Course Summary
  Course Objectives
  Course Materials
  Course Requirements
  Exams and Exam Passes

  Learning Strategies
  Learning Activities
  Sample Essay
  Course Notes
  Weekly Assignments


 Strategies for Writing about the Literature 

You should begin your writing about the literature by first using strategies, such as freewriting and listing, to discover ideas about the topic. Develop a central idea for your essay and express it in a focused thesis statement, develop a logical plan of organization, and support your thesis with details and evidence from the literary works. After planning your essay, write a rough draft, and revise and edit carefully. 

Your essay should have an introduction, body, and conclusion

The introduction should do the following: 

    Interest the reader with an effective opener 

    Identify the subject, work, and author (give author's full name) 

    Introduce essay’s topic 

    Define key words, if necessary 

    Present a thesis statement 

A Sample Thesis Sentence: Both writers use the sunset, the winter setting, and the storm to symbolize the end of the character's good fortune. 

The Body should do the following: 

    Have logical organization 

    Have unity - present one central idea 

    Be coherent 

    Provide sufficient information to explain thesis statement 

    Have paragraphs that are unified, coherent, and adequately developed with details and evidence (quotations from the literary work) properly incorporated and documented. 

The Conclusion should do the following: 
    Restate the thesis 

    Summarize the main points 

Sentences should be the following: 
    Grammatically correct - have no run-ons, comma splices, fragments, errors in subject/verb agreement or pronoun reference

    Varied in structure and length 

    Clear in structure and meaning 

Diction should be the following: 

    Definite, specific, and concrete 


Spelling - Words should be correctly spelled. 

Punctuation marks should be used correctly. 

When writing about literature, remember to do the following: 

    Place quotation marks around the titles of poems, short stories, essays or chapters of a book. 

    Underline or italicize the titles of novels or plays.

    Use the present tense. For example, when explaining what Frederick Douglass writes in his autobiography, you would write this: Douglass writes, "This battle with Mr. Covey was the turning-point in my career as a slave" (343). Notice that the verb writes is in the present tense. 

    Incorporate quotes into your writing by introducing the quote as I did above or by blending the quote into your sentence like this: Phillis Wheatley describes Africa as "my Pagan land" (line 1). 

    Document quotes from the literary works by placing the page number from the prose work in parenthesis and the line number from a poem in parenthesis. Then write the source cited on a works cited page like this example: 

    Give your essay a title which reflects the content of your essay. 

    Your essay should be double-spaced, with name and page numbers in the upper right corner.