Analytical Essay

Submitted By Isabellefgarcia1
Words: 1059
Pages: 5

When writing an analytical paper – especially a piece of literary analysis – do your best to make the movement from your prose to the prose being studied and back to your prose as smooth and natural and non-jarring as possible. In order to do so:

* Don’t start a paragraph with a passage.
* Don’t allow a passage to exist as its own sentence.
* Don’t cite a passage without commenting on it in some way.
* Do provide context for the passages you cite.
* Do cite passages from multiple parts of the book in one paragraph.

An example of opening a paragraph with a passage:

“In a way it’s so easy, all he has to do is say what they want to hear and they’re happy, they love him, everybody gets along” (194). Fountain’s point, clearly, is that Bravo Squad’s primary role during the Victory Tour is to sell the war. They are there to put a wall between Americans and the reality of the war…

* Note how hard you have to work to understand the subject of the paragraph.
* There’s no transition from the previous paragraph.
* There’s nothing like a topic sentence until after the passage.

An example of allowing a passage to exist as its own sentence:

It’s not only the hype and salesmanship of the advertising surrounding the football game that blinds people, however. Billy Lynn and his fellow soldiers of Bravo Squad themselves are part of a marketing process with similar goals. They exist to sell an increasingly unpopular war to a population that desperately wants to rally once more around God and Country. “In a way it’s so easy, all he has to do is say what they want to hear and they’re happy, they love him, everybody gets along” (194). Lynn realizes that the citizens clustering around him with question after question do not want true responses; they want comforting half-truths and empty platitudes. They need confirmation of what they so desperately want to believe.

* There is a transition here. That’s good. Note that “transition” does not necessarily mean “the complete first sentence of a paragraph.” The transition here also serves as the first part of the paragraph’s topic sentence(s).
* There is context provided for the passage. That’s good. Note that the context is also, in its own way, part of the claim of the passage.
* But then you just slam into the passage. And that’s rough.
* Note, too, that there’s not that much, ultimately, you can do with the cited passage. It’s limited in terms of its application.

An example of an embedded passage:

It’s not only the hype and salesmanship of the advertising surrounding the football game that blinds people, however. Billy Lynn and his fellow soldiers of Bravo Squad themselves are part of a marketing process with similar goals. They exist to sell an increasingly unpopular war to a population that desperately wants to rally once more around God and Country. As citizens press in around him with questions about courage and justice, about fear and death, Billy realizes that “all he has to do is say what they want to hear and they’re happy, they love him, everybody gets along” (194). Crucially, he does not have to lie – he merely has to mouth the empty platitudes that they secretly want to believe...
* Again, note that there’s a transition from the (not included) previous paragraph.
* Here, the writer moves into the passage with his own text. Context is good.
* The writer can use less of the passage because he’s providing the context.
* There still seems to be a limit to how much this writer can do with the cited text. He either needs to figure out how to say more about the passage or connect to another passage from elsewhere in the novel.
An example of embedded passages connected to one another:
It’s not only the hype and salesmanship of the advertising surrounding the football game that blinds people, however. Billy Lynn and his fellow soldiers of Bravo Squad themselves are part of a marketing…