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Analytical Essays Learning Resources
You will need Flash and high-speed internet access to complete the interactive Flash lesson on this Michigan State site. If you don't have access at home, visit this site from the SRJC library or anywhere else that you can give you high-speed access. The site includes short videos that follow one student's learning experience as she writes an analytical essay, interactive exercises, and comprehensive lessons on writing an analytical essay for the humanities. When you are asked for a username/password, just choose the "skip login" option and go directly to the lesson.
A good resource from Drew University in New Jersey covering the different uses of analytical writing. The instructor breaks analysis down into causal, process, and rhetorical analysis, and discusses how and why different types of analysis are dominant in different academic disciplines. Clear explanations.
This site offers a detailed discussion of how to analyze passages from a literary work, and how to use such passages as support in an analytical essay. Good examples! A very useful site for students preparing to write about literature.
Once again, the Purdue University Online Writing Lab offers excellent learning materials. The information on writing about literature gives solid answers to common questions, such as "What makes a good literature paper?" "What kind of topics are good ones?" and "How do I use the information I find?" There is also a handy explanation of MLA format for citing your sources (which you will need even if you are publishing your essay online; see the overview to the unit for an example of in-text citations and a works cited "page"). Be sure and follow the link to their separate pages on "writing about literature" for more thorough analysis of some of the specific tasks involved such as close reading and drafting your essay.
This handout comes from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I like its concise format—they calm students' fears about writing about literature by describing the reading and writing process in nine steps from start to finish.
This essay was written by Professor John Lye of Brock University for his first year English students. The discussion of the process of analyzing a literary text is quite thorough, though some of the terminology he uses may seem a bit confusing at first. Note also, that the emphasis here in on critical reading of literature.