The theme of the next few weeks is analysis. As such students will be searching for meaning in complex texts.
"A ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for" - John Shedd
What does this quote mean? Write about the multiple meaning it could have. Has this quote ever pertained to your life in any way? What emotions does this quote spark? What is the purpose of this quote?
The following are the 8 steps to breaking down any text and preparing to write an excellent analysis of said text.
1. Purpose/Context: Ask yourself, what is it about? What is it trying to explain? What type of text is it (journal, essay, short story, novel, academic paper, etc.)? What is this text meant to do (persuade, inform, entertain, argue, inspire, etc.)?
2. Author(s): Who are/is the author(s) of the text you are reading? What makes them qualified to write about what they are writing about? What background knowledge, if any, do we know about the author? Is the author ever 'present' in the text? For example, does the author ever say 'I', 'we', 'our', 'my', or any other pronouns referring to him/herself? Why would they include or exclude himself/herself?
3. Audience: Where does this text appear? Who are the expected readers for this type of text? What does the author expect readers to do or think after reading the text? What about the writing makes you draw these conclusions?
4. Topic & Position: Is the authors' opinion clear or is the information presented as 'objective'? Does the author include or critique other view points in their writing? How is the text positioned (does it refer to current events, personal experience, research, or what types of 'proof')?
5. Research/Sources: How important was the research and or outside sources the author used in the text? What did they exclude or fail to mention from those sources? Why did they use the sources the way they did?
6. Organization: Break up each part of the text into what the paragraphs are covering. For example; paragraph 1 is an introduction, paragraph 2-4 argues against school choice, and paragraph 5 concludes the article. Ask yourself how the organization affects the writing.
7. Style: How much technical writing is there? In what way was the phrasing being used? Are there too many 'flowery' words or how are they used? Is the text formal or informal? What is the complexity of the text. Like most of the steps, ask yourself why the author used the style that he used.
8. Drawing Conclusions:
1. How well is the text written? Where was it strong and where was it weak?
2. How well did the text establish and accomplish its goals?
3. How does the quality of the text compare to similar texts?
4. How would you write it differently to be more effective?