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Writing About Literature

Writing About Literature - 11th edition

Writing About Literature - 11th edition

ISBN13: 9780131540576

ISBN10: 0131540572

Writing About Literature by Edgar V. Roberts - ISBN 9780131540576
Edition: 11TH 06
Copyright: 2006
Publisher: Prentice Hall, Inc.
International: No
Writing About Literature by Edgar V. Roberts - ISBN 9780131540576

ISBN13: 9780131540576

ISBN10: 0131540572

Edition: 11TH 06

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Appropriate for any college course or advanced placement course that emphasizes writing about literature.

Message: Writing about Literature serves as a hands-on guide for writing about literature, thus justifying the integration of literature and composition. The reading of literature encourages students to think, and the use of literary topics gives instructors a viable way to combine writing and literary study.

Story: When Ed Roberts first wrote Writing about Literature many years ago, he was responding to a direct need in his classroom. He realized that there was a direct connection between the way he made his assignments and the quality of student work he received. The more he described to his students what he wanted, and the longer he explained things, the better the final essays turned out to be. That's when he started to write and hand out directions, thus saving him valuable classroom time. He tried and tested each assignment in a number of separate classes, and he has made innumerable changes and improvements based on both student questions and student writing. To this day, each new edition is revised and tweaked based on professors' needs.

Is writing the primary objective in this course?

  • Chapters are set up as essay assignments that are relevant to all genres. Each chapter contains discussion of a literary approach, suggestions for writing, together with an illustrative essay or essays showing how students might deal with the approach.
    • Detailed writing instruction produces better student papers.
  • Fulfills the requirement for composition.
    • Meets the need of students to develop writing skills based on written texts and enables English faculty to teach literature while meeting their responsibility to teach writing skills.
  • Illustrative essays represent a full treatment of each of the various topics and are kept within the approximate lengths of most assignments in undergraduate courses.
    • Provide students with suggestions and guidance for thematic development.

Is flexibility in teaching your course important to you?

  • Chapters are designed to be flexible and can be assigned according to your objectives and needs. The chapters are arranged in order of increasing difficulty, but no matter how the chapters are used, the two parts-discussion and illustration-enable students to improve their skills as readers and writers.
    • Allows faculty to teach their course however they'd like.
  • Appendix C is an anthology. Selections new to the 11th edition are Coleman's "Unfinished Masterpieces," Twain's "Luck," Brooks's "We Real Cool," Browning's "My Last Duchess," Browning's "Porphyria's Lover," Frost's "The Road Not Taken," Hughes's "Theme for English B," and Salinas's "In a Farmhouse."
  • The works in the anthology can be mixed and matched to accompany the writing assignments.

Are your students new to the study of literature? What other tools does this book have to acquaint these students with literature?

  • NEW Chapter on close reading- A preliminary technique for all students just beginning the actual study of literature.
  • Appendix A contains brief descriptions of important critical approaches such as New Criticism, structuralism, feminism, deconstructionism, and reader-response criticism.
  • A glossary helps students acquaint themselves with important literary terms and concepts.
    • Invaluable in preparing for students preparing for entrance exams and the GRE.

New To This Edition

  • Chapter 1, ''Preliminary: The Process of Reading, Responding to, and Writing about Literature,'' has been revised.
    • Addition of drawings will prove helpful to students beginning to write about literature on a serious level.
  • Chapter on imagery (Chapter 8) and chapter on prosody (Chapter 13) restored based on instructor feedback.
    • Students develop a more vital understanding and appreciation of poetry through their close analysis of sounds than they had previously gained in their years as readers.
  • Chapter 16, ''Writing about a Work in its Historical, Intellectual and Cultural Context'' restored and rewritten.
    • Fully reflects the increasing pluralization of our society
  • New chapter on close reading (Chapter 2)
    • A preliminary technique for all students just beginning the actual study of literature.
  • Chapters 2 through 7 reorganized.
    • These six chapters, all of which are suitable for fiction and three of which are suitable for drama, are now arranged in the order of close reading, character, point of view, plot and structure, setting and idea or theme.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

1. Preliminary: The Process of Reading, Responding to, and Writing About Literature.

What Is Literature, and Why Do We Study It?
Types of Literature: The Genres.
Reading Literature and Responding to It Actively.
Guy de Maupassant, The Necklace.
Reading and Responding in a Notebook or Computer File.
Writing Essays on Literary Topics.
The Goal of Writing: To Show a Process of Thought.
Three Major Stages in Thinking and Writing: Discovering Ideas, Making Initial Drafts, and Completing the Essay.
Discovering Ideas (''Brainstorming'').
The Need to Present an Argument When Writing Essays About Literature.
Assembling Materials and Beginning to Write.
Drafting Your Essay.
Writing by Hand, Typewriter, or Word Processor.
Writing a First Draft.
Using Verb Tenses in the Discussion of Literary Works.
Developing an Outline.
The Use of References and Quotations in Writing about Literature.
Do Not Change Spellings in Your Source.

Illustrative Essay: First Draft: How Setting in ''The Necklace'' Is Related to the Character of Mathilde.

Developing and Strengthening Your Essay through Revision.
Checking Development and Organization.
Using Exact, Comprehensive, and Forceful Language.
Using the Names of Authors.
Illustrative Essay: Revised Draft: How Maupassant Uses Setting in ''The Necklace'' to Show the Character of Mathilde.
Commentary on the Essay.
Essay Commentaries.
Special Topics for Studying and Discussing the Writing Process.

2. Writing About a Close Reading: Analyzing Entire Short Poems or Selected Short Passages from Fiction, Longer Poems, and Plays.

The Purpose and Requirements of a Close-Reading Essay.
The Location of the Passage in a Longer Work.
Writing About the Close Reading of a Passage in a Prose Work, Drama, or Longer Poem.
Illustrative Essay: Reading a Passage in Mark Twain's''Luck.''
Commentary on the Essay.
Writing an Essay on the Close Reading of a Poem.
Illustrative Essay: A Close Reading of Thomas Hardy's ''The Man He Killed.''

Commentary on the Essay.
Special Topics for Studying and Discussing the Close Reading of Literary Works.

3. Writing About Character: The People in Literature.

Character Traits.
How Authors Disclose Character in Literature.
Types of Characters: Round and Flat.
Reality and Probability: Verisimilitude.
Writing about Character.
Illustrative Essay: The Character of Minnie Wright in Susan Glaspell's Trifles.
Commentary on the Essay.
Special Topics for Studying and Discussing Character.

4. Writing About Point of View: The Position or Stance of the Work's Narrator or Speaker.

An Exercise in Point of View: Reporting an Accident.
Conditions that Affect Point of View.
Point of View and Opinions.
Determining a Work's Point of View.
Mingling Points of View.
Point of View and Verb Tense.
Summary: Guidelines for Points of View.
Writing About Point of View.
Illustrative Essay: Bierce's Control of Point of View in ''An Occurrence at OwlCreekBridge.''
Commentary on the Essay.
Special Topics for Studying and Discussing Point of View.

5. Writing About Plot and Structure: The Development and Organization of Narratives and Drama.

Plot: the Motivation and Causation of Narratives and Plays.
Writing About the Plot of a Story or Play.
Illustrative Essay (on Plot): Conflicting Values in Thomas Hardy's ''The Three Strangers.''
Commentary on the Essay.
Structure: The Organization of Fiction, Poetry, and Drama.
Formal Categories of Structure.
Formal and Actual Structure.
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 30: When to the Sessions of Sweet Silent Thought.

Writing About Structure in Fiction, Poetry, and Drama.

Illustrative Essay (on Structure): Conflict and Suspense in Thomas Hardy's ''The Three Strangers.''
Commentary on the Essay.
Special Topics for Studying and Discussing Plot and Structure.

6. Writing About Setting: The Background of Place, Objects, and Culture in Literature.

What Is Setting?
The Importance of Setting in Literature.
Writing About Setting.
Illustrative Essay: The Interaction of Story and Setting in James Joyce's ''Araby.''
Commentary on the Essay.
Special Topics for Studying and Discussing Setting.

7. Writing About an Idea or a Theme: The Meanings and the Messages in Literature.

Ideas and Assertions.
Ideas and Values.
The Place of Ideas in Literature.
How to Find Ideas.
Writing About a Major Idea in Literature.
Illustrative Essay: The Idea of Love's Power in Chekhov's The Bear.
Commentary on the Essay.
Special Topics for Studying and Discussing Ideas.

8. Writing About Imagery: The Literary Work's Link to the Senses.

Responses and the Writer's Use of Detail.
The Relationship of Imagery to Ideas and Attitudes.
Types of Imagery.
Writing about Imagery.
Illustrative Essay: The Images of Masefield's ''Cargoes.''
Commentary on the Essay.
Special Topics for Studying and Discussing Literary Imagery.

9. Writing About Metaphor and Simile: A Source of Depth and Range in Literature.

Metaphors and Similes: The Major Figures of Speech.
Characteristics of Metaphorical Language.

John Keats, ''On First Looking into Chapman's Homer.''

Vehicle and Tenor.
Writing About Metaphors and Similes.
Illustrative Essay: A Study of Shakespeare's Metaphors in ''Sonnet 30: When to the Sessions of Sweet Silent Thought.''
Commentary on the Essay.
Special Topics for Studying and Discussing Metaphors and Similes.

10. Writing About Symbolism and Allegory: Keys to Extended Meaning.

Fable, Parable, and Myth.
Allusion in Symbolism and Allegory.
Writing about Symbolism or Allegory.
Illustrative Essay (Symbolism): Symbolism and Allusion in William Butler Yeats's ''The Second Coming.''
Commentary on the Essay.
Illustrative Essay (Allegory): The Allegory of Hawthorne's ''Young Goodman Brown.''
Commentary on the Essay.
Special Topics for Studying and Discussing Symbolism and Allegory.

11. Writing About Tone: The Writer's Control over Attitudes and Feeling.

Tone and Attitudes.
Tone and Humor.
Tone and Irony.
Writing About Tone.
Illustrative Essay: The Confident Tone of ''Theme for English B'' by Langston Hughes.''
Commentary on the Essay.
Special Topics for Studying and Discussing Tone.

12: Writing About a Problem: Challenges to Overcome in Reading.

Strategies for Developing an Essay About a Problem.
Writing About a Problem.
Illustrative Essay: The Problem of Frost's Use of the Term ''Desert Places'' in the Poem ''Desert Places.''
Commentary on the Essay.
Special Topics for Studying and Discussing Literary Problems.

13. Writing About Prosody: Sound, Rhythm, and Rhyme in Poetry.

Important definitions for Studying Prosody.
Segments: Individually Meaningful Sounds.
Poetic Rhythm.
The Major Metrical Feet.
Special Meters.
Accentual, Strong-Stress, and ''Sprung'' Rhythms.
The Caesura: the Pause Creating variety and natural rhythms in Poetry.
Segmental Poetic Devices.
Rhyme: The Duplication and Similarity of Sounds.
Rhyme and Meter.
Rhyme Schemes.
Writing about Prosody.
Referring to Sounds in Poetry.
Illustrative Essay: Rhythm, Sound, and Rhyme in Robert Browning's ''Porphyria's Lover.''
Commentary on the Essay.
Special Topics for Studying and writing about Rhythm and Rhyme in Poetry.

14. Writing Essays of Comparison-Contrast and Extended Comparison-Contrast: Learning by Seeing Literary Works Together.

Guidelines for the Comparison-Contrast Method.
The Extended Comparison-Contrast Essay.
Citing References in a Longer Comparison-Contrast Essay.
Writing a Comparison-Contrast Essay.
Illustrative Essay (Comparing andContrasting Two Works): The Implication of ''Westward'' on the Ideas of Wordsworth's ''Stepping Westward'' and Donne's ''Good Friday, 1613, Riding Westward.''
Commentary on the Essay.
Illustrative Essay (Extended Comparison-Contrast): Literary Treatments of Conflicts Between Private and Public Life.
Commentary on the Essay.
Special Topics for Studying and Discussing Comparison and Contrast.

15. Writing a Review Essay: Developing Ideas for General or Particular Audiences.

Writing a Review Essay.
First Illustrative Essay (A Review for General Readers):Hawthorne's Story ''Young Goodman Brown'': A View of Mistaken Zeal.
Commentary on the Essay.
Second Illustrative Essay (Designed for a Specific Group; Here, a Religious Group):Hawthorne's Story ''Religious Intolerance and Hawthorne's Story ''Young Goodman Brown.''
Commentary on the Essay.
Third Illustrative Essay (A Personal Review for a General Audience): Security and Hawthorne's Story ''Young Goodman Brown.''
Commentary on the Essay.
Speacial Topics for Studying and Discussing the Writing of Reviews.

16: Writing About a Work in Its Historical, Intellectual, and Cultural Context.

History, Culture, and MultiCulturalism.

Literature in Its Time and Place.
Reading to Prepare for Writing.
Illustrative Essay: Hughes's References to Black Servitude and Black Pride in ''Negro.''
Commentary on the Essay.
Special Topics for Studying Works in Their Historical, Intellectual, and Cultural Context.

17. Writing About Film: Drama on the Silver Screen, Television Set, and Computer Monitor.

A Thumbnail History of Film.
Stage Plays and Film.
DVD Technology and Film Study.
The Aesthetics of Film.
The Techniques of Film.
Editing or Montage Is the Assembling of a Film out of Separate Parts.
Writing About Film.
Illustrative Essay: Welles's Citizen Kane: Whittling a Giant Down to Size.
Commentary on the Essay.
Special Topics for Studying and Discussing Film.

18. Writing Examinations on Literature.

Answering the Questions that Are Asked.
Systematic Preparation.
Two Basic Types of Questions about Literature.

19. Writing and Documenting the Research Essay: Using Extra Resources for Understanding.

Selecting a Topic.
Setting up a Bibliography.
Online Library Services.
Important Considerations About Computer-Aided Research.
Taking Notes and Paraphrasing Material.
Documenting Your Work.
Strategies for Organizing Ideas in Your Research Essay.
Illustrative Research Essay: The Structure of Mansfield's ''Miss Brill.''
Commentary on the Essay.
Special Topics for Studying and Discussing How to Undertake Research Essays.
Appendix A. Critical Approaches Important in the Study of Literature.
New Critical/Formalist.
Economic Determinist/Marxist.

Appendix B. The Use of References when Writing About Literature, and the MLA Guidelines for Documenting Electronic Sources.

Integrating Passages and Ideas into Your Essay.
MLA Recommendations for Documenting Electronic Sources.

Appendix C. A Brief Anthology of Works Used for Illustrative Essays and References.

Ambrose Bierce, An Occurrence at OwlCreekBridge.

Kate Chopin, The Story of an Hour.
Anita Scott Coleman, Unfinished Masterpieces.
Thomas Hardy, The Three Strangers.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, Young Goodman Brown.
Katherine Mansfield, Miss Brill.
Guy de Maupassant, The Necklace [in Chapter 1].
Frank O'Connor, First Confession.
Edgar Allan Poe, The Masque of the Red Death.
Mark Twain, Luck.


Matthew Arnold, DoverBeach.
William Blake, The Tyger.
Gwendolyn Brooks, We Real Cool.
Robert Browning, My Last Duchess.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Kubla Khan.
Robert Frost, Desert Places.
Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken.
Thomas Hardy, Channel Firing.
Thomas Hardy , The Man He Killed.
Langston Hughes, Negro.
Langston Hughes, Theme for English B.

John Keats, Bright Star.

John Keats, On First Looking Into Chapman's Homer [in Chapter 9].
Irving Layton, Rhine Boat Trip.
Audre Lorde, Every Traveler Has One Vermont Poem.
Amy Lowell, Patterns.
Wilfred Owen, Anthem for Doomed Youth.
Dudley Randall, Ballad of Birmingham.
Christina Rossetti, Echo.
Luis Omar Salinas, In a Farmhouse.
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 30.
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 73 [ in Chapter 5].
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 116.
William Butler Yeats, The Second Coming.
Shelly Wagner, The Boxes.
William Wordsworth, Lines Written in Early Spring.


Anton Chekhov, The Bear: A Joke in One Act.
Susan Glaspell, Trifles.

A Glossary of Important Literary Terms.
Index of Authors, Directors, First Lines of Poetry, Titles, and Topics.