Unit 1: Analyzing a Written Text Essay Assignment
LESSON: All writing is purposeful and audience-driven. Whether you are writing an email to your manager at work, a letter to your child’s teacher, or an essay for class, a specific goal and a direct audience should impact the writing choices you make. As a writer, it is important to understand these choices and make decisions that will best impact your goal. As a reader, it is important to analyze how other writers make choices and how those decisions impact the effectiveness of their messages. Because the reader-writer connection is so intertwined, we will focus our efforts in this unit on critically reading a variety of essays in order to develop insight into and analyze the effectiveness of written texts. Our work in this unit will culminate in the second major essay, an analysis essay.
YOUR GOAL: Your analysis essay should be an examination of how a writer successfully communicates a message to readers. It should investigate, explain, and support how the writer of a chosen essay accomplishes an intended purpose. To do this, you should explain the meaning of a text, analyze its structure and features, and help readers understand how/why it is thought-provoking, engaging, or impactful. In other words, your goal is to study the impact a text has by analyzing the author’s writing strategies. You will have to use specific examples from the chosen essay to prove your points, making critical reading an integral part of this process. One important note to keep in mind is that analysis is not simply a summary. Summarizing parts of your text may be necessary to support your analysis, but summary alone is not analysis. Analysis breaks the text apart to better understand what it is doing and how/why it is doing it. Assume your readers have also read the text you are analyzing; thus, to bring new insights/information to your readers, you’ll have to go beyond just telling them what happens in the text.
FIRST, you will choose one of the two assigned readings as the subject of your essay:
NEXT, engage with the readings, activities, and discussion forums assigned each week. All assignments are purposefully structured to build critical steps into the reading/writing process. Skills you will learn include:
- Step 1: Strategies for understanding a text
- Step 2: Strategies for reflecting on a text (planning your essay)
- Step 3: Strategies for responding to a text (revising your essay based on feedback(
- Step 4: Writing and finalizing the essay
ESSAY COMPONENTS (you can find a rubric here Download here):
- An introduction that identifies the written text you are analyzing with brief background information (the author, year published, and important background of the text).
- A thesis statement that clearly and directly provides an analytical position about the effectiveness of the written text. Note: You will workshop your thesis in the discussion forums.
- Targeted summary or description of the text. You will not focus exclusively on summarizing the plot of your chosen text. Instead, approach this essay as if your audience has also read your chosen essay, so instead focus only on the features within the text that play a key role in supporting your analysis. Targeted summaries, as well as direct quotes, serve to support and illustrate the points of your analysis.
- An explanation that demonstrates how your analysis supports or proves your thesis statement.
- A conclusion that leaves the reader with a lasting impression as to why the essay is impactful.
- APA formatting, including a title page, page numbers, running heads, 12-point Times New Roman font, and double-spacing.
- A reference page including the essay chosen as the subject of your analysis. You will need to have AT LEAST one source for the final submission. It can be the text you read or another, academic source.
- 2-3 or 600-900 words pages of content (excluding title and references page).