Bookrags Essay Outline

While analyzing poetry, you have only a small amount of primary material with which to work. While analyzing a story, you have expanded the original source. A story is a short narrative that encapsulates generally a few major themes. It is not a novel, which is a long narrative, full of characters, ideas, themes, and plots. A story (or "short story") is a narrative that essentially focuses on one plot and a few characters. Because of the narrow focus on the original writing, your analysis will be much more focused, as well.

When you begin to analyze a story, follow these steps in order to avoid confusion.

  • Read over the story several times
  • One quick read — or even one thorough read — is never sufficient to analyzing a story. Because stories are rather short, you will be able to find time to read the story several times. Analyzing a story you only 'sort of know' will do you no good. Your analysis will be shoddy and it will come across through your writing (or presentation).

  • Discuss the story with a teacher or peer
  • Once you have read the story sufficiently to understand it as best you can, it is helpful to discuss the story with another person. If this story was assigned in school, you will probably be discussing it in class, where you will have the guidance of a teacher and opinions of several other students. More brains are always better than one; consequently, open your mouth and ask your questions. Bring your analysis into the forefront of a conversation so that you can discuss ideas. You may discover that you have found a brilliant new way to view a story. Or, you may discover that your analysis is so far off track that you will need to re-read the story to understand what is truly occurring within.

  • Select a specific theme
  • Stories, like novels, essays, and poems, can carry several themes. You must select one to focus on in your analysis. The beauty of analyzing a story is that it will not be overwrought with too much symbolism or too much plot. It should be fairly easy to select a specific idea to follow. Once you have selected the theme you want to analyze in the story, go on to the next step.

  • Research that theme
  • Once you have selected the theme of the story for your analysis, then you must begin the analysis. Go through the story several times and find at least three examples of your theme. Think about them and how they apply to the characters, plot, and real life. If you cannot bring three examples of a theme together into an overall analysis (message), then perhaps you should start from the beginning and select a new theme. It is important to remember that you must stay with the same theme throughout your analysis. If you jump around topics, then your analysis will be weak in several areas.

  • Write an outline
  • Like any analysis, essay, or research paper, an outline is vital. It is the skeleton of your analysis, the scaffolding that holds your ideas together. It is your organizational crutch. Your outline for the story analysis should begin with an introduction (including a thesis statement), followed by three examples of the theme in your story, and a conclusion bringing all the examples of the themes together. This conclusion will be significant in an analysis, for you will be putting together what you have just explained into a greater context. The conclusion is the ultimate analysis of the story and should leave the audience/readership understanding the story in a new light.

  • Write the paper
  • Now that you have all your themes and ideas written down in a nice outline, you are ready to write your analysis. While it initially seemed like a daunting task, because you have done all the work already, you can now simply place all the work together into a nice organized and complete analysis.

    If your story analysis is meant to be an oral presentation, follow the same steps. You will still need an outline, as presentations are no different than written papers in content. The only difference is presentation. Your outline will serve as your notes. It will be your guide as you speak to your teacher and class.

    When you set out to analyze a novel, you have a mighty task ahead of you. This is not a short story, poem, or essay. Rather, it is a lengthy work of fiction, designed to create any number of emotions in you. While most of them are inspiring, the thought of having to analyze a novel is possibly terrifying because of the size of most novels. However, the beauty behind novel analysis is that there are so many things you can do. Most novels have numerous serious themes spread throughout, and many more sub-plots (sub-themes). The most important thing to remember in analyzing a novel is that — like other analyses — there is not usually a right or wrong answer. There is only an analysis that is supported with factual details and evidence from the text. Everything you will need to analyze the novel will come from the novel itself. You can always research farther; however, you can analyze a novel without going outside the ends of the book.

    Follow these simple guidelines to aid in your novel analysis.

  • Read the novel closely
  • A close reading of a novel is different than a quick skim. If you have time, it would behoove you to read the novel at least twice. However, as a student, you probably do not have sufficient time. So, pick up the novel, a pen, and read it while making marks in the margins. Underline lines that stand out at you. These will be your best friends while analyzing it in the future. Nothing is worse than having to look back at a novel of hundreds of pages without having a clue as to where to find that specific line you remember. If you marked it during your first read through, you will be able to find specific lines much easier later on.

  • Make an appointment to speak with your teacher/professor
  • While analyzing a poem or story, you have people to discuss ideas with, as they will be dealing with many of the same issues. It is helpful to share thoughts. However, when analyzing a novel, you will probably not be writing or analyzing the same thing as the rest of your peers. Your teachers will be great sources of inspiration and help. You may get stuck on a certain idea, theme, or problem; they are trained to help teach you analytical skills. After reading the novel and thinking about ideas for analysis, discuss them with a teacher. Your teacher will then sway you in a specific direction and help you organize your thoughts.

  • Select a specific topic
  • Once you have read the novel, discussed it in class or in private with a tutor, you are ready to begin the analysis. You have already begun unofficially by thinking about it. Now, with the numerous issues addressed in the novel, you have your easy pick, and can focus on one specific theme to analyze in the book. A problem many students encounter in this portion is that they try to analyze too many parts of the book or too many themes. You must pick one theme (and show it in several characters) or select one character and analyze him or her. It is imperative to stay on target and not veer from you thesis (your central topic).

  • Find evidence
  • Once you have decided upon a topic to analyze in the novel, you must now go through the book and find examples of how to prove your thesis (argument). If you had not previously taken notes or wrote in the book, then you will have to go page by page to find specific examples to use in your analysis. This step can be fairly time-consuming. However, without this step, you have absolutely no analysis. You must have evidence in order to analyze a novel.

  • Write an outline
  • Like any analysis, essay, or research paper, an outline is vital. It is the skeleton of your analysis, the scaffolding that holds your ideas together. It is your organizational crutch. Your outline for the novel analysis should begin with an introduction (including a thesis statement), followed by three examples of the theme in your novel, and a conclusion bringing all the examples of the themes together. This conclusion will be significant in an analysis, for you will be putting together what you have just explained into a greater context. The conclusion is the ultimate analysis of the novel and should leave the audience/readership understanding the novel in a new light.

  • Write the paper
  • Now that you have all your themes and ideas written down in a nice outline, you are ready to write your analysis. While it initially seemed like a daunting task, because you have done all the work already, you can now simply place all the work together into a nice organized and complete analysis.

    If your novel analysis is meant to be an oral presentation, follow the same steps. You will still need an outline, as presentations are no different than written papers in content. The only difference is presentation. Your outline will serve as your notes. It will be your guide as you speak to your teacher and class.

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