BUILDING STRONG ARGUMENTS THROUGH ANALYSIS The Key to an Effective Literary Essay LETS START WITH A STRONG THESIS In order to write a strong and convincing analytical essay, you must start with a strong thesis which
includes: a clear position supported by distinct main points which are reasons why. SO, LETS START OUT WITH THE FOLLOWING PROMPT: Is Odysseus a good leader? ASSUME WE AGREE THAT OUR POSITION
IS: YES, ODYSSEUS IS A GOOD LEADER. NEXT STEP: DEVELOP MAIN POINTS Our next step is to determine our main points or reasons why Odysseus is a good leader. The tricky part is not to think of
examples! When you do, ask yourself, what is this an example of? LETS ASK OURSELVES: WHY IS ODYSSEUS A GOOD LEADER? Because he displays bravery in the face of danger He is an excellent strategist He puts the needs of the whole before the needs of a few
LETS DEVELOP THE LAST POINT: Odysseus is a good leader because he puts the needs of the whole before the needs of a few. What does this mean? It means he is willing to sacrifice a few men in order to save the majority, a quality a good leader must possess. OK, so now we need an example from the text.
WHERE SHOULD WE GO IN THE TEXT TO FIND AN EXAMPLE OF THIS POINT? TO THE SCENE WITH POLYPHEMUS, OF COURSE! Often the first example that comes to mind is the best. The scene where Odysseus decides he needs to sacrifice a few men in
order to escape Polyphemus cave displays Odysseus ability to see the big picture and be willing to sacrifice a few lives for the good of the bigger picture the rest of the crew. QUOTE AS TEXTUAL SUPPORT:
Selecting a strong quote that proves your point and allows for analysis is key to building your argument. In this case, will use the following quote: And now I ordered my shipmates all to cast lots whod brave it out with me to hoist our stake and grind it into his eye when
sleep had overcome him? Luck of the draw: I got the very good ones I would have picked myself (Homer 9.370-374). WHY IS THIS A GOOD QUOTE CHOICE? And now I ordered my shipmates all to cast lots whod brave it out with me to hoist our stake and grind it into his eye when sleep had overcome him? Luck of the draw: I got the very good ones I would have picked myself (Homer
9.370-374) Lets ask ourselves what this quote tells us about Odysseus character, as it relates to his ability to see the big picture. WHAT QUESTIONS SHOULD WE BE ASKING IN ORDER TO COME TO THE ANALYSIS? What does the quote tell us about the main character? The main point? Why does the character behave the way he does?
What are his strengths and weaknesses? What are the characters underlying motives? Why is this example significant? How does it connect to the thesis? WHY/HOW DOES BEING ABLE TO SEE THE BIG PICTURE MAKE ODYSSEUS A GOOD LEADER? This quote tells us: Odysseus quickly sizes up the situation and
realizes that he may lose a few men, a dilemma no leader wants to face. He does not want to make the choice of which men will be lost. However, he remains emotionally detached enough to make the right decision to save as many men as possible and asks the men to draw lots. THE QUOTE ALSO TELLS US: Also, Odysseus does not ask the crew to
do anything that he, himself, would not do. He draws a lot along with the rest of his crew. SO, TO SUM UP WHAT WE WANT TO USE TO ANALYZE: And now I ordered my shipmates all to cast lots whod brave it out with me to hoist our stake and grind it into his eye when sleep had overcome him? Luck of the draw: I got the very good one I would have picked myself
Odysseus quickly sizes up the situation He realizes he will have to sacrifice a few men He asks the men to draw lots and includes himself He remains emotionally detached These are all qualities that Odysseus possesses that prove him to be a good leader.
LETS PUT IT ALL TOGETHER: Topic sentence: States the position and main point Odysseus displays the qualities of an effective leader because he is willing to sacrifice the lives of a few in order to protect his crew as a whole, as seen when he attacks Polyphemus.
Introduction to Evidence: Sets the scene/context for the textual evidence. The Cyclops Polyphemus has just devoured four men, prompting Odysseus to quickly come up with a plan to wound the beast by ramming a hot stake into his one eye with the help of his crew.
Textual Evidence: Quote from the text which proves the main point you are making. He states, And now I ordered my shipmates all to cast lots whod brave it out with me to hoist our stake and grind it into his eye when sleep had overcome him? Luck of the draw: I got the very good one I would have picked myself (Homer 9.370-374).
Analysis: What does this quote tell us about Odysseus? How does it demonstrate that he is a good leader? What actions does he take as a good leader? Why is it important for him to be a good leader? Odysseus is aware that attacking Polyphemus will be dangerous and that anyone who participates in the act is risking his own life. What sets Odysseus apart as a true leader is his willingness to accept that some will die, maybe even himself, in order to save the group. He is able to remain
emotionally detached enough to ask all of his men, unselfishly including himself, to draw lots for the risky task. This detachment from his crew as individuals allows him as a leader to execute his plan fairly, bravely, and unemotionally. Concluding sentence: Therefore, Odysseus NOW YOUVE BUILT A LOGICAL ARGUMENT! Odysseus is a a good leader because he is willing to sacrifice for
the good of the group. He unselfishly includes himself in this sacrifice He stays emotionally detached so the men are fairly chosen
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