The Analytical Essay The Analytical Essay is in many ways a combination of the interpretive and persuasive essays. Like the interpretive essay, analytical essays make meaning of a particular event (a social phenomenon, historical happening, or scientific experiment) or artifact (the thing under study such as a written text, archeological object, or work of art). Like the persuasive essay, they tend to have as their "center of gravity" a single conclusion – similar to the persuasive essay's thesis – to which, the writer argues, the analysis logically leads. Since the goal of an analytical essay is a more full and clear understanding of the object's or event's meaning, its basis is the object's or event's full and rich description. This description may come from close observation and/or careful interviewing techniques. The analytical essay begins with a full and close observation of its subject.à First, the writer literally takes the event or phenomenon apart to examine and describe its various elements – in a painting, for example, the different forms and images that make up the whole, the colors and contrasts, the angles of light and shadow, even the artist's brush-strokes visible in the paint. à Next the writer studies and describes the connections among the various elements: the relative sizes and positions among the painting's different forms and figures, which forms and figures are lighted and which are in shadow, which figures are foregrounded (appearing to be in front) and which backgrounded (appearing to be in back).The analytical essay then moves to interpretation. à Now the writer draws inferences based on the connections he or she has found. "Inferences" are simply messages and meanings the writer discovers within the artifact or event. For example, from a landscape painting in which the sun shines brightly on a field of flowers peopled with families and small animals we might infer a message of nature's nurturing warmth and abundant fertility. From a landscape of stormy skies, rocky cliffs, and a lone traveler struggling along a windswept road, we might infer that the painter means nature's world to be seen as harsh, demanding, and dangerous.à Finally, the writer comes to some conclusion about the inferences drawn from and meanings implied by the analyzed artifact or event. The writer might conclude from the evidence found in the landscape painting that this particular painting shows a change from the artist's usual style, or that the artist used art to persuade, inflame, or manipulate the viewer in a certain way. Whatever conclusion the writer arrives at, readers must be able to see a clear and logical path from beginning description to interpretive end. 1. Topic Selection: You've by now accumulated rough drafts of any number of possible analytical essays. You've analyzed the play patterns of children and drawn inferences about the ways in which male and female identities are established. You've studied toys – the artifacts of childhood training – and analyzed the "dominant" and "alternative stories" about gender for which they act as props. You've observed classroom behavior among men and women students and drawn conclusions about the changes in co-education over time. So as always, start from your Exploratory Writings to find topics you've already begun to develop, and select the one(s) you'll use as the rough, "exploratory" draft of your analytical essay. 2. Development: Working directly on the file or on a hard-copy printout of it, make some notes to yourself about what you will add to this rough draft. You'll need to give your readers a clear picture of the event or phenomenon you're analyzing before breaking it down and presenting your interpretation of what its means. And so you'll want your initial observation of your subject to be as full and thick and rich as possible. Now is the time to plan another interview, another visit to the toy store or web site you first visited, a closer observation of your classes, or whatever you have to do to gather as much information as necessary. Also review other exploratory writings as well as relevant readings for additional examples, descriptions, and quotations you can use. (For now just make rough notes about what information and ideas you'll add and flesh out later. You're still in the planning stages!) 3. Organization: Read over your draft and notes on it carefully. The essay's overall organization may be clear: introduction, description, analysis, interpretation, conclusion. But within each larger stage, you'll have to make choices. For instance, if you're comparing and contrasting male and female classroom behaviors, should you first describe fully men's general behavior and then women's? Or should you break down the behaviors, first describing how men and women sit, then how they speak, then how they respond to one another, etc.? The choice is yours, and this is a good time to start thinking about the choice you'll make. (Whatever way you do choose, just remember to match your comparisons, and compare similar behaviors or other items. You can successfully compare and contrast apples and oranges, but not apples and horses.)Make a rough outline of the steps you'll take readers through in this essay. 4. Drafting: Once you have planned how to develop your draft more fully and organize it more smoothly, begin your next draft.
· 14 年前