Instructions for the Analytical Essay
From the syllabus:
ANALYTICAL ESSAY (Ch. 8)—100 Points
The assignment should be 1300-1800 words, or longer; anything less than
One thousand two hundred words, and I won't grade it.
Pay attention to the Learning Objectives, page 259; the Features of the Form,
page 264; and the assignment itself, Inquiry Project: Writing an Analytical
Essay, page 280 (ignore the Prose+ section; we won’t be using it this
Any research or outside materials consulted in writing this must be
documented according to conventional academic standards(APA or MLA,
Follow Ballenger’s Instructions:
Write on something open to interpretation. These can be cultural trends,
marketing campaigns, fashion trends, individual works from music, books,
TV/Film, advertisements, but also social/cultural issues, arguments, and
positions. Anything that can be interpreted by different people to mean
different things is fair game.
Describe the object you’re writing about and identify the patterns, elements,
passages, references, or features that strike you as interesting.
Examine how these elements connect to larger themes, ideas, etc.
Argue for a particular interpretation, a particular answer to the question: What
might this mean?
Understand the difference between text and subtext. Text is what’s on the
surface and explicitly stated/shown; subtext is what’s beneath the surface and
what’s implied by looking more deeply at the text. The text should be obvious,
but subtext is where what you 're writing about it open to interpretation.
Put some time into understanding your audience. How much do you need to
describe or summarize? How much are they likely to know already. It’s tricky
to figure this out. Too much background or description and you risk confusing
your readers or worse, sounding like you 're talking down to them. Too little
and they can feel lost and adrift, uncertain what you 're trying to get across or
how you have come to your conclusions.