—feminist, Marxist, reader-response, psychoanalytic, new historicist, for example—to one or more of the works on your reading list. But the seminal assignment in a literature course is the analysis of the single poem, story, novel, or play, and, even if you do not have to complete this assignment specifically, it will form the basis of most of the other writing assignments you will be required to undertake in your literature class. There are several ways of structuring a literary analysis, and your instructor might issue specific instructions on how he or she wants this assignment done. The method presented here might not be identical to the one your instructor wants you to follow, but it will be easy enough to modify, if your instructor expects something a bit different, and it is a good default method, if your instructor does not issue more specific guidelines.You want to begin your analysis with a paragraph that provides the context of the work you are analyzing and a brief account of what you believe to be the poem or story or play’s main theme. At a minimum, your account of the work’s context will include the name of the author, the title of the work, its genre, and the date and place of publication. If there is an important biographical or historical context to the work, you should include that, as well.Try to express the work’s theme in one or two sentences. Theme, you will recall, is that insight into human experience the author offers to readers, usually revealed as the content, the drama, the plot of the poem, story, or play unfolds and the characters interact. Assessing theme can be a complex task. Authors usually show the theme; they don’t tell it. They rarely say, at the end of the story, words to this effect: “and the moral of my story is…” They tell their story, develop their characters, provide some kind of conflict—and from all of this theme emerges. Because identifying theme can be challenging and subjective, it is often a good idea to work through the rest of the analysis, then return to the beginning and assess theme in light of your analysis of the work’s other literary elements.Here is a good example of an introductory paragraph from Ben’s analysis of William Butler Yeats’ poem, “Among School Children.”

“Among School Children” was published in Yeats’ 1928 collection of poems The Tower. It was inspired by a visit Yeats made in 1926 to school in Waterford, an official visit in his capacity as a senator of the Irish Free State. In the course of the tour, Yeats reflects upon his own youth and the experiences that shaped the “sixty-year old, smiling public man” (line 8) he has become. Through his reflection, the theme of the poem emerges: a life has meaning when connections among apparently disparate experiences are forged into a unified whole.

In the body of your literature analysis, you want to guide your readers through a tour of the poem, story, or play, pausing along the way to comment on, analyze, interpret, and explain key incidents, descriptions, dialogue, symbols, the writer’s use of figurative language—any of the elements of literature that are relevant to a sound analysis of this particular work. Your main goal is to explain how the elements of literature work to elucidate, augment, and develop the theme. The elements of literature are common across genres: a story, a narrative poem, and a play all have a plot and characters. But certain genres privilege certain literary elements. In a poem, for example, form, imagery and metaphor might be especially important; in a story, setting and point-of-view might be more important than they are in a poem; in a play, dialogue, stage directions, lighting serve functions rarely relevant in the analysis of a story or poem.

The length of the body of an analysis of a literary work will usually depend upon the length of work being analyzed—the longer the work, the longer the analysis—though your instructor will likely establish a word limit for this assignment. Make certain that you do not simply paraphrase the plot of the story or play or the content of the poem. This is a common weakness in student literary analyses, especially when the analysis is of a poem or a play.

Here is a good example of two body paragraphs from Amelia’s analysis of “Araby” by James Joyce.

Within the story’s first few paragraphs occur several religious references which will accumulate as the story progresses. The narrator is a student at the Christian Brothers’ School; the former tenant of his house was a priest; he left behind books called The Abbot and The Devout Communicant. Near the end of the story’s second paragraph the narrator describes a “central apple tree” in the garden, under which is “the late tenant’s rusty bicycle pump.” We may begin to suspect the tree symbolizes the apple tree in the Garden of Eden and the bicycle pump, the snake which corrupted Eve, a stretch, perhaps, until Joyce’s fall-of-innocence theme becomes more apparent.

The narrator must continue to help his aunt with her errands, but, even when he is so occupied, his mind is on Mangan’s sister, as he tries to sort out his feelings for her. Here Joyce provides vivid insight into the mind of an adolescent boy at once elated and bewildered by his first crush. He wants to tell her of his “confused adoration,” but he does not know if he will ever have the chance. Joyce’s description of the pleasant tension consuming the narrator is conveyed in a striking simile, which continues to develop the narrator’s character, while echoing the religious imagery, so important to the story’s theme: “But my body was like a harp, and her words and gestures were like fingers, running along the wires.”

The concluding paragraph of your analysis should realize two goals. First, it should present your own opinion on the quality of the poem or story or play about which you have been writing. And, second, it should comment on the current relevance of the work. You should certainly comment on the enduring social relevance of the work you are explicating. You may comment, though you should never be obliged to do so, on the personal relevance of the work. Here is the concluding paragraph from Dao-Ming’s analysis of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.

First performed in 1895, The Importance of Being Earnest has been made into a film, as recently as 2002 and is regularly revived by professional and amateur theatre companies. It endures not only because of the comic brilliance of its characters and their dialogue, but also because its satire still resonates with contemporary audiences. I am still amazed that I see in my own Asian mother a shadow of Lady Bracknell, with her obsession with finding for her daughter a husband who will maintain, if not, ideally, increase the family’s social status. We might like to think we are more liberated and socially sophisticated than our Victorian ancestors, but the starlets and eligible bachelors who star in current reality television programs illustrate the extent to which superficial concerns still influence decisions about love and even marriage. Even now, we can turn to Oscar Wilde to help us understand and laugh at those who are earnest in name only.

Dao-Ming’s conclusion is brief, but she does manage to praise the play, reaffirm its main theme, and explain its enduring appeal. And note how her last sentence cleverly establishes that sense of closure that is also a feature of an effective analysis.

You may, of course, modify the template that is presented here. Your instructor might favour a somewhat different approach to literary analysis. Its essence, though, will be your understanding and interpretation of the theme of the poem, story, or play and the skill with which the author shapes the elements of literature—plot, character, form, diction, setting, point of view—to support the theme.

Academic Writing Tips : How to Write a Literary Analysis Paper. Authored by: eHow. Located at: https://youtu.be/8adKfLwIrVk. License: All Rights Reserved. License Terms: Standard YouTube license

BC Open Textbooks: English Literature Victorians and Moderns: https://opentextbc.ca/englishliterature/back-matter/appendix-5-writing-an-analysis-of-a-poem-story-and-play/

Literary Analysis

The challenges of writing about english literature.

Writing begins with the act of reading . While this statement is true for most college papers, strong English papers tend to be the product of highly attentive reading (and rereading). When your instructors ask you to do a “close reading,” they are asking you to read not only for content, but also for structures and patterns. When you perform a close reading, then, you observe how form and content interact. In some cases, form reinforces content: for example, in John Donne’s Holy Sonnet 14, where the speaker invites God’s “force” “to break, blow, burn and make [him] new.” Here, the stressed monosyllables of the verbs “break,” “blow” and “burn” evoke aurally the force that the speaker invites from God. In other cases, form raises questions about content: for example, a repeated denial of guilt will likely raise questions about the speaker’s professed innocence. When you close read, take an inductive approach. Start by observing particular details in the text, such as a repeated image or word, an unexpected development, or even a contradiction. Often, a detail–such as a repeated image–can help you to identify a question about the text that warrants further examination. So annotate details that strike you as you read. Some of those details will eventually help you to work towards a thesis. And don’t worry if a detail seems trivial. If you can make a case about how an apparently trivial detail reveals something significant about the text, then your paper will have a thought-provoking thesis to argue.

Common Types of English Papers Many assignments will ask you to analyze a single text. Others, however, will ask you to read two or more texts in relation to each other, or to consider a text in light of claims made by other scholars and critics. For most assignments, close reading will be central to your paper. While some assignment guidelines will suggest topics and spell out expectations in detail, others will offer little more than a page limit. Approaching the writing process in the absence of assigned topics can be daunting, but remember that you have resources: in section, you will probably have encountered some examples of close reading; in lecture, you will have encountered some of the course’s central questions and claims. The paper is a chance for you to extend a claim offered in lecture, or to analyze a passage neglected in lecture. In either case, your analysis should do more than recapitulate claims aired in lecture and section. Because different instructors have different goals for an assignment, you should always ask your professor or TF if you have questions. These general guidelines should apply in most cases:

  • A close reading of a single text: Depending on the length of the text, you will need to be more or less selective about what you choose to consider. In the case of a sonnet, you will probably have enough room to analyze the text more thoroughly than you would in the case of a novel, for example, though even here you will probably not analyze every single detail. By contrast, in the case of a novel, you might analyze a repeated scene, image, or object (for example, scenes of train travel, images of decay, or objects such as or typewriters). Alternately, you might analyze a perplexing scene (such as a novel’s ending, albeit probably in relation to an earlier moment in the novel). But even when analyzing shorter works, you will need to be selective. Although you might notice numerous interesting details as you read, not all of those details will help you to organize a focused argument about the text. For example, if you are focusing on depictions of sensory experience in Keats’ “Ode to a Nightingale,” you probably do not need to analyze the image of a homeless Ruth in stanza 7, unless this image helps you to develop your case about sensory experience in the poem.
  • A theoretically-informed close reading. In some courses, you will be asked to analyze a poem, a play, or a novel by using a critical theory (psychoanalytic, postcolonial, gender, etc). For example, you might use Kristeva’s theory of abjection to analyze mother-daughter relations in Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved. Critical theories provide focus for your analysis; if “abjection” is the guiding concept for your paper, you should focus on the scenes in the novel that are most relevant to the concept.
  • A historically-informed close reading. In courses with a historicist orientation, you might use less self-consciously literary documents, such as newspapers or devotional manuals, to develop your analysis of a literary work. For example, to analyze how Robinson Crusoe makes sense of his island experiences, you might use Puritan tracts that narrate events in terms of how God organizes them. The tracts could help you to show not only how Robinson Crusoe draws on Puritan narrative conventions, but also—more significantly—how the novel revises those conventions.
  • A comparison of two texts When analyzing two texts, you might look for unexpected contrasts between apparently similar texts, or unexpected similarities between apparently dissimilar texts, or for how one text revises or transforms the other. Keep in mind that not all of the similarities, differences, and transformations you identify will be relevant to an argument about the relationship between the two texts. As you work towards a thesis, you will need to decide which of those similarities, differences, or transformations to focus on. Moreover, unless instructed otherwise, you do not need to allot equal space to each text (unless this 50/50 allocation serves your thesis well, of course). Often you will find that one text helps to develop your analysis of another text. For example, you might analyze the transformation of Ariel’s song from The Tempest in T. S. Eliot’s poem, The Waste Land. Insofar as this analysis is interested in the afterlife of Ariel’s song in a later poem, you would likely allot more space to analyzing allusions to Ariel’s song in The Waste Land (after initially establishing the song’s significance in Shakespeare’s play, of course).
  • A response paper A response paper is a great opportunity to practice your close reading skills without having to develop an entire argument. In most cases, a solid approach is to select a rich passage that rewards analysis (for example, one that depicts an important scene or a recurring image) and close read it. While response papers are a flexible genre, they are not invitations for impressionistic accounts of whether you liked the work or a particular character. Instead, you might use your close reading to raise a question about the text—to open up further investigation, rather than to supply a solution.
  • A research paper. In most cases, you will receive guidance from the professor on the scope of the research paper. It is likely that you will be expected to consult sources other than the assigned readings. Hollis is your best bet for book titles, and the MLA bibliography (available through e-resources) for articles. When reading articles, make sure that they have been peer reviewed; you might also ask your TF to recommend reputable journals in the field.

Harvard College Writing Program: https://writingproject.fas.harvard.edu/files/hwp/files/bg_writing_english.pdf

In the same way that we talk with our friends about the latest episode of Game of Thrones or newest Marvel movie, scholars communicate their ideas and interpretations of literature through written literary analysis essays. Literary analysis essays make us better readers of literature.

Only through careful reading and well-argued analysis can we reach new understandings and interpretations of texts that are sometimes hundreds of years old. Literary analysis brings new meaning and can shed new light on texts. Building from careful reading and selecting a topic that you are genuinely interested in, your argument supports how you read and understand a text. Using examples from the text you are discussing in the form of textual evidence further supports your reading. Well-researched literary analysis also includes information about what other scholars have written about a specific text or topic.

Literary analysis helps us to refine our ideas, question what we think we know, and often generates new knowledge about literature. Literary analysis essays allow you to discuss your own interpretation of a given text through careful examination of the choices the original author made in the text.

ENG134 – Literary Genres Copyright © by The American Women's College and Jessica Egan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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argumentative essay

What is argumentative essay definition, usage, and literary examples, argumentative essay definition.

An  argumentative essay  [ahr-gyuh-MEN-tuh-tiv ess-ay] is an essay in which the writer uses thorough research to defend their position on a disputable topic. An argumentative essay contains a thesis, multiple body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The body can also include a counterargument.

Roots in Ancient Rhetoric

The argumentative essay format has roots in ancient  rhetoric , which Greco-Romans considered the “art of  persuasion .” While ancient societies primarily used speech to persuade their audiences, modern academics most often use written arguments based on the ancient orators’ classical argument structure.

As detailed in Plato’s  On Rhetoric , a classical argument—similar to an argumentative essay—begins with an introduction ( exordium ), gives necessary  context  ( narratio ), offers the writer’s position and thesis ( proposito  and  partitio ), presents supporting research to confirm the writer’s argument or refute other positions ( confirmatio  and  refutatio ), and ends with a conclusion ( peroration ).

The Five-Part Argumentative Essay

  • Thesis and Introduction:  Often only a sentence long, the thesis concisely describes the writer’s position, and the introductory paragraph provides context.
  • Body Paragraphs and Counterargument:  There are generally three body paragraphs used to present research that supports the writer’s thesis. They can also include a counterargument that details and refutes opposing positions.
  • Conclusion:  This summarizes the writer’s evidential findings and reiterates the thesis.

Classic Models

There are two main models of argumentation: the Toulmin model and the Rogerian model.

The Toulmin Model

British philosopher Stephen Toulmin founded the Toulmin model in his book  The Uses of Argument  (1958). This style of argumentation, an expansion of the classical model, has six major components:

  • Claim:  The thesis
  • Data : The research supporting the thesis
  • Warrant:  An explanation that connects the data and the thesis
  • Backing:  Support for the warrant
  • Modality:  Confirmation of the arguer’s conviction in the thesis
  • Rebuttal :  A counterargument or exceptions to the thesis

The Rogerian Model

Psychotherapist Carl Rogers developed the Rogerian model as a form of rhetoric that favored empathy and multiple  perspectives . This model attempts to weigh each option fairly before persuading its audience. The model consists of the following components:

  • Introduction:  Introduction of the topic as a mutual problem
  • Opposing Position:  An explanation of the writer’s position that recognizes opposing positions
  • Context for Opposing Position:  An outline of the opposing position and confirmation of its validity
  • Argued Position: A presentation of the writer’s position
  • Context for Position: This offers data that validates writer’s position
  • Benefits:  An explanation of how the writer’s position benefits the opposition

Argumentative vs. Expository Essays

Similar to an argumentative essay, an expository essay uses evidence to inform its readers. It teaches readers how to do something, analyzes a topic, gives step-by-step instructions, or describes an event.

Expository essays differ from argumentative essays in that they’re often assigned within a classroom structure, restricting the amount of outside research. The aim of an expository essay is more often to explain something rather than persuade its audience.

Argumentative Essays in Education

Argumentative essays appear primarily as assignments in education and academia. Writing in this form requires that students understand alternative opinions, learn the value of thorough research, and learn to persuade their audiences using evidence.

Examples of Argumentative Essays

1. Matthew L. Sanders, “ Becoming a Learner ”

“Becoming a Learner: Realizing the Opportunity of Education” is a 2018 essay by Matthew L. Sanders. In the essay, Sanders argues against the traditional understanding of a college education and suggests students seek out critical and creative thinking skills rather than job marketability. Sanders outlines his thesis clearly:

The primary purpose of college isn’t learning a specific set of professional skills; the primary purpose of college is to become a learner.

2. Margaret Fuller, “ The Great Lawsuit ”

In Fuller’s 1843 essay, she compares the plight of women to that of slaves and argues that women should have the same rights as men:

As men become aware that all men have not had a fair chance, they are inclined to say that no women have had a fair chance.

3. Nicholas Carr, “ Is Google Making us Stupid? ”

In his 2008 essay, Carr uses mostly  anecdotal  evidence to support his thesis. He posits that having access to the internet’s trove of information contributes to an inability to read longer-form materials. In the following excerpt, he presents current research that supports his thesis:

They [University College London] found that people using the sites exhibited “a form of skimming activity,” hopping from on source to another and rarely returning to any source they’d already visited. They typically read no more than one or two pages of an article or book before they would “bounce” out to another site.

Further Research on Argumentative Essays

The  Purdue Online Writing Lab  outlines effective argumentative essays.

Find examples of argumentative essays on  LiteraryDevices.net  and  Prepscholar.com .

Masterclass.com  has an argumentative essay step-by-step writing guide available.

Related Terms

  • Expository Essay

literary argument essay format

Essay 3: A How-To Guide

What makes an effective researched argument.

Goal: The goal of any literary research paper is to add an original interpretation to a scholarly conversation about a literary text. Take a look at how rhetorical and literary theorist Kenneth Burke describes all acts of researched writing:

Imagine that you enter a parlor. You come late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about. In fact, the discussion had already begun long before any of them got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace for you all the steps that had gone before. You listen for a while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar. Someone answers; you answer him; another comes to your defense; another aligns himself against you, to either the embarrassment or gratification of your opponent, depending upon the quality of your ally’s assistance. However, the discussion is interminable. The hour grows late, you must depart. And you do depart, with the discussion still vigorously in progress. [1] [2]

In a researched argument, you should:

  • Establish the scholarly conversation that you are entering.
  • Engage in debate with other scholars by analyzing the literary text
  • Form an original interpretation about the literary text through close reading

Introductions

  • Develops an interpretive or intellectual problem—either drawn from research into how other scholars have interpreted the poem or short story or drawn from a detail in the story itself that bears some tension, irony, ambiguity, or disjunction that connects to a larger scholarly conversation.
  • Adds new evidence
  • Adds a new interpretation
  • Disagrees with a previous interpretation

Sample Introductions

The Introduction should accomplish four steps:

  • Establish an Interpretive Problem: Observe the juxtaposing elements in the story that have caused an interpretive gap or tension and establish the significance of these elements.
  • Describe a Major Interpretive Debate: Describe, in a couple of sentences, how various scholars have approached this text, genre, or work from this poet/time period. What problems have emerged in writing about this exhibit? What conversation are you joining?
  • Thesis Statement: After reviewing the previous scholarship, state your claim. What are you arguing in this paper?
  • Road Map: How are you going to support your argument? What’s the layout for this paper?

Take a look at the sample introductions from Laura Wilder and Joanna Wolfe’s  Digging into Literature.  [3]   Where/How does this introduction accomplish each of these four steps?

Schwab, Melinda. “A Watch for Emily.” Studies in Short Fiction 28.2 (1991): 215-17.

The critical attention given to the subject of time in Faulkner most certainly fills as many pages as the longest novel of Yoknapatawpha County. A goodly number of those pages of criticism deal with the well-known short story, “A Rose for Emily.” Several scholars, most notably Paul McGlynn, have worked to untangle the confusing chronology of this work (461-62). Others have given a variety of symbolic and psychological reasons for Emily Grierson’s inability (or refusal) to acknowledge the passage of time. Yet in all of this careful literary analysis, no one has discussed one troubling and therefore highly significant detail. When we first meet Miss Emily, she carries in a pocket somewhere within her clothing an “invisible watch ticking at the end of [a] gold chain” (Faulkner 121). What would a woman like Emily Grierson, who seems to us fixed in the past and oblivious to any passing of time, need with a watch? An awareness of the significance of this watch, however, is crucial for a clear understanding of Miss Emily herself. The watch’s placement in her pocket, its unusually loud ticking, and the chain to which it is attached illustrate both her attempts to control the passage of years and the consequences of such an ultimately futile effort (215).

Fick, Thomas, and Eva Gold. “’He Liked Men’: Homer, Homosexuality, and the Culture of Manhood in Faulkner’s ‘A Rose for Emily.’” Eureka Studies in Teaching Short Fiction 8.1 (2007): 99-107.

Over the last few years critics have discussed homosexuality in Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily,” one of Faulkner’s most frequently anthologized works and a mainstay of literature classes at all levels. Hal Blythe, for example, asserts outright that Homer Barron is gay, while in a more nuanced reading James Wallace argues that the narrator merely wishes to suggest that Barron is homosexual in order to implicate the reader in a culture of gossip (Blythe 49-50; Wallace 105-07). Both readings rest on this comment by the narrator: “Then we said, ‘She will persuade him yet,’ because Homer himself had remarked—he liked men, and it was known that he drank with the younger men at the Elks’ Club—that he was not a marrying man” (Faulkner 126)…While we agree that the narrator’s comment suggests something important about Homer’s sexual orientation, in contrast with Blythe we believe that it says Homer is combatively heterosexual.

  • Engages in conversation with literary scholars throughout the essay, showing how their interpretation affirms, contrasts, contradicts and resolves the interpretive problem posed by literary scholars.
  • Uses contextual and argumentative sources to support and challenge their analysis of the text.
  • Uses close reading strategies to deeply analyze the literary text.
  • Resolves the interpretive problem through a deep analysis of the text.

Conclusion:

  • Discuss the significance of their analysis to the research being done on that area of literary study.
  • Identify one question or problem that still remains for the field of scholarship on the subject.

Sample Researched Argument

The White Gaze in “On Being Brought from Africa to America”

Paragraph 1

Phillis Wheatley was born in West Africa, captured at a young age, and sold into slavery. Despite the violent history that she lives through, her poem “On Being Brought from Africa to America” opens by expressing gratitude towards a system only referred to in the poem as “mercy.” Due to this discrepancy between the violent history she lives through and the evangelical understanding of that history expressed in the poem, critics have long questioned whether her poetry is a true expression of herself. No one tells the story of Wheatley’s legacy better than Henry Louis Gates, Jr. who, in his article “Phillis Wheatley on Trial,” describes how the Black Nationalist movement zeroed in on “On Being Brought from Africa to America” because there was no outcry in the poem—no objection to being brought to America. The poem was absent of the longing to return back to Africa that the Black Nationalist movement invested in (Gates 87). These critics also decried her poetic style, which imitated White, Enlightenment poets like Alexander Pope (Baraka, Barnum, and Thurman, as cited in Gates 87). Despite this backlash to Wheatley’s poetry, the authenticity of her work remains hotly debated today. Debates over her poetry were revived in the 80’s/90’s when scholars like William J. Scheik, Sondra O’Neale, James Levernier, and Mark Edelman Boren began to document how the biblical allusions and metaphors of her poetry, when read closely, were more subversive than appeared on first glance. This is how Wheatley has continued to be read today, with scholars questioning to what extent her subversions were explicit enough to change the cultural landscape of eighteenth-century America.

Paragraph 2

This paper will argue that the binary readings of Wheatley presented—one in which she is an “Uncle Tom figure” (Gross, as cited in Gates 87) and another in which she is a subversive, revolutionary poet (Levernier)—are both self-consciously represented by Wheatley in the poem. The poem is an example of early discussions of Black identity formation, one in which she is locked into two modes of being: gratitude and resistance. We will start by looking at the most contentious aspects of the poem—the gratitude for Christianity. Looking at the rhetorical construction of the speaker/reader relationship, we will uncover how the poem imagines her White, Christian reader and, in turn, how that White, Christian reader imagines her subjectivity. Following, we will then look at the allusions to the Transatlantic Slave Trade to affirm that these allusions demonstrate the subversiveness of her poetry. Subversive both in demonstrating the White reader’s understanding of her diasporic identity and in showcasing the fluidity of that identity in its early formation.

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Arguments against reading Wheatley in a subversive light hinge on the evangelical Christian sentiments that open the first lines, particularly the idea that Africa consists of a “pagan land.” As Henry Louis Gates discusses, for Black nationalist thinkers, her description of her African origins as a “pagan” place was a rejection of her Black identity, an attempt to assimilate to her white readership. However, these opening lines are particularly interesting because of the pronoun usage in the opening lines. The opening line says, “’Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land,” (Wheatley 1). While on the surface the line looks like a benign Christian gratitude for salvation, the pronoun usage in these early lines suggests an alienation that Wheatley feels between herself and her African origins. She has been “brought,” perhaps we might imagine “removed” from her land. The disjunction between “me” and “my pagan land,” suggests a fundamental bifurcation of the self that begins the poem. In many accounts of Wheatley’s Black identity, she is conceived to be assimilationist because her poem suggests, “ludicrous [departure] from the huge black voices that splintered southern nights with their hollers, chants, arwhoolies, and ballits,” (Baraka, as cited in Gates 87). But, I want to suggest that the bifurcation of the self that begins the poem, which initially may look like an assimilationist rejection of Africa—is actually a meditation on how the transatlantic slave trade has shaped her identity—an early example of Du Bois’s “double consciousness” of African-American identities.

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As many scholars have noted, the poem seems to subversively contend with her relationship with evangelical Christianity, which we may note was a condition of her education. The reference to “mercy” in the first line is particularly troubling—as we know that it was not mercy, but the transatlantic slave trade that brought her to the U.S. How are we to read this reference to mercy? Are we to read it as a moment of cognitive dissonance between Wheatley’s understanding of her history and herself? Are we to read it as an imitation of forms of poetry that she was reading as part of her education? I suggest that we read it as ironic. In both of the interpretations mentioned above, there is a fundamental tension between the reader’s awareness and, supposedly, Wheatley’s awareness. In fact, the title page of the original publication announces that she was a “servant to John Wheatley”—the 18th century reader would have been well-aware of the implications of this position of servitude, would have been aware of the conditions of life that brought Africans to the U.S. Rather than looking at this line for absence of reference to the transatlantic slave trade, I think we should attend to the passivity of the line—the lack of agency she expresses in this opening of the poem. The passive construction of the sentence gives agency to mercy rather than any singular person for the double-consciousness that she is expressing in the rest of the line. It is because of this passivity that she is able to call the land “pagan,” the italicization of which suggests irony. In fact, Mark Edelman Boren suggests that stress is being put on the term pagan in order to undercut the conventional association between the idea of Africa as a pagan landscape and the Africa that Wheatley comes from (45). In this opening line, Wheatley seems to be undercutting the conventional notions that the reader might have of African poets—undercutting the idea that they are grateful for the violence being inflicted on them.

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This passive construction continues to influence Wheatley’s perception of herself in the next line of the poem: “Taught my benighted soul to understand” (2). Based on the claims I’ve made in the previous paragraphs, we can trust that Wheatley has already unmoored the reader’s associations between both: the evangelical conception that the transatlantic slave trade was founded on benevolence and the association between Africa and paganism. The poem continues to make her identity the focus of the poem. In this line, she is now thinking about her “benighted soul.” While we may look at the denotative definition of this line and think that it suggests that her soul was lacking of the opportunity to be saved before she was enslaved, we might also continue to look at the passive construction of this definition. Wheatley uses the term benighted because, while suggesting that she lacked the opportunity to be saved, it also suggests that the lack of opportunity was bestowed on her by another force or person. There is an external influence shaping Wheatley’s identity in the poem—perhaps, that of the reader. As James Levernier notes, despite, or because of, the reader’s awareness of the horrors of the transatlantic slave trade, the poem would not have been published if Wheatley expressed explicit protest of the conditions of her enslavement (174). At the same time, this passive construction as well as the irony in these opening lines suggests that Wheatley is self-consciously aware of the suppression of her ideas brought about by the presence of the reader. As she constructs the image of herself as a poet, she has to remove herself from her African origins, has to invest in the gratitude conditioned by evangelical Christianity, has to alienate herself from the consciousness of her enslaved condition.

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In other words, our reading of the first two lines of the poem suggests that this poem is actually about her identity as a Black poet. In W.E.B. DuBois’s “Strivings of the Negro People,”, he describes “double-consciousness” as “this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.” In the first two lines of the poem, we see the measurements of White evangelical Christianity—with its expectation that an African poet is grateful for her servitude—being ironically unsettled by Wheatley. If we look at the pattern of pronouns being used throughout the poem, we can see a self-consciousness in the first half of her octave, with a consistent attention on “me…my land…my benighted soul…I…” (1, 2, 4). Then, in the second half of the poem, as Wheatley shifts from a discussion of Christianity to a more overt discussion of the perceptions of Africans, her pronouns shift as well: “Our…Their…Christians…” (5-7). While the first half of the poem may look assimilationist, the second half of the poem showcases a conscious alignment with an African race. She is, as DuBois writes “an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body.”

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In the opening lines of the poem, Wheatley seems to be contesting the White reader’s idea that the Black poet, Black person, is ultimately grateful for their condition. In the second half of the poem, her task is to define the Black identity. As she tries to do so, she realizes that she is limited by the terms given to her by the White Christian establishment. In the final lines of the poem, she writes, “Remember, Christians, Negros, black as Cain,/May be refin’d, and join th’ angelic train” (7-8). It is here that we get our first references to the transatlantic slave trade, if we choose to read them that way. The final line describes the condition of reformed Black Christians as “refin’d” an oddly classed word to use if we perceive that line as depicting the conversion of Christians (8). However, the word would also have been used as a reference to the process of ‘refining sugar,’ a process by which manufacturers remove impurities and color from the unprocessed cane. Given its most popular usage in the eighteenth century, I suspect that the eighteenth century reader would have associated the word “refined” with sugar manufacturing (“Refine, V.”). Levernier also notes that these words had already taken on the association with these industries in Quaker circles—that is, circles that sought to abolish slavery it the Americas (182). Upon further looking at the language of the last two lines, we may also see the simile “black as Cain” as contributing to our imagination that she is referring to sugar (7). While she is making a biblical allusion to the more violent of Cain and Abel, the homophone also makes the allusion to sugar cane, which is black in nature. By looking carefully at the language she is using, we can see that her description of the religious system of conversion is also an allusion to the process of refining sugar. As White Christians take indigenous people and convert them to Christianity, so too do enslaved Africans farm black cane and refine it into white sugar. In these final lines of the poem, Wheatley seems to acknowledge that the language of Christianity can’t escape the slave trade. As a poet and author, neither can she.

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As Wheatley tries to define and articulate a Black identity, she finds herself limited by the language of the transatlantic slave trade. In other words, we can read her poem as an articulation of the ways Black identity becomes founded on the violence of the transatlantic slave trade. While the reference to the sugar refinement process is her most referenced subversive metaphor, she also refers to her Black-ness as a “die” and the race itself as “sable.” In other words, when Wheatley constructs race, she does it under the metaphors of the valuable industrial trades: either a dye used for clothing or a valuable fur. We can read these metaphors in two complementary respects. First, the metaphors are skin-based, suggesting that this early social construction of race is partially based on skin color. Second, the metaphors are both references to a violent process enacted on an object that is then likened to violence being perpetuated on the bodies of African slaves—either through the burning of skin as a result of the dying process or the skinning of an animal. As Gates notes, Seymour Gross has said that Wheatley was a “perfect Uncle Tom Figure” (87). However, this ironic use of dialogue suggests otherwise. This suggests that, while criticizing the White reader’s perception of Black writers, she also must criticize the transatlantic slave trade, for limiting her ability to articulate Black identity in the first place.

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In other words, we may re-read Wheatley’s poem as an early articulation of Black diasporic identities. In Michelle Wright’s Becoming Black: Creating Identity in the African Diaspora , she discusses the difficulties of expressing diasporic identities in Western literature. “On one end stands the…hypercollective, essentialist identity, which provides comfort of absolutist assertions in exchange for the total annihilation of self…” she writes. “On the other end stands the hyperindividual identity…which grants a hyperindividualized self in exchange for the annihilation of ‘Blackness’ as a collective term” (2). Wheatley’s poem seems to be straddling these two identity positions—one in which her individuality as a poet, something she is praised for in the opening advertisement of her 1773 volume of poetry, is founded on a rejection of her African heritage and one in which she can be Black, but must be perceived as part of a “diabolic” or “sable” race. Looking back at my own analysis of this poem, it seems Wheatley is limited by these dual conceptions of her identity. However, I think the poem ultimately represents an act of liberation: by self-consciously examining the limitations placed on her by the transatlantic slave trade and Christianity’s role in perpetuating the ideologies of slavery, she is able to express a fundamental tenet of Black oppression—the inability to exist outside of socially constructed categories of being.

Works Cited

Boren, Mark Edelman. “A Fiery Furnace and a Sugar Train: Metaphors That Challenge the

Legacy of Phillis Wheatley’s ‘On Being Brought from Africa to America.’” CEA Critic ,

vol. 67, no. 1, 2004, pp. 38–56.

Du Bois, W. E. B. “Strivings of the Negro People.” The Atlantic, Aug. 1987,

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1897/08/strivings-of-the-negro-people/305446/ . Accessed 12 Aug. 2023.

Gates Jr., Henry Louis. “Phillis Wheatley on Trial.” The New Yorker, 20 Jan. 2003, pp. 82-87.

Levernier, James A. “Style as Protest in the Poetry of Phillis Wheatley.” Style , vol. 27, no. 2,

1993, pp. 172–93. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/42946037. Accessed 12 Aug. 2023.

“Refine, V.” Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford UP, March 2024, https://doi.org/10.1093/OED/1053806037.

Wheatley, Phillis. “On Being Brought from Africa to America.” Penguin Book of Migration 

Literature , edited by Dohra Ahmad, Penguin, 2019.

—. Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral . London, A. Bell, 1773.

Wright, Michelle. Becoming Black: Creating Identity in the African Diaspora . Duke UP, 2004.

  • Burke, Kenneth. The Philosophy of Literary Form: Studies in Symbolic Action . Louisiana State UP, 1941. ↵
  • Wilder, Laura, and Joanna Wolfe. Digging into Literature. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2016, 222-226. ↵

Writing About Literature Copyright © by Sarah Guayante is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Argumentative Essay

Definition of argumentative essay.

An argumentative essay is a type of essay that presents arguments about both sides of an issue. It could be that both sides are presented equally balanced, or it could be that one side is presented more forcefully than the other. It all depends on the writer, and what side he supports the most. The general structure of an argumentative essay follows this format:

  • Introduction : Attention Grabber/ hook , Background Information , Thesis Statement
  • Body : Three body paragraphs (three major arguments)
  • Counterargument : An argument to refute earlier arguments and give weight to the actual position
  • Conclusion : Rephrasing the thesis statement , major points, call to attention, or concluding remarks .

Models for Argumentative Essays

There are two major models besides this structure given above, which is called a classical model. Two other models are the Toulmin and Rogerian models.

Toulmin model is comprised of an introduction with a claim or thesis, followed by the presentation of data to support the claim. Warrants are then listed for the reasons to support the claim with backing and rebuttals. However, the Rogerian model asks to weigh two options, lists the strengths and weaknesses of both options, and gives a recommendation after an analysis.

Five Types of Argument Claims in Essay Writing  

There are five major types of argument claims as given below.

  • A claim of definition
  • A claim about values
  • A claim about the reason
  • A claim about comparison
  • A claim about policy or position

A writer makes a claim about these issues and answers the relevant questions about it with relevant data and evidence to support the claim.

Three Major Types of Argument and How to Apply Them

Classical argument.

This model of applying argument is also called the Aristotelian model developed by Aristotle. This type of essay introduces the claim, with the opinion of the writer about the claim, its both perspectives, supported by evidence, and provides a conclusion about the better perspective . This essay includes an introduction, a body having the argument and support, a counter-argument with support, and a conclusion.

Toulmin Argument

This model developed by Stephen Toulmin is based on the claim followed by grounds, warrant, backing, qualifier, and rebuttal . Its structure comprises, an introduction having the main claim, a body with facts and evidence, while its rebuttal comprises counter-arguments and a conclusion.

Rogerian Argument

The third model by Carl Rogers has different perspectives having proof to support and a conclusion based on all the available perspectives. Its structure comprises an introduction with a thesis, the opposite point of view and claim, a middle-ground for both or more perspectives, and a conclusion.

Four Steps to Outline and Argumentative Essay

There are four major steps to outlining an argumentative essay.

  • Introduction with background, claim, and thesis.
  • Body with facts, definition, claim, cause and effect, or policy.
  • The opposing point of view with pieces of evidence.

Examples of Argumentative Essay in Literature

Example #1: put a little science in your life by brian greene.

“When we consider the ubiquity of cellphones, iPods, personal computers and the Internet, it’s easy to see how science (and the technology to which it leads) is woven into the fabric of our day-to-day activities . When we benefit from CT scanners, M.R.I. devices, pacemakers and arterial stents, we can immediately appreciate how science affects the quality of our lives. When we assess the state of the world, and identify looming challenges like climate change, global pandemics, security threats and diminishing resources, we don’t hesitate in turning to science to gauge the problems and find solutions. And when we look at the wealth of opportunities hovering on the horizon—stem cells, genomic sequencing, personalized medicine, longevity research, nanoscience, brain-machine interface, quantum computers, space technology—we realize how crucial it is to cultivate a general public that can engage with scientific issues; there’s simply no other way that as a society we will be prepared to make informed decisions on a range of issues that will shape the future.”

These two paragraphs present an argument about two scientific fields — digital products and biotechnology. It has also given full supporting details with names.

Example #2: Boys Here, Girls There: Sure, If Equality’s the Goal by Karen Stabiner

“The first objections last week came from the National Organization for Women and the New York Civil Liberties Union, both of which opposed the opening of TYWLS in the fall of 1996. The two groups continue to insist—as though it were 1896 and they were arguing Plessy v. Ferguson—that separate can never be equal. I appreciate NOW ’s wariness of the Bush administration’s endorsement of single-sex public schools, since I am of the generation that still considers the label “feminist” to be a compliment—and many feminists still fear that any public acknowledgment of differences between the sexes will hinder their fight for equality .”

This paragraph by Karen Stabiner presents an objection to the argument of separation between public schools. It has been fully supported with evidence of the court case.

Example #3: The Flight from Conversation by Sherry Turkle

“We’ve become accustomed to a new way of being “ alone together.” Technology-enabled, we are able to be with one another, and also elsewhere, connected to wherever we want to be. We want to customize our lives. We want to move in and out of where we are because the thing we value most is control over where we focus our attention. We have gotten used to the idea of being in a tribe of one, loyal to our own party.”

This is an argument by Sherry Turkle, who beautifully presented it in the first person plural dialogues . However, it is clear that this is part of a greater argument instead of the essay.

Function of Argumentative Essay

An argumentative essay presents both sides of an issue. However, it presents one side more positively or meticulously than the other one, so that readers could be swayed to the one the author intends. The major function of this type of essay is to present a case before the readers in a convincing manner, showing them the complete picture.

Synonyms of Argumentative Essay

Argumentative Essay synonyms are as follows: persuasive essays, research essays, analytical essays, or even some personal essays.

Related posts:

  • Elements of an Essay
  • Narrative Essay
  • Definition Essay
  • Descriptive Essay
  • Types of Essay
  • Analytical Essay
  • Cause and Effect Essay
  • Critical Essay
  • Expository Essay
  • Persuasive Essay
  • Process Essay
  • Explicatory Essay
  • An Essay on Man: Epistle I
  • Comparison and Contrast Essay

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—AP Literary Argument—

When planning our units at Literary Focus , we begin with the final essay first.  Because our ultimate goal is to prepare students for the rigor and challenge of college-level curricula, we use AP Literary Argument prompts from previous AP Literature exams for our final essays.  Since the AP Literary Argument prompt we choose determines the focus of the entire unit, we need to establish our thematic goals first and then choose the prompt that best achieves that purpose.  For example, when teaching Toni Morrison's  Beloved , we want students to examine how characters emotionally and psychologically handle traumatic experiences from the past.  To achieve that end, we have chosen the prompt from the 2007 AP Literature exam for the final essay:

The 2007 AP prompt claims that "past events" can affect characters either "positively or negatively."  While it might be tempting to focus solely on the negative aspects of the past in a novel like  Beloved , we encourage students to explore the complexity of the issues raised in every AP prompt and avoid the either/or fallacy by turning the conjunction "or" into an "and."  In other words, how does the past affect characters both positively  and negatively?

In the first section of the novel, the narrator claims that Sethe devotes her days to the "serious work of beating back the past" (86).  One can surmise that Sethe thinks — at a subliminal level, at least — that if she represses her painful memories, she can focus on the present and perhaps find happiness in the future.  While Sethe's rejection of the past might have short-term advantages, Morrison makes clear that repressing the past will have debilitating consequences over time.  When Paul D arrives at 124 Bluestone Road, we find that he has adopted a similar strategy as Sethe.  Paul D has locked his painful thoughts and feelings inside a "tobacco tin buried in his chest where a red heart used to be.  Its lid rusted shut" (86).  By repressing these painful emotions, both Sethe and Paul D think they have given themselves space to focus on the present; however, Morrison suggests that their unwillingness to confront their traumatic pasts has also stunted their emotional and psychological growth.  Despite the "negative" associations that both characters have with the past, Morrison implies that the characters need to find ways to confront their painful memories in a "positive," life-affirming manner.   

We encourage students to explore the complexity embedded in every AP prompt, and when it comes time to write the essay, we have them use the rhetorical framework of Hegel's Dialectic to construct their arguments.  Hegel believed that in order to find the intellectual "truth" in any philosophical pursuit, one must use a thesis/antithesis/synthesis model to guide one's thinking:

In Hegel's terms, the "thesis" is not one's overall argument, but simply an initial claim that is contrasted with a complementary counter-claim, or "antithesis."  The thesis and antithesis are the focus of the first two body paragraphs in a student's essay, which creates complexity and tension that must be resolved in the concluding third body paragraph, or "synthesis."  The overall argument integrates all three elements, with one element leading logically to the next until it comes to a satisfying conclusion that reflects the overall theme of the work — or, to use the AP's terminology, "the meaning of the work as a whole."

To give students a better understanding of Hegel's Dialectic, we provide an overview that has been adapted from John Wetzel's article, "The MCAT Writing Assignment," which he wrote for the website WikiPreMed to help students prepare for the MCAT essay, which was required on all MCAT exams prior to 2013:  

Using Hegel's Dialectic prevents students from writing simplistic responses by creating complexity in their arguments.  For instance, when responding to the 2007 AP prompt, a student might argue in the first body paragraph (i.e. thesis) that Sethe and Paul D repress painful memories to help them live more fully in the present.  This argument could then lead to the second body paragraph (i.e. antithesis), where a student could argue that the coming of Beloved represents how the characters cannot live, however, in perpetual denial of the past, especially when it involves traumatic events.  Sethe's eventual embracing of Beloved, who symbolically represents the past, brings its own dire consequences.  One could argue that Sethe overcompensates after Beloved arrives, becoming so absorbed in her past that she cuts herself off from the present and the people around her.  Morrison suggests that there is a natural tension between these two appealing, yet ultimately self-destructive, responses to trauma that needs to be resolved in the student's third body paragraph (i.e. synthesis).  The resolution of this conflict not only becomes the focus of the concluding paragraph, but it also should reveal Morrison's overall theme in the novel, which the AP would call "the meaning of the work as a whole."

Here is what a sample four-paragraph AP Literary Argument essay on  Beloved  might look like using Hegel's Dialectic.  Note that the short introductory paragraph establishes the title, author, and argument by reflecting the focus (i.e. topic sentence) of each succeeding body paragraph:

Since students do not have a copy of the text when writing  the Literary Argument essay on the AP Literature exam, they are not expected to use direct quotes.  Students should still reference the text indirectly, however, to support their claims.  The sample essay above is just one possible way to organize an argument on  Beloved  using the 2007 prompt.  When preparing our units, we make sure we examine every aspect of the prompt to help students understand the various options they have in organizing their essays.

For instance, the 2007 prompt states that "past events" can affect characters not just "positively or negatively," but can also determine their "present actions, attitudes, and values."  In other words, the prompt wants students to consider what characters do  in the present that has potentially positive and/or negative impacts on the future.  Secondly, the prompt asks how characters  feel about the present based on what has happened in the past.  And, finally, the prompt wants us to examine what characters  believe  is important in the present as they grapple with the burdens of the past.  Since the major characters in Morrison's novel are not static, students should also examine how the characters' "actions, attitudes, and values" potentially  change over the course of the novel.

Another angle that the prompt suggests is how past events affect characters not just from a "personal" standpoint, but also from a "societal" one.  In this regard, students should consider the larger implications of Morrison's novel for our society and country as a whole.  How do the characters' "personal" struggles reflect the larger "societal" struggles that our country still faces in trying to overcome the traumatic legacy of slavery?  Since the novel was written in 1987, Morrison implies that the ghost of Beloved does not just haunt the characters in the novel, but that the specter of slavery continues to haunt our nation to this day.  Ultimately, readers need to consider how Morrison suggests we can potentially exorcise our "ghosts" of the past to move forward as a society and country.

There are many options for students to consider when writing the AP Literary Argument essay, and teachers need to make sure every aspect of the prompt is addressed at some point in the activities and assignments of the unit.  The AP Literary Argument essay is not just the culminating student assessment; it is also the pivotal first decision that teachers need to make when planning their units.

We aspire to be an active, engaged professional development community.  Please submit your questions, comments, or suggestions to join the conversation!

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Literary Analysis Essay Writing

Literary Analysis Essay Outline

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Literary Analysis Essay Outline - A Step By Step Guide

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How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay - A Step-by-Step Guide

Interesting Literary Analysis Essay Topics & Ideas

Have you ever felt stuck, looking at a blank page, wondering what a literary analysis essay is? You are not sure how to analyze a complicated book or story? 

Writing a literary analysis essay can be tough, even for people who really love books. The hard part is not only understanding the deeper meaning of the story but also organizing your thoughts and arguments in a clear way.

But don't worry!

In this easy-to-follow guide, we will talk about a key tool: The Literary Analysis Essay Outline. 

We'll provide you with the knowledge and tricks you need to structure your analysis the right way. In the end, you'll have the essential skills to understand and structure your literature analysis better.   So, let’s dive in!

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  • 1. How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay Outline?
  • 2. Literary Analysis Essay Format 
  • 3. Literary Analysis Essay Outline Example
  • 4. Literary Analysis Essay Topics 

How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay Outline?

An outline is a structure that you decide to give to your writing to make the audience understand your viewpoint clearly. When a writer gathers information on a topic, it needs to be organized to make sense.

When writing a literary analysis essay, its outline is as important as any part of it. For the text’s clarity and readability, an outline is drafted in the essay’s planning phase.

According to the basic essay outline, the following are the elements included in drafting an outline for the essay:

  • Introduction
  • Thesis statement
  • Body paragraphs

A detailed description of the literary analysis outline is provided in the following section.

Literary Analysis Essay Introduction

An introduction section is the first part of the essay. The introductory paragraph or paragraphs provide an insight into the topic and prepares the readers about the literary work.

A literary analysis essay introduction is based on three major elements:

Hook Statement: A hook statement is the opening sentence of the introduction. This statement is used to grab people’s attention. A catchy hook will make the introductory paragraph interesting for the readers, encouraging them to read the entire essay.

For example, in a literary analysis essay, “ Island Of Fear,” the writer used the following hook statement:

“As humans, we all fear something, and we deal with those fears in ways that match our personalities.”

Background Information: Providing background information about the chosen literature work in the introduction is essential. Present information related to the author, title, and theme discussed in the original text.

Moreover, include other elements to discuss, such as characters, setting, and the plot. For example:

“ In Lord of the Flies, William Golding shows the fears of Jack, Ralph, and Piggy and chooses specific ways for each to deal with his fears.”

Thesis Statement: A thesis statement is the writer’s main claim over the chosen piece of literature. 

A thesis statement allows your reader to expect the purpose of your writing. The main objective of writing a thesis statement is to provide your subject and opinion on the essay.

For example, the thesis statement in the “Island of Fear” is:

“...Therefore, each of the three boys reacts to fear in his own unique way.”

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Literary Analysis Essay Body Paragraphs

In body paragraphs, you dig deep into the text, show your insights, and build your argument.

 In this section, we'll break down how to structure and write these paragraphs effectively:

Topic sentence: A topic sentence is an opening sentence of the paragraph. The points that will support the main thesis statement are individually presented in each section.

For example:

“The first boy, Jack, believes that a beast truly does exist…”

Evidence: To support the claim made in the topic sentence, evidence is provided. The evidence is taken from the selected piece of work to make the reasoning strong and logical.

“...He is afraid and admits it; however, he deals with his fear of aggressive violence. He chooses to hunt for the beast, arms himself with a spear, and practice killing it: “We’re strong—we hunt! If there’s a beast, we’ll hunt it down! We’ll close in and beat and beat and beat—!”(91).”

Analysis: A literary essay is a kind of essay that requires a writer to provide his analysis as well.

The purpose of providing the writer’s analysis is to tell the readers about the meaning of the evidence.

“...He also uses the fear of the beast to control and manipulate the other children. Because they fear the beast, they are more likely to listen to Jack and follow his orders...”

Transition words: Transition or connecting words are used to link ideas and points together to maintain a logical flow.  Transition words  that are often used in a literary analysis essay are:

  • Furthermore
  • Later in the story
  • In contrast, etc.

“...Furthermore, Jack fears Ralph’s power over the group and Piggy’s rational thought. This is because he knows that both directly conflict with his thirst for absolute power...”

Concluding sentence: The last sentence of the body that gives a final statement on the topic sentence is the concluding sentence. It sums up the entire discussion held in that specific paragraph.

Here is a literary analysis paragraph example for you: 

Literary Essay Example Pdf

Literary Analysis Essay Conclusion

The last section of the essay is the conclusion part where the writer ties all loose ends of the essay together. To write appropriate and correct concluding paragraphs, add the following information:

  • State how your topic is related to the theme of the chosen work
  • State how successfully the author delivered the message
  • According to your perspective, provide a statement on the topic
  • If required, present predictions
  • Connect your conclusion to your introduction by restating the thesis statement.
  • In the end, provide an opinion about the significance of the work.

For example,

“ In conclusion, William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies exposes the reader to three characters with different personalities and fears: Jack, Ralph, and Piggy. Each of the boys tries to conquer his fear in a different way. Fear is a natural emotion encountered by everyone, but each person deals with it in a way that best fits his/her individual personality.”

Literary Analysis Essay Outline (PDF)

Literary Analysis Essay Format 

A literary analysis essay delves into the examination and interpretation of a literary work, exploring themes, characters, and literary devices. 

Below is a guide outlining the format for a structured and effective literary analysis essay.

Formatting Guidelines 

  • Use a legible font (e.g., Times New Roman or Arial) and set the font size to 12 points.
  • Double-space your essay, including the title, headings, and quotations.
  • Set one-inch margins on all sides of the page.
  • Indent paragraphs by 1/2 inch or use the tab key.
  • Page numbers, if required, should be in the header or footer and follow the specified formatting style.

Literary Analysis Essay Outline Example

To fully understand a concept in a writing world, literary analysis outline examples are important. This is to learn how a perfectly structured writing piece is drafted and how ideas are shaped to convey a message. 

The following are the best literary analysis essay examples to help you draft a perfect essay. 

Literary Analysis Essay Rubric (PDF)

High School Literary Analysis Essay Outline

Literary Analysis Essay Outline College (PDF)

Literary Analysis Essay Example Romeo & Juliet (PDF)

AP Literary Analysis Essay Outline

Literary Analysis Essay Outline Middle School

Literary Analysis Essay Topics 

Are you seeking inspiration for your next literary analysis essay? Here is a list of literary analysis essay topics for you:

  • The Theme of Alienation in "The Catcher in the Rye"
  • The Motif of Darkness in Shakespeare's Tragedies
  • The Psychological Complexity of Hamlet's Character
  • Analyzing the Narrator's Unreliable Perspective in "The Tell-Tale Heart"
  • The Role of Nature in William Wordsworth's Romantic Poetry
  • The Representation of Social Class in "To Kill a Mockingbird"
  • The Use of Irony in Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"
  • The Impact of Holden's Red Hunting Hat in the Novel
  • The Power of Setting in Gabriel García Márquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude"
  • The Symbolism of the Conch Shell in William Golding's "Lord of the Flies"

Need more topics? Read our literary analysis essay topics blog!

All in all, writing a literary analysis essay can be tricky if it is your first attempt. Apart from analyzing the work, other elements like a topic and an accurate interpretation must draft this type of essay.

If you are in doubt to draft a perfect essay, get professional assistance from our essay service .

We are a professional essay writing company that provides guidance and helps students to achieve their academic goals. Our qualified writers assist students by providing assistance at an affordable price. 

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Humanities LibreTexts

4.2: The Writing Process for Literary Essays

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  • Heather Ringo & Athena Kashyap
  • City College of San Francisco via ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative

Why Follow the Writing Process?

Even the most talented writers rarely get a piece right in their first draft. What's more, few writers create a first draft through a single, sustained effort. Instead, the best writers understand that writing is a process: it takes time; sustained attention; and a willingness to change, expand, and even delete words as one writes. Good writing also takes a willingness to seek feedback from peers and mentors and to accept and use the advice they give. In this book, we will refer to and model the writing process , showing how student writers like yourself worked toward compelling papers about literary works. Watch the video below where author Salman Rushdie talks about some misconceptions new writers sometimes have about what it takes to write effectively. Though he is discussing novels specifically, the same concepts apply to literary essays.

The following are a few famous writers' pieces of advice when it comes to following the writing process:

  • "For me and most of the other writers I know, writing is not rapturous. In fact, the only way I can get anything written at all is to write really, really shitty first drafts"—Anne Lamott
  • "The key to writing is concentration, not inspiration"—Salman Rushdie
  • "By the time I am nearing the end of a story, the first part will have been reread and altered and corrected at least one hundred and fifty times. I am suspicious of both facility and speed. Good writing is essentially rewriting. I am positive of this." —Roald Dahl (Vander Hook)
  • "I don't write easily or rapidly. My first draft usually has only a few elements worth keeping. I have to find what those are and build from them and throw out what doesn't work, or what simply is not alive." —Susan Sontag (Lee)

Take it from the writing experts: following the writing process is the key to writing success. Following this process can be liberatory in the sense that you don't have to feel an immense pressure to write brilliantly. The best writing takes time, incremental effort, and resilience.

As I often tell my students:

"There is no such thing as bad writers, only writers who give up too soon. There is no such thing as bad writing, just writing in need of revision." This means anyone can write a strong essay if they follow the writing process!

Your process

  • How do you typically approach writing assignments in your classes? When do you start working? Do you employ any prewriting techniques?
  • Have you ever been given the chance to revise your writing after receiving feedback from your peers or your instructor? How did the act of revising change your relationship to your paper?

Good writing takes, above all, planning and organization. If you wait until the night before a written assignment is due to begin, your hurrying will supersede the necessary steps of prewriting, researching, outlining, drafting, revising, seeking feedback, and re-revising. Those stages look something like this:

The Writing Process Steps

First, read the work of literature you plan to write about. This may seem like an obvious step, but some students think they can write an effective essay by just reading the SparkNotes or Shmoop. While some students may be able to get away with writing a passing essay this way, most cannot. Besides, by completing the readings, you actually learn!

Many of the questions and activities peppered throughout sections of this book will be prewriting activities. We'll ask you to reflect on your reading, to make connections between your experiences and our text, and to jot down ideas spurred by your engagement with the theories presented here. It's from activities like these that writers often get their ideas for writing. The more engaged you are as a reader, the more engaged you'll be when the time comes to write.

Researching

This book will also help you start the research process, in which you hone in on those aspects of a given literary text that interest you and seek out a deeper understanding of those aspects. Literary researchers read not only literary texts but also the work of other literary scholars and even sources that are indirectly related to literature, such as primary historical documents and biographies. In other words, they seek a wide range of texts that can supplement their understanding of the story, poem, play, or other text they want to write about. As you research, you should keep prewriting, keeping a record of what you agree with, what you disagree with, and what you feel needs further exploration in the texts you read.

To write well, you should have a plan. As you write, that plan may change while you learn more about your topic and begin to fully understand your own ideas. However, papers are easier to tackle when you first sketch out the broad outline of your ideas, a general arc or path you want your paper to follow. Committing those ideas to paper will help you see how different ideas relate to one another (or don't relate to one another). Don't be afraid to revise your outline — play around with the sequence of your ideas and evidence until you find the most logical progression.

The most important way to improve your writing is to start writing! Because you’re treating writing as a process, it's not important that every word you type be perfectly chosen, or that every sentence be exquisitely crafted. When you're drafting, the most important thing is that you get words on paper. Follow your outline and write. If ideas come to you as you're writing, but do not quite fit in that section of the paper, make note of it! You don't have to use it, but few things are more frustrating than forgetting an idea that might work perfectly for your paper.

After you've committed words to paper (or, more accurately, to your computer screen), you can go back and shape them more deliberately through revision . Cognitive research has shown that a significant portion of reading is actually remembering. As a result, if you read your work immediately after writing it, you probably won't notice any of the potential problems with it. Your brain will "fill in the gaps" of poor grammar, misspelling, or faulty reasoning. Because of this, you should give yourself some time in between drafting and revising—the more time the better. As you revise, try to approach your text as your readers will. Ask yourself skeptical questions (e.g., Are there clear connections between the different claims I'm making in this paper? Do I provide enough evidence to convince someone to believe my claims?). Revisions can often be substantial: you may need to rearrange your points, delete significant portions of what you've written, or rewrite sentences and paragraphs to better reflect the ideas you have developed while writing. Don't be afraid to cut the parts of your paper that aren't working, even if you like a particular fact or anecdote. Don't be afraid to, as they say, "Kill your darlings." Everything in your paper should, on some level, work towards the purpose of your claim. Most importantly, you should revise your introduction several times. Writers often work into their strongest ideas, which then appear in their conclusions but not (if they do not revise) their introductions. Make sure that your introduction reflects the more nuanced claims that appear in the body and conclusion of your paper.

Seeking Feedback

Even after years of practice revising your writing, you'll never be able to see it in an entirely objective light. To really improve your writing, you need feedback from others who can identify where your ideas are not as clear as they should be. You can seek feedback in a number of ways: you can make an appointment in your college's writing center, you can participate in class peer-review workshops, or you can talk to your instructor during his or her office hours. If you will have a chance to revise your paper after your instructor grades it, his or her comments on that graded draft should be considered essential feedback as you revise.

Re-revising

Once you've garnered feedback on your writing, you should use that feedback to revise your paper yet again. You should not, however, simply make every change that your colleagues or instructor recommended. You should think about the suggestions they've made and ensure that their suggestions will help you make the argument you want to make. You may decide to incorporate some suggestions and not others. Not all feedback is helpful or applicable. It takes some critical thinking to determine whether the feedback will improve the essay. When you treat writing as a process, it should become a genuine dialogue between you and your readers.

Finally, you will submit your paper to an audience for review. As college students, this primarily means the paper you turn in to your instructor for evaluation.

Writing Process Not Linear, But a Cycle

The preceding categories suggest that writing is a linear process — that is, that you will follow these steps in the following order:

prewriting→researching→outlining→drafting→revising→feedback→re-revising→publishing.

The reality of the writing process, however, is that as you write you shuttle back and forth in these stages. For example, as you begin writing your thesis paragraph, the beginning of your essay, you will write and revise many times before you are satisfied with your opening; once you have a complete draft, you will more than likely return to the introduction to revise it again to better match the contents of the completed essay. This shuttling highlights the recursive nature of the writing process and can be diagrammed as follows:

prewriting↔researching↔outlining↔drafting↔revising↔feedback↔re-revising↔publishing.

This is a good thing. If you are too rigid in your process, it's easier to get stuck on insisting an idea or claim that might not be working, rather than discovering one or coming to an informed, well-reasoned conclusion. Furthermore, you should be aware that each writer has a unique writing process: some will be diligent outliners, while others may discover ideas as they write. There is no right way to write (so to speak), but the key is the notion of process — all strong writers engage in the writing process and recognize the importance of feedback and revision in the process.

  • Describe your current writing process.
  • Do you normally engage in the stages listed previously?
  • If not, why? If so, what part of the process do you find most helpful?

Share your process with the class to discover the variety of approaches writers take. Always be willing to try new methods of approaching the writing process. You might find a new tool or habit that works well for you!

Works Cited

Lamott, Anne. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life . Random House, 1994.

Lee, Martin. Telling Stories: The Craft of Narrative and Writing Life . University of Nebraska Press, 2012.

Rushdie, Salman. "Inspiration is Nonsense." The Big Think, 2011. https://bigthink.com/videos/inspiration-is-nonsense

Vander Hook, Sue. Writing Notable Narrative Nonfiction . Lerner Publishing Group, 2016.

Contributors and Attributions

  • Adapted from "What is the Writing Process?" from Creating Literary Analysis by Ryan Cordell and John Pennington, CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0

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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 3 strong argumentative essay examples, analyzed.

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Need to defend your opinion on an issue? Argumentative essays are one of the most popular types of essays you’ll write in school. They combine persuasive arguments with fact-based research, and, when done well, can be powerful tools for making someone agree with your point of view. If you’re struggling to write an argumentative essay or just want to learn more about them, seeing examples can be a big help.

After giving an overview of this type of essay, we provide three argumentative essay examples. After each essay, we explain in-depth how the essay was structured, what worked, and where the essay could be improved. We end with tips for making your own argumentative essay as strong as possible.

What Is an Argumentative Essay?

An argumentative essay is an essay that uses evidence and facts to support the claim it’s making. Its purpose is to persuade the reader to agree with the argument being made.

A good argumentative essay will use facts and evidence to support the argument, rather than just the author’s thoughts and opinions. For example, say you wanted to write an argumentative essay stating that Charleston, SC is a great destination for families. You couldn’t just say that it’s a great place because you took your family there and enjoyed it. For it to be an argumentative essay, you need to have facts and data to support your argument, such as the number of child-friendly attractions in Charleston, special deals you can get with kids, and surveys of people who visited Charleston as a family and enjoyed it. The first argument is based entirely on feelings, whereas the second is based on evidence that can be proven.

The standard five paragraph format is common, but not required, for argumentative essays. These essays typically follow one of two formats: the Toulmin model or the Rogerian model.

  • The Toulmin model is the most common. It begins with an introduction, follows with a thesis/claim, and gives data and evidence to support that claim. This style of essay also includes rebuttals of counterarguments.
  • The Rogerian model analyzes two sides of an argument and reaches a conclusion after weighing the strengths and weaknesses of each.

3 Good Argumentative Essay Examples + Analysis

Below are three examples of argumentative essays, written by yours truly in my school days, as well as analysis of what each did well and where it could be improved.

Argumentative Essay Example 1

Proponents of this idea state that it will save local cities and towns money because libraries are expensive to maintain. They also believe it will encourage more people to read because they won’t have to travel to a library to get a book; they can simply click on what they want to read and read it from wherever they are. They could also access more materials because libraries won’t have to buy physical copies of books; they can simply rent out as many digital copies as they need.

However, it would be a serious mistake to replace libraries with tablets. First, digital books and resources are associated with less learning and more problems than print resources. A study done on tablet vs book reading found that people read 20-30% slower on tablets, retain 20% less information, and understand 10% less of what they read compared to people who read the same information in print. Additionally, staring too long at a screen has been shown to cause numerous health problems, including blurred vision, dizziness, dry eyes, headaches, and eye strain, at much higher instances than reading print does. People who use tablets and mobile devices excessively also have a higher incidence of more serious health issues such as fibromyalgia, shoulder and back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and muscle strain. I know that whenever I read from my e-reader for too long, my eyes begin to feel tired and my neck hurts. We should not add to these problems by giving people, especially young people, more reasons to look at screens.

Second, it is incredibly narrow-minded to assume that the only service libraries offer is book lending. Libraries have a multitude of benefits, and many are only available if the library has a physical location. Some of these benefits include acting as a quiet study space, giving people a way to converse with their neighbors, holding classes on a variety of topics, providing jobs, answering patron questions, and keeping the community connected. One neighborhood found that, after a local library instituted community events such as play times for toddlers and parents, job fairs for teenagers, and meeting spaces for senior citizens, over a third of residents reported feeling more connected to their community. Similarly, a Pew survey conducted in 2015 found that nearly two-thirds of American adults feel that closing their local library would have a major impact on their community. People see libraries as a way to connect with others and get their questions answered, benefits tablets can’t offer nearly as well or as easily.

While replacing libraries with tablets may seem like a simple solution, it would encourage people to spend even more time looking at digital screens, despite the myriad issues surrounding them. It would also end access to many of the benefits of libraries that people have come to rely on. In many areas, libraries are such an important part of the community network that they could never be replaced by a simple object.

The author begins by giving an overview of the counter-argument, then the thesis appears as the first sentence in the third paragraph. The essay then spends the rest of the paper dismantling the counter argument and showing why readers should believe the other side.

What this essay does well:

  • Although it’s a bit unusual to have the thesis appear fairly far into the essay, it works because, once the thesis is stated, the rest of the essay focuses on supporting it since the counter-argument has already been discussed earlier in the paper.
  • This essay includes numerous facts and cites studies to support its case. By having specific data to rely on, the author’s argument is stronger and readers will be more inclined to agree with it.
  • For every argument the other side makes, the author makes sure to refute it and follow up with why her opinion is the stronger one. In order to make a strong argument, it’s important to dismantle the other side, which this essay does this by making the author's view appear stronger.
  • This is a shorter paper, and if it needed to be expanded to meet length requirements, it could include more examples and go more into depth with them, such as by explaining specific cases where people benefited from local libraries.
  • Additionally, while the paper uses lots of data, the author also mentions their own experience with using tablets. This should be removed since argumentative essays focus on facts and data to support an argument, not the author’s own opinion or experiences. Replacing that with more data on health issues associated with screen time would strengthen the essay.
  • Some of the points made aren't completely accurate , particularly the one about digital books being cheaper. It actually often costs a library more money to rent out numerous digital copies of a book compared to buying a single physical copy. Make sure in your own essay you thoroughly research each of the points and rebuttals you make, otherwise you'll look like you don't know the issue that well.

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Argumentative Essay Example 2

There are multiple drugs available to treat malaria, and many of them work well and save lives, but malaria eradication programs that focus too much on them and not enough on prevention haven’t seen long-term success in Sub-Saharan Africa. A major program to combat malaria was WHO’s Global Malaria Eradication Programme. Started in 1955, it had a goal of eliminating malaria in Africa within the next ten years. Based upon previously successful programs in Brazil and the United States, the program focused mainly on vector control. This included widely distributing chloroquine and spraying large amounts of DDT. More than one billion dollars was spent trying to abolish malaria. However, the program suffered from many problems and in 1969, WHO was forced to admit that the program had not succeeded in eradicating malaria. The number of people in Sub-Saharan Africa who contracted malaria as well as the number of malaria deaths had actually increased over 10% during the time the program was active.

One of the major reasons for the failure of the project was that it set uniform strategies and policies. By failing to consider variations between governments, geography, and infrastructure, the program was not nearly as successful as it could have been. Sub-Saharan Africa has neither the money nor the infrastructure to support such an elaborate program, and it couldn’t be run the way it was meant to. Most African countries don't have the resources to send all their people to doctors and get shots, nor can they afford to clear wetlands or other malaria prone areas. The continent’s spending per person for eradicating malaria was just a quarter of what Brazil spent. Sub-Saharan Africa simply can’t rely on a plan that requires more money, infrastructure, and expertise than they have to spare.

Additionally, the widespread use of chloroquine has created drug resistant parasites which are now plaguing Sub-Saharan Africa. Because chloroquine was used widely but inconsistently, mosquitoes developed resistance, and chloroquine is now nearly completely ineffective in Sub-Saharan Africa, with over 95% of mosquitoes resistant to it. As a result, newer, more expensive drugs need to be used to prevent and treat malaria, which further drives up the cost of malaria treatment for a region that can ill afford it.

Instead of developing plans to treat malaria after the infection has incurred, programs should focus on preventing infection from occurring in the first place. Not only is this plan cheaper and more effective, reducing the number of people who contract malaria also reduces loss of work/school days which can further bring down the productivity of the region.

One of the cheapest and most effective ways of preventing malaria is to implement insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs).  These nets provide a protective barrier around the person or people using them. While untreated bed nets are still helpful, those treated with insecticides are much more useful because they stop mosquitoes from biting people through the nets, and they help reduce mosquito populations in a community, thus helping people who don’t even own bed nets.  Bed nets are also very effective because most mosquito bites occur while the person is sleeping, so bed nets would be able to drastically reduce the number of transmissions during the night. In fact, transmission of malaria can be reduced by as much as 90% in areas where the use of ITNs is widespread. Because money is so scarce in Sub-Saharan Africa, the low cost is a great benefit and a major reason why the program is so successful. Bed nets cost roughly 2 USD to make, last several years, and can protect two adults. Studies have shown that, for every 100-1000 more nets are being used, one less child dies of malaria. With an estimated 300 million people in Africa not being protected by mosquito nets, there’s the potential to save three million lives by spending just a few dollars per person.

Reducing the number of people who contract malaria would also reduce poverty levels in Africa significantly, thus improving other aspects of society like education levels and the economy. Vector control is more effective than treatment strategies because it means fewer people are getting sick. When fewer people get sick, the working population is stronger as a whole because people are not put out of work from malaria, nor are they caring for sick relatives. Malaria-afflicted families can typically only harvest 40% of the crops that healthy families can harvest. Additionally, a family with members who have malaria spends roughly a quarter of its income treatment, not including the loss of work they also must deal with due to the illness. It’s estimated that malaria costs Africa 12 billion USD in lost income every year. A strong working population creates a stronger economy, which Sub-Saharan Africa is in desperate need of.  

This essay begins with an introduction, which ends with the thesis (that malaria eradication plans in Sub-Saharan Africa should focus on prevention rather than treatment). The first part of the essay lays out why the counter argument (treatment rather than prevention) is not as effective, and the second part of the essay focuses on why prevention of malaria is the better path to take.

  • The thesis appears early, is stated clearly, and is supported throughout the rest of the essay. This makes the argument clear for readers to understand and follow throughout the essay.
  • There’s lots of solid research in this essay, including specific programs that were conducted and how successful they were, as well as specific data mentioned throughout. This evidence helps strengthen the author’s argument.
  • The author makes a case for using expanding bed net use over waiting until malaria occurs and beginning treatment, but not much of a plan is given for how the bed nets would be distributed or how to ensure they’re being used properly. By going more into detail of what she believes should be done, the author would be making a stronger argument.
  • The introduction of the essay does a good job of laying out the seriousness of the problem, but the conclusion is short and abrupt. Expanding it into its own paragraph would give the author a final way to convince readers of her side of the argument.

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Argumentative Essay Example 3

There are many ways payments could work. They could be in the form of a free-market approach, where athletes are able to earn whatever the market is willing to pay them, it could be a set amount of money per athlete, or student athletes could earn income from endorsements, autographs, and control of their likeness, similar to the way top Olympians earn money.

Proponents of the idea believe that, because college athletes are the ones who are training, participating in games, and bringing in audiences, they should receive some sort of compensation for their work. If there were no college athletes, the NCAA wouldn’t exist, college coaches wouldn’t receive there (sometimes very high) salaries, and brands like Nike couldn’t profit from college sports. In fact, the NCAA brings in roughly $1 billion in revenue a year, but college athletes don’t receive any of that money in the form of a paycheck. Additionally, people who believe college athletes should be paid state that paying college athletes will actually encourage them to remain in college longer and not turn pro as quickly, either by giving them a way to begin earning money in college or requiring them to sign a contract stating they’ll stay at the university for a certain number of years while making an agreed-upon salary.  

Supporters of this idea point to Zion Williamson, the Duke basketball superstar, who, during his freshman year, sustained a serious knee injury. Many argued that, even if he enjoyed playing for Duke, it wasn’t worth risking another injury and ending his professional career before it even began for a program that wasn’t paying him. Williamson seems to have agreed with them and declared his eligibility for the NCAA draft later that year. If he was being paid, he may have stayed at Duke longer. In fact, roughly a third of student athletes surveyed stated that receiving a salary while in college would make them “strongly consider” remaining collegiate athletes longer before turning pro.

Paying athletes could also stop the recruitment scandals that have plagued the NCAA. In 2018, the NCAA stripped the University of Louisville's men's basketball team of its 2013 national championship title because it was discovered coaches were using sex workers to entice recruits to join the team. There have been dozens of other recruitment scandals where college athletes and recruits have been bribed with anything from having their grades changed, to getting free cars, to being straight out bribed. By paying college athletes and putting their salaries out in the open, the NCAA could end the illegal and underhanded ways some schools and coaches try to entice athletes to join.

People who argue against the idea of paying college athletes believe the practice could be disastrous for college sports. By paying athletes, they argue, they’d turn college sports into a bidding war, where only the richest schools could afford top athletes, and the majority of schools would be shut out from developing a talented team (though some argue this already happens because the best players often go to the most established college sports programs, who typically pay their coaches millions of dollars per year). It could also ruin the tight camaraderie of many college teams if players become jealous that certain teammates are making more money than they are.

They also argue that paying college athletes actually means only a small fraction would make significant money. Out of the 350 Division I athletic departments, fewer than a dozen earn any money. Nearly all the money the NCAA makes comes from men’s football and basketball, so paying college athletes would make a small group of men--who likely will be signed to pro teams and begin making millions immediately out of college--rich at the expense of other players.

Those against paying college athletes also believe that the athletes are receiving enough benefits already. The top athletes already receive scholarships that are worth tens of thousands per year, they receive free food/housing/textbooks, have access to top medical care if they are injured, receive top coaching, get travel perks and free gear, and can use their time in college as a way to capture the attention of professional recruiters. No other college students receive anywhere near as much from their schools.

People on this side also point out that, while the NCAA brings in a massive amount of money each year, it is still a non-profit organization. How? Because over 95% of those profits are redistributed to its members’ institutions in the form of scholarships, grants, conferences, support for Division II and Division III teams, and educational programs. Taking away a significant part of that revenue would hurt smaller programs that rely on that money to keep running.

While both sides have good points, it’s clear that the negatives of paying college athletes far outweigh the positives. College athletes spend a significant amount of time and energy playing for their school, but they are compensated for it by the scholarships and perks they receive. Adding a salary to that would result in a college athletic system where only a small handful of athletes (those likely to become millionaires in the professional leagues) are paid by a handful of schools who enter bidding wars to recruit them, while the majority of student athletics and college athletic programs suffer or even shut down for lack of money. Continuing to offer the current level of benefits to student athletes makes it possible for as many people to benefit from and enjoy college sports as possible.

This argumentative essay follows the Rogerian model. It discusses each side, first laying out multiple reasons people believe student athletes should be paid, then discussing reasons why the athletes shouldn’t be paid. It ends by stating that college athletes shouldn’t be paid by arguing that paying them would destroy college athletics programs and cause them to have many of the issues professional sports leagues have.

  • Both sides of the argument are well developed, with multiple reasons why people agree with each side. It allows readers to get a full view of the argument and its nuances.
  • Certain statements on both sides are directly rebuffed in order to show where the strengths and weaknesses of each side lie and give a more complete and sophisticated look at the argument.
  • Using the Rogerian model can be tricky because oftentimes you don’t explicitly state your argument until the end of the paper. Here, the thesis doesn’t appear until the first sentence of the final paragraph. That doesn’t give readers a lot of time to be convinced that your argument is the right one, compared to a paper where the thesis is stated in the beginning and then supported throughout the paper. This paper could be strengthened if the final paragraph was expanded to more fully explain why the author supports the view, or if the paper had made it clearer that paying athletes was the weaker argument throughout.

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3 Tips for Writing a Good Argumentative Essay

Now that you’ve seen examples of what good argumentative essay samples look like, follow these three tips when crafting your own essay.

#1: Make Your Thesis Crystal Clear

The thesis is the key to your argumentative essay; if it isn’t clear or readers can’t find it easily, your entire essay will be weak as a result. Always make sure that your thesis statement is easy to find. The typical spot for it is the final sentence of the introduction paragraph, but if it doesn’t fit in that spot for your essay, try to at least put it as the first or last sentence of a different paragraph so it stands out more.

Also make sure that your thesis makes clear what side of the argument you’re on. After you’ve written it, it’s a great idea to show your thesis to a couple different people--classmates are great for this. Just by reading your thesis they should be able to understand what point you’ll be trying to make with the rest of your essay.

#2: Show Why the Other Side Is Weak

When writing your essay, you may be tempted to ignore the other side of the argument and just focus on your side, but don’t do this. The best argumentative essays really tear apart the other side to show why readers shouldn’t believe it. Before you begin writing your essay, research what the other side believes, and what their strongest points are. Then, in your essay, be sure to mention each of these and use evidence to explain why they’re incorrect/weak arguments. That’ll make your essay much more effective than if you only focused on your side of the argument.

#3: Use Evidence to Support Your Side

Remember, an essay can’t be an argumentative essay if it doesn’t support its argument with evidence. For every point you make, make sure you have facts to back it up. Some examples are previous studies done on the topic, surveys of large groups of people, data points, etc. There should be lots of numbers in your argumentative essay that support your side of the argument. This will make your essay much stronger compared to only relying on your own opinions to support your argument.

Summary: Argumentative Essay Sample

Argumentative essays are persuasive essays that use facts and evidence to support their side of the argument. Most argumentative essays follow either the Toulmin model or the Rogerian model. By reading good argumentative essay examples, you can learn how to develop your essay and provide enough support to make readers agree with your opinion. When writing your essay, remember to always make your thesis clear, show where the other side is weak, and back up your opinion with data and evidence.

What's Next?

Do you need to write an argumentative essay as well? Check out our guide on the best argumentative essay topics for ideas!

You'll probably also need to write research papers for school. We've got you covered with 113 potential topics for research papers.

Your college admissions essay may end up being one of the most important essays you write. Follow our step-by-step guide on writing a personal statement to have an essay that'll impress colleges.

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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.

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  • ELA 2019 G7:M3:U2:L9

Write a Literary Argument Essay: Draft Introduction

In this lesson, daily learning targets, ongoing assessment.

  • Technology and Multimedia

Supporting English Language Learners

Materials from previous lessons, new materials, closing & assessments, you are here:.

  • ELA 2019 Grade 7
  • ELA 2019 G7:M3
  • ELA 2019 G7:M3:U2

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Focus Standards:  These are the standards the instruction addresses.

  • W.7.1a, L.7.1a

Supporting Standards:  These are the standards that are incidental—no direct instruction in this lesson, but practice of these standards occurs as a result of addressing the focus standards.

  • RL.7.1, RL.7.2, W.7.4, W.7.5, W.7.10, L.7.6
  • I can write an introduction for my essay giving context on the Harlem Renaissance, acknowledging a counterclaim, and clearly stating the main claim of the piece. ( W.7.1a )
  • Opening A: Entrance Ticket: Unit 2, Lesson 9 ( L.7.1a )
  • Work Time A: Annotated, color-coded model argument essay introduction ( W.7.1a )
  • Work Time B: Language Dive: Model Essay, Main Claim note-catcher ( W.7.1a, W.7.1c, L.7.1a )
  • Closing and Assessment A: Introductory Paragraph of Pair Argument Essay ( W.7.1a )
  • Ensure there is a copy of Entrance Ticket: Unit 2, Lesson 9 at each student's workspace.
  • Prepare Organize the Model: Introduction strips (one strip per pair) for Work Time A.
  • Strategically pair students for work in Opening A with at least one strong reader per pair.
  • Cut apart the introduction paragraph strips and organize them using envelopes or paperclips so that each pair will have one set.
  • Review the Argument Writing checklist to become familiar with what will be required of students over the remainder of the unit.
  • Post the learning targets and applicable anchor charts (see Materials list).

Tech and Multimedia

  • Continue to use the technology tools recommended throughout previous modules to create anchor charts to share with families; to record students as they participate in discussions and protocols to review with students later and to share with families; and for students to listen to and annotate text, record ideas on note-catchers, and word-process writing.

Supports guided in part by CA ELD Standards 7.I.A.1, 7.I.B.5, 7.I.B.6, 7.I.B.7, 7.I.B.8, 7.I.C.11, 7.I.C.12, 7.II.A.1, 7.II.B.3, and 7.II.B.4.

Important Points in the Lesson Itself

  • To support ELLs, this lesson includes the use of manipulatives to understand the key structures of an argument essay introduction. Also, the collaboration of writing a pair essay supports students in expressing their ideas in writing.
  • ELLs may find it challenging to generate language for writing their introduction. In addition to the supports below, encourage students to use oral processing and their home-language to assist them in articulating their ideas.  
  • context (A)
  • dependent clause, independent clause, phrase (DS)

(A): Academic Vocabulary

(DS): Domain-Specific Vocabulary

  • Domain-specific word wall (one for display; from Module 1, Unit 1, Lesson 1, Work Time B)
  • Close Readers Do These Things anchor chart (one for display; from Module 1, Unit 1, Lesson 4, Opening A)
  • Academic word wall (one for display; from Module 1, Unit 1, Lesson 1, Opening A)
  • Criteria of an Effective Argument Essay anchor chart (one for display; from Module 3, Unit 2, Lesson 8, Work Time A)
  • Paint an Essay lesson plan (for teacher reference) (from Module 1, Unit 2, Lesson 7, Closing and Assessment A)
  • Model Argument Essay: "Strength from the Past" (example for teacher reference) (from Module 3, Unit 2, Lesson 8, Work Time A)
  • Vocabulary log (one per student; from Module 1, Unit 1, Lesson 2, Opening A)
  • The Painted Essay® template (one per student and one for display; from Module 1, Unit 2, Lesson 7, Closing and Assessment A)
  • Model Argument Essay: “Strength from the Past” (one per student and one for display; from Module 3, Unit 2, Lesson 8, Work Time A)
  • Directions for Pair Argument Essay (one per student; from Module 3, Unit 2, Lesson 8, Closing and Assessment A)
  • Argument Essay Writing Plan graphic organizer (one per student; from Module 3, Unit 2, Lesson 8, Closing and Assessment A)
  • Argument Essay Writing Plan graphic organizer ▲
  • Texts and Artwork from Module 3, Units 1 and 2: Shuffle Along , “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” The Harp , “Calling Dreams,” “Hope,” “I Shall Return,” Ethiopia Awakening, African Phantasy: Awakening , “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” “His Motto,” and “The Boy and the Bayonet”
  • Independent reading journal (one per student; begun in Module 1, Unit 1, Lesson 6, Work Time B)
  • Organize the Model: Introduction strips (for teacher reference)
  • Language Dive Guide: Model Argument Essay, Main Claim (answers for teacher reference)
  • Language Dive: Model Argument Essay, Main Claim Sentence Chunk Chart   (answers for teacher reference)
  • Language Dive: Model Argument Essay, Main Claim note-catcher (for teacher reference)
  • Argument Writing checklist (example for teacher reference)
  • Entrance Ticket: Unit 2, Lesson 9 (one per student)
  • Organize the Model: Introduction strips (one strip per pair)
  • Colored pencils (red, yellow, blue, green; one of each per student)
  • Language Dive: Model Argument Essay, Main Claim sentence chunk strips (one per pair of students)
  • Language Dive: Model Argument Essay, Main Claim note-catcher (one per student)
  • Argument Writing checklist (one per student and one to display)
  • Lined paper (one per student)
  • Online or print dictionaries (including ELL and home language dictionaries)
  • Homework: Explain Clauses in Proof Paragraph 1

Each unit in the 6-8 Language Arts Curriculum has two standards-based assessments built in, one mid-unit assessment and one end of unit assessment. The module concludes with a performance task at the end of Unit 3 to synthesize students' understanding of what they accomplished through supported, standards-based writing.

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IMAGES

  1. 8+ Argumentative Essay Examples

    literary argument essay format

  2. FREE 10+ Literary Essay Samples in MS Word

    literary argument essay format

  3. Literary Analysis Essay: Tips to Write a Perfect Essay

    literary argument essay format

  4. Literary Essay

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  5. FREE 10+ Literary Essay Samples in MS Word

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    literary argument essay format

VIDEO

  1. The Literary Argument Essay Project

  2. MediaTheory: Writing a critical analysis... Thesis

  3. LITERARY ANALYSIS

  4. Creating an Argument for Literary Analysis

  5. The BEST Way to Break Down the Argument Prompt!

  6. Argument Writing

COMMENTS

  1. How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay

    Table of contents. Step 1: Reading the text and identifying literary devices. Step 2: Coming up with a thesis. Step 3: Writing a title and introduction. Step 4: Writing the body of the essay. Step 5: Writing a conclusion. Other interesting articles.

  2. How to Write Literary Analysis

    Literary analysis involves examining all the parts of a novel, play, short story, or poem—elements such as character, setting, tone, and imagery—and thinking about how the author uses those elements to create certain effects. A literary essay isn't a book review: you're not being asked whether or not you liked a book or whether you'd ...

  3. Literary Analysis: Sample Essay

    Literary Analysis: Sample Essay. We turn once more to Joanna Wolfe's and Laura Wilder's Digging into Literature: Strategies for Reading, Writing, and Analysis (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2016) in order to show you their example of a strong student essay that has a strong central claim elucidated by multiple surface/depth arguments ...

  4. PDF HOW TO WRITE A LITERARY ANALYSIS ESSAY

    The term regularly used for the development of the central idea of a literary analysis essay is the body. In this section you present the paragraphs (at least 3 paragraphs for a 500-750 word essay) that support your thesis statement. Good literary analysis essays contain an explanation of your ideas and evidence from the text (short story,

  5. Writing a Literary Analysis Essay

    Well, not really. A literary analysis essay asks you to make an original argument about a poem, play, or work of fiction and support that argument with research and evidence from your careful reading of the text. It can take many forms, such as a close reading of a text, critiquing the text through a particular literary theory, comparing one ...

  6. PDF Outline Structure for Literary Analysis Essay

    Parts to a Great Essay. same as above, just worded differently. 1. A Catchy Title. 2. Introduction: the opening paragraph. The introduction should include the following: a. Hook, Author, Title, Main Characters, A Short Summary, Thesis b. Hook: The beginning sentences of the introduction that catch the reader's interest.

  7. Building an Argument

    A good argument in an essay on literature has: A tight, specific focus. Rather than broad sweeping statements, a good argument teases out a single aspect of a piece of literature and analyzes it in minute detail: literature under the microscope. Example: Loose: "Characters in this novel spend time a great deal of time looking at each other ...

  8. How to Write a Literary Analysis: 6 Tips for the Perfect Essay

    These 4 steps will help prepare you to write an in-depth literary analysis that offers new insight to both old and modern classics. 1. Read the text and identify literary devices. As you conduct your literary analysis, you should first read through the text, keeping an eye on key elements that could serve as clues to larger, underlying themes.

  9. Argumentative Essay in Literature: Definition & Examples

    Roots in Ancient Rhetoric. The argumentative essay format has roots in ancient rhetoric, which Greco-Romans considered the "art of persuasion."While ancient societies primarily used speech to persuade their audiences, modern academics most often use written arguments based on the ancient orators' classical argument structure.

  10. Essay 3: A How-To Guide

    Argument. Engages in conversation with literary scholars throughout the essay, showing how their interpretation affirms, contrasts, contradicts and resolves the interpretive problem posed by literary scholars.; Uses contextual and argumentative sources to support and challenge their analysis of the text. Uses close reading strategies to deeply analyze the literary text.

  11. Examples and Definition of Argumentative Essay

    Five Types of Argument Claims in Essay Writing. There are five major types of argument claims as given below. A claim of definition. A claim about values. A claim about the reason. A claim about comparison. A claim about policy or position. A writer makes a claim about these issues and answers the relevant questions about it with relevant data ...

  12. 12.14: Sample Student Literary Analysis Essays

    Heather Ringo & Athena Kashyap. City College of San Francisco via ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative. Table of contents. Example 1: Poetry. Example 2: Fiction. Example 3: Poetry. Attribution. The following examples are essays where student writers focused on close-reading a literary work.

  13. Introduction

    What Makes a Good Literature Paper? An argument. When you write an extended literary essay, often one requiring research, you are essentially making an argument. You are arguing that your perspective-an interpretation, an evaluative judgment, or a critical evaluation-is a valid one. A debatable thesis statement

  14. AP Literary Argument

    Since students do not have a copy of the text when writing the Literary Argument essay on the AP Literature exam, they are not expected to use direct quotes. Students should still reference the text indirectly, however, to support their claims. The sample essay above is just one possible way to organize an argument on Beloved using the 2007 ...

  15. How To Write A Literary Analysis Essay Outline With Examples

    Paragraph 1: Introduction to the literary work and its context. Paragraph 2: Analysis of the work's major themes and motifs. Paragraph 3: Examination of the author's writing style and literary techniques. Paragraph 4: In-depth analysis of specific literary devices used in the work.

  16. PDF AP English Literature and Composition Question 3: Literary Argument

    AP English Literature and Composition Question 3: Literary Argument (2019) Sample Student Responses 4 Sample J [1] Oftentimes, when coming from a well-off upbringing, an individual develops an idealistic viewpoint of the world. He or she may believe humans to be innately good or government to be innately focused on the well-being of all.

  17. 4.2: The Writing Process for Literary Essays

    The preceding categories suggest that writing is a linear process — that is, that you will follow these steps in the following order: prewriting→researching→outlining→drafting→revising→feedback→re-revising→publishing. The reality of the writing process, however, is that as you write you shuttle back and forth in these stages.

  18. 3 Strong Argumentative Essay Examples, Analyzed

    Summary: Argumentative Essay Sample. Argumentative essays are persuasive essays that use facts and evidence to support their side of the argument. Most argumentative essays follow either the Toulmin model or the Rogerian model. By reading good argumentative essay examples, you can learn how to develop your essay and provide enough support to ...

  19. Write a Literary Argument Essay: Draft Introduction

    Invite students to work in their pairs using the Model Argument Essay, the Criteria of an Effective Argument Essay anchor chart, and the Argument Writing Checklist to write an introduction. Remind students to refer to the domain-specific and academic word walls and online or print dictionaries as needed, especially for the definitions they ...

  20. PDF AP English Literature and Composition

    ® English Literature and Composition Sample Student Responses ... Question 3: Literary Argument 6 points . In many works of fiction, houses take on symbolic importance. Such houses may be literal houses or unconventional ones (e.g., h otels, hospitals, ... Then, in a well-written essay, analyze how this house contributes to an interpretation ...

  21. AP English Literature and Composition Past Exam Questions

    Download free-response questions from past exams along with scoring guidelines, sample responses from exam takers, and scoring distributions. If you are using assistive technology and need help accessing these PDFs in another format, contact Services for Students with Disabilities at 212-713-8333 or by email at [email protected].

  22. PDF AP English Literature and Composition

    ® English Literature and Composition Sample Student Responses ... develop a complex literary argument by doing any of the following: 1. ... Read the poem carefully. Then, in a well-written essay, analyze how Blanco uses literary elements and techniques to develop the speaker's complex associations with the ritual of shaving.

  23. Welcome to the Purdue Online Writing Lab

    The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and we provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue.