Lesson: How to Analyze a Text

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Group 1:

Discuss the author’s attitude toward the subject or theme.

  • Explain what type of essay it is – argumentative, persuasive, exploratory, narrative, or otherwise.
  • Define what the subject or theme of the essay is.

* Try to sum up the subject/theme in one word or one sentence.

  • Cite specific sentences or paragraphs where the author’s attitude toward the subject/theme is reflected.
  • How does the author’s attitude toward the subject/theme influence how you feel about it?
  • What emotions does the author’s attitude toward the subject/theme elicit in you? (i.e., How do you feel after reading the essay? Angry? Confused? Inspired? Complacent? Indifferent?)
  • What did you learn from this essay that you can apply to your own writing?

 


Group 2:

Discuss the tone and flow of the essay.

  • Explain what type of essay it is – argumentative, persuasive, exploratory, narrative, or otherwise.
  • Cite specific sentences or paragraphs where the overall tone and flow of the essay is reflected or interrupted.
  • Look at word choice and sentence structure. Does the author use an excessive amount of run-on sentences? Short sentences? “Big’ words?
  • How does the sentence structure and word choice influence the tone of the essay?

Consider the following:

  • What effect do the tone and flow have on you as a reader?
  • How do the tone and flow of the essay influence how you feel about the subject?
  • What did you learn from this essay that you can apply to your own writing?

Group 3:

Discuss the structure of the essay.

  • What do you feel works about the structure of the essay? What is not working?
  • Does the essay have a beginning, middle and end?
  • Cite areas when you feel each aspect occurs.
    • If the essay does not appear to have a fluid, beginning, middle and end, what affect does that have on you as a reader?
  • Does the essay build on tension?
  • How would swapping the first and final paragraphs affect the essay?
  • What did you learn from this essay that you can apply to your own writing?

Group 4:

Discuss the author’s analysis of evidence.

  • What is the evidence presented?
  • How does the author use evidence to support their revelation or discovery? What leads to a change in them?
    • Cite specific examples where the author reflects on the evidence in order to show a personal change or revelation.
  • Is the author’s analysis of the evidence unique?
    • Weak? Strong? Why?

 


Group 5:

Discuss the impact of the essay on you as a reader.

  • What conclusions can you come to about who the author is as a person and what their intention might have been in writing the essay?
  • What message(s) do you feel the author is trying to convey to the reader?
    • Discuss how the author’s “revelation,’ learning lesson, message or idea reflect that of a broader collective mindset.
  • Do you consider the author overtly liberal? Conservative?
  • Is their message political?
  • What did you learn from this essay that you can apply to your own writing?

 


Group 6:

What risks does the author take in writing the essay?

  • Discuss what risks (if any) the author takes and the affect those risks have on the outcome of the essay.
    • Are the risk personal risks? Political? Otherwise?
  • Cite specific areas where you feel risks occur.
    • If the essay does not appear to have any meaningful risks, explain why you feel that way.
    • What did you learn from this essay that you can apply to your own writing?

     

LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW IF YOU USED THIS PROMPT IN YOUR CLASS. HOW DID IT GO? WOULD YOU DO IT AGAIN? DID YOU MAKE ANY MODIFICATIONS?

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