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A Brief Guide to Arguing About Literature

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  • Edition: 4th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2023-10-23
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's

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Supplemental Materials

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A Brief Guide to Arguing about Literature provides an affordable guide to literary analysis and argument. The guide will hone your analytical skills through instruction in close critical reading of texts as well as sharpen your argumentative writing with effective activities.

Table of Contents

Preface for Instructors
Contents by Genre

PART ONE: A Brief Guide to Arguing about Literature

1. What Is Argument? 
An Argument about Cell Phones
Paul Goldberger, Disconnected Urbanism
Getting Another Perspective
Pamela Paul, The Phone Call
Understanding Rhetoric
The Elements of Argument
Sample Argument for Analysis
Sandy Sufian and Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, The Dark Side of CRISPR  
Writing a Response to an Argument
Further Strategies for Analyzing an Argument So You Can Write a Response to It
An Argument for Analysis
Regina Rini, Should We Rename Institutions That Honor Dead Racists?

2. Writing Effective Arguments 
Strategies for Developing an Effective Style of Argument
Structuring Your Argument: Beyond the Five-Paragraph Essay
A Student Response to an Argument
Paul Austin, The Need for True Consent to CRISPR 
Arguing in the First Person: Can You Use I?
Use Inclusive Language 
Arguments for Analysis
Lee Siegel, Why I Defaulted on My Student Loans
Alexandra Petri, Take all books off the shelves. They’re just too dangerous.

3. How to Argue about Literature 
Why Study Literature in a College Writing Course?
A Story for Analysis
Jamaica Kincaid, Girl
Strategies for Arguing about Literature
A Sample Student Argument about Literature
Ann Schumwalt, The Mother’s Mixed Messages in “Girl”
Looking at Literature as Argument
Jimmy Santiago Baca, So Mexicans Are Taking Jobs from Americans
Robert Frost, Mending Wall
Ted Chiang, The Great Silence
Literature and Current Issues: Poems about Climate Change 
Jane Hirshfield, Let Them Not Say
Rena Priest, The Index
Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, Dear Matafele Peinem 

4. The Reading Process 
Strategies for Close Reading
A Poem for Analysis
Sharon Olds, Summer Solstice, New York City
Applying the Strategies
Reading Closely by Annotating
Emily Skillings, Girls Online
Further Strategies: Topics of Literary Studies
Lynda Hull, Night Waitress
Identify Speech Acts
Robert Frost, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Elizabeth Bishop, One Art
5.  The Writing Process
Rachel Kadish, Letters Arrive from the Dead
Strategies for Exploring
Strategies for Planning
Strategies for Composing
First Draft of a Student Essay
Dylan Rieff, Letters Don’t Arrive from the Dead
Strategies for Revising
A Checklist for Revising
Revised Draft of a Student Essay
Dylan Rieff, Letters Don’t Arrive from the Dead
Strategies for Writing a Comparative Essay
Don Paterson, Two Trees
Luisa A. Igloria, Regarding History
A Student Comparative Essay
Jeremy Cooper, Don Paterson’s Criticism of Nature’s Owners

6. Writing about Literary Genres 
Writing about Stories
Rivka Galchen, Usl at the Stadium 
The Elements of Short Fiction
Final Draft of a Student Essay
Lydia Marsh, Why It’s Good for Usl to Wait 
Writing about Poems
Mary Oliver, Singapore
Yusef Komunyakaa, Blackberries
Edwin Arlington Robinson, The Mill
The Elements of Poetry
Final Draft of a Student Essay
Michaela Fiorucci, Negotiating Boundaries
Comparing Poems and Pictures
Rolando Perez, Office at Night
Edward Hopper, Office at Night
A Sample Essay Comparing a Poem and a Picture
Karl Magnusson, Lack of Motion and Speech in Rolando Perez’s “Office at Night”
Writing about Plays
August Strindberg, The Stronger
A Student’s Personal Response to the Play
The Elements of Drama
Final Draft of a Student Essay
Carly Chen, Which Is the Stronger Actress in August Strindberg’s Play?

7. Writing Researched Arguments 
Begin Your Research by Giving It Direction
Search for Sources in the Library and Online
Evaluate the Sources
Record Your Sources’ Key Details
Strategies for Integrating Sources
Avoid Plagiarism
Strategies for Documenting Sources (MLA Format)
Directory to MLA Works-Cited Entries
Short Works from Collections and Anthologies
Multiple Works by the Same Author
Works in Periodicals
Online Sources
Citation Formats for Other Kinds of Sources
A Note on Endnotes
Three Annotated Student Researched Arguments
Sarah Hassan, “The Yellow Wallpaper” as a Guide to Social Factors in Postpartum Depression
How Sarah Uses Her Sources
Nathan Johnson, The Meaning of the Husband’s Fainting in “The Yellow Wallpaper”
How Nathan Uses His Sources
Fatima Nagi, The Relative Absence of the Human Touch in “The Yellow Wallpaper”
How Fatima Uses Her Sources
Contexts for Research: Confinement, Mental Illness, and “The Yellow Wallpaper”
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper
Cultural Contexts
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Why I Wrote “The Yellow Wallpaper”
S. Weir Mitchell, From “The Evolution of the Rest Treatment”
John Harvey Kellogg, From The Ladies’ Guide in Health and Disease

8.  Evaluating Internet Resources in a “Post-Truth” Age 
Evaluating Written Arguments You Find on the Internet
Margaret Atwood, All Bread
Helena Minton, “Bread”
Varda He, Restaurants Should Be More Aware of Celiac, Gluten-Free Diet Limits
Critically Analyzing Web Sites’ Truth Claims
Summing Up the Recommendations
Understanding Strategies in Visual Arguments on the Internet
Topic: War
     Wilfred Owen, Dulce et Decorum Est (poem)
     WWI recruitment poster
     Identifying the Visual Strategies 
Topic: Environmental Destruction
     Linda Hogan, Songs for Turtles in the Gulf (poem)
     Image: Anti-liter ad
     Identifying the Visual Strategies
Topic: Refugees
     Tracy K. Smith, Refuge  
     Photograph: Ukrainian refugees 
     Identifying the Visual Strategies
Topic: Borders
     Alberto Ríos, The Border: A Double Sonnet (poem)
     Map: U.S.-Mexico Border
     Identifying the Visual Strategies
Topic: Guns
     Katie Bickham, The Ferryman (poem)
     Graph: Mass Shootings in 222
     Identifying the Visual Strategies
Summing Up the Strategies
Identifying Biases You Might Bring to Your Internet Research

Appendix: Writing with Critical Approaches to Literature 
Contemporary Schools of Criticism
Working with the Critical Approaches
James Joyce, Counterparts 
Sample Student Essay
Molly Frye, A Refugee at Home (student essay)
James Joyce, Eveline (story)
Index of Authors, Titles, First Lines, and Key Terms

Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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