Argument Literary Essay

A literary analysis is the process where you read a literary work very closely to figure out how the author gets their main points across.

Start by taking notes on the text and reading it very carefully, then develop and outline your argument.

When quotes are used in the body of the text, it adds another layer of verisimilitude ("the appearance of, or resembling, truth") to the story; we see a person's actual words and believe that the writer is fairly analyzing the context.

In the same sense, when we write an essay, we want the grader to believe that we know what we are talking about, and applying knowledge of the text -- in quotes to separate it from our opinion -- gives both context to the argument and another layer of verisimilitude. Quotation marks are used to differentiate your own words from other textual evidence that you may use to support your work.

For instance, if your argument is that Finney is wrong to suggest in "Contents of the Dead Man's Pocket" that marital entertainment time is more important than time spent successfully running a business--an argument many people would disagree with--you will present a stronger and more convincing case by using quotations from the story that show the mistake of Finney's thematic assertion.

Your quotations will prove your argument and provide textual evidence for your thoughts, ideas, assertions, and claims. I would add that quotations can add to the interest of an essay by giving us a very exact sense of what the short-story writer actually wrote and how, precisely, the writer wrote what s/he did.

You make a point, support it with some proof (normally in the form of a quotation from the text) and then give an analysis of that proof, relating it back to your point. Textual evidence is of the utmost importance when writing an essay about a short story, or any story in fact.

The essay reader needs to understand from what point-of-view you, as the essayist, is writing, the text in content, and the essayist's interpretation of said text.

Write the analysis according to your outline, and proofread it carefully before turning it in or sending it on.

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