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Essay Writing Techniques

Always do extract questions because:

The quotes you need are there It is possible to give a more comprehensive analysis General essays usually cause omissions of important areas of the text

Essays on English Literature need to deal very specifically on three aspects:

Character psychological motivations and maturation Authors intention and manipulation of audience Audience response

A very good grasp of these three aspects will allow an essay to be fully developed and offer an insightful analysis of the extract/ general.

For extracts You MUST

Always refer back to style and language => linked to entire book and themes

Aside from dealing with the three main aspects, some very fundamental things you must address are:
Awareness of genre define characteristics as applicable to thesis Concise, debatable thesis Placing extract into context its role in the text as a whole Knowledge of preceding/ following events which relate to the extract How the extract foreshadows what comes after immediately, what comes later, and what happens at the end Strong analysis of language techniques contribution to the tone/atmosphere/implications Further analysis of specific words in quotations to further argument Metaphorical analysis symbolism, imagery, physical manifestation, embodiment Historical awareness (social, political, theological, philosophical) Integrated critical theory analysis typically Marxist/ Freudian Pack multiple ideas within sentences using linking words For plays asking for dramatic effects, see from audiences perspective e.g. set, direction, movement, dialogue, props, silence Analysis of humour + irony (especially for Pinter)

Other technical aspects of essays:

Interwoven quotes Third person No generalisations, hyperboles or definitive suggestions (words like obviously/ clearly) Chronological evidence Meaningfully ordered and linked paragraphs to give flow Do NOT describe the events, or examine what is happening on the surface long plot summaries is a definite no; placing extract in context is necessary

Suggested approach
Identify terms of task in introduction Plan your essay by ideas and identifying which part of extract relates to which idea Mould pre-memorized key ideas into the extract along with the use of specific related words which can structure your essay Thesis Use key words from the question to answer the question and be specific, but not limit the scope of the text Title, author, plot overview context of extract, social context, genre


Topic Statements
Should provide a direct answer to the question and address key words

Be thematic in nature, NOT plot All topic statements read together should form a flowing, coherent argument in effect summarising your essay

Explain the topic statement in theory Integrated into argument Change tense and pronoun as appropriate e.g. [he] walk[s] Be brief select only key words Analyse to answer question Use the so what premise to further your argument e.g. Shelley uses the form of a sonnet to present this poem. So what? Since a sonnet is usually associated with love and worship, the use of this form to write about the forgotten and no longer respected Ozymandias is ironic. So what? etc - continue asking yourself How?, So what? to fully develop the idea/argument

No extra evidence Go back to question, but also go forward, or refer to context

Analysis of language and style involves:

Relationship dynamics/ character revelations Register Connotations Pronouns Patterns Syntax Imagery Allusions intratextual or intertextual Structure Stage directions Patterns of dialogue pauses/absence Irony Setting Ellipses Pauses Idiomatic language Colloquialism

How do these reinforce theme and echo or contrast, thematically or stylistically with other sections of the text?

How to study for English

Familiarize every point in this guide to understand essay structure Read good essays from previous essay writers or from current top in class students Generate list of general essay words Take down words and phrases that are succinct and important to the text Formulate three key thematic opinions the text conveys Categorize the words and phrases accumulated into the key themes In the exam: write your essay based on the key thematic opinions built on the strong essay vocabulary and structure