How to Write an Analytical Essay
The purpose of these
analytical essay assignments is to teach students to examine a feature
film, interpret its meaning, and develop an argument based on and
supported by material presented in the film itself as well as in HUM
1020. Thus, these assignments have been designed not only to develop
compositional skills but to teach students to make meaning of experience
by analyzing, evaluating, conceptualizing, condensing, and synthesizing
ideas presented in the film and then relating them to course
|To begin, you
need to develop your note-taking skills. After all, in order to write a
good analytical essay, you must start out with raw materials that will
eventually be condensed into a refined piece of writing. As you view a
film or listen to a class lecture for that matter, don't take down every
word that you hear. Even if you went to secretarial school, you'll be
left behind, and you won't be able to concentrate. The appropriate
technique to follow is to be attentive for visual cues as well as listen
for key words, main concepts and supporting evidence. For instance, it
is very probable that in the beginning of the presentation, whether in a
lecture or a film, the speaker or narrator will announce what the
purpose is or a mood will be created. Once you have jotted these down,
in all probability, the presentation's organizational pattern will begin
to emerge. Take down only essential information; keep it brief.
Separate main points from sub-points and evidence.
|Now that you
have the raw material from which your analytical essay is about to
emerge, look at your notes carefully and begin to relate all of the
parts to the whole. Ask yourself what did the speaker or narrator want
to accomplish as well as what information was presented. After having
decided what the purpose and the thesis are, you are now ready to write.
Make sure that the thesis is backed up by main points, and these, with
sub-points and evidence. Furthermore, make sure to connect all of the
main points through the use of transitions so as to indicate the
relationship between them. Remember to be brief but, at the same time,
|In analyzing a
feature film, make sure that you do not merely describe its plot. The
plot is merely a mechanism for packaging what the film is really about.
Again, what you will be focusing on are the themes and values that the
movie advances. To do so, you will have to be analytical. Once you have
decided what its themes are, each may then be illustrated through the
use of events and characterizations depicted in the feature film. For
instance, the film Titanic deals with, on the surface, the
sinking of a ship. However, what you will be writing about is what ideas
the film advances: 1) that class distinctions were very rigid during
la belle époque; 2) that technology was worshiped and thought
to be infallible; and 3) that men and women did not have the same
rights. Each of these ideas can then become a separate topic sentence,
the central idea of a paragraph, anchoring a paragraph which can be
developed by alluding to situations and characterizations that are
portrayed in the film. Once you have decided what these topic sentences
are going to be, then formulate a thesis which will synthesize these
subordinate ideas into a unified whole. Thus the thesis statement of
this particular summary might be expressed in the following manner: The
film Titanic illustrates the values of la belle époque by
focusing on the rigid class and gender distinctions as well as the
worship of technology.
|Finally, as you
write the analysis essay, complete the following:
1. Cite the title of the movie.
2. Provide background information and formulate the thesis in the introductory paragraph.
3. Indicate the main ideas presented in the film. Each of these main ideas should be framed into a topic sentence and developed through the use of specific details.
4. Use direct quotation of key words and phrases.
5. Use tags ("according to" or "as explained in the movie") to remind the reader that you are summarizing the view presented rather than your own.
6. Avoid summarizing plot.
7. Report the main ideas as objectively as possible. Do not include your own reactions and responses.
understand what a good analytical summary is, I am providing you with
sample essays. Read them and please note that each of these summaries
are written in the MLA style, the same format that you need to follow.