A literary arguments is an anlaysis or argument of a literary work. Liteary analysis focuses on how and why a literary work was created and why the author made choices as they did.
Literary analysis calls for students to analyze elements of a narrative where literary ARGUMENTS call for students to take a position of a debatable topic and attempt to change the reader’s mind about them. The more presuasive the argument, the more likely the reader will concede to the points made.
A Literary Argument is …
In “Black Boy”, by Richard Wright, Richard’s mother takes severe action against her son, but established herself as a ‘good’ parent.
In Dr. Martin Luther Kind, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, he uses the literary device of repetition to strengthen the connection with his audience.
In “Fighting Off the Sharks for a Fish”, G.G. Marquez uses vivid imagery to reveal the struggle of survival of the main character.
Why Teacher Literary Argument?
Literary argument present the opportunity to broaden the perspective of others. It shows others what the reader ‘sees’ in the text by presented and defending a judgement.
It also develops higher order thinking skills. Students learn to interpret by analyzing what a text does, what it communicates, and how it conveys its specific message.
Ways Student Develop Thinking Skills
They conduct inquiries in to, and then develop claims about how an author uses literary devices to impact the delivery of their message.
They observe how a poet uses metaphors to extend the theme
They compare texts’ treatment of literary conventions for insight about how human interactions may be impacted by different environments.
Interpretation IS analysis of text.
Readers judge when they evaluate a text’s value. Judgements are made when readers assert a value about aesthetics, social norms, political beliefs, or ethical issues.
Judgement arguments can be tricky. They only succeed when they are supported by criteria or extended definitions. Writers of literary argument must establish qualifiers in order to establish a sound argument.
In literary analysis, thesis statements are Toulmin’s claims. The process of writing a literary argument is very similar to writing about a literary topic. But, there are required features to establish a claim the writer will prove with evidence.
What remains the same is that the thesis statement (claim) must be focused, contestable, and analytical, just as the claim is in the Toulmin Model.
Contestable Thesis Statements
Developing a contestable thesis statement draws in the reader and engages them in the argument. Notice the examples below. Notice how non-contestable statements have a “so-what’ feeling to them, drawing little attention to their purpose. They set the reader up for a summary rather than an argument.
Non-Contestable Thesis Statements
Contestable Thesis Statements
Romeo and Juliet tells the story of lovers thwarted by their families’ feud.
Romeo and Juliet dramatizes the impact of hate online to illustrate how love can ‘kill’ literally and figuratively.
The Cay shares the adventures and lessons boy experiences in a time of prejudice.
The Cay depicts the impact acceptance and understanding can have on humanity when the color of skin is no longer an issue.
The Pearl reveals how sudden wealth shifts can shift one’s reality.
The Pearl unveils how materialistic drives corrode evolved cultures and reduce human motivation to survival of the fittest to justify a means to an end.