In a text response essay, you must write three to four body paragraphs, each one consisting of a topic sentence that has a clear and relevant link to the topic.
Each topic sentence and paragraph must show a logical progression of thought.
Typically, essays start with an obvious and literal point to provide a foundation. Each subsequent paragraph must build upon this initial idea.
Each paragraph will explore points and implications surrounding this topic and will provide pertinent examples.
Generally, the concluding paragraph(s) will provide a different angle, a problem or a contradictory aspect/solution. This is often referred to as the “rebuttal” in a persuasive essay. In a text response essay, it might be a counter point; it might be a point that qualifies or appears to contradict your opening paragraph(s). This occurs because an author often raises complicated issues, and rarely provides straightforward answers to these problems, dilemmas and areas of conflict.
Contrastingly, many text response essays fall apart because at least one of the paragraphs is not related to the topic. Furthermore, many essays do not show a logical progression. Finding the right starting point is important. It sets you up for a good discussion. Contrastingly, a failure to find the most obvious starting point inhibits a good discussion.
Often topic sentences are descriptive rather than analytical. This means that they may describe an author’s or a character’s views and ideas, without a clear link to the nuances of the topic.
- It is very important to ask yourself the question: What does the topic ask of me? What does it want me to explore? What are the key words? How are they related to each other and to the demands of the topic?
- You must be analytically precise; this means that it is important to avoid generalisations and vague and repetitive statements.
- You must always give supporting evidence and quotes for your viewpoints/perspectives. In any text, there are pivotal moments in a character’s thoughts, attitudes and decision-making. There are often comparisons between these moments.
- Character-based paragraphs often turn into a character profile. Sometimes it is preferable to compare and contrast with another character.
- You must include at least four to five quotes; use a mixture of short (words or phrases) to longer quotes (clauses and sentences). Contextualise the specific examples. Avoid sweeping generalisations and vague statements. Avoid repetition and repetitive statements.
- Condense your sentences: do not write the same key idea in three different ways. Each sentence must extend and expand upon the original idea and add depth.
- Quote wisely and strategically; use quotes to show your understanding of the text and to improve the depth of your analysis.
Homework 14th June 2020: Please work through these notes on Animal Farm, using appropriate metalanguage and evidence/quotes.