Inductive essay (Quiet World by Jeffrey Mcdaniel)
It is an inductive essay
Format: at least 3 pages, typed, double-spaced, 12-point font, 1-inch margins
Essay #1: Reasoning Inductively: Reading (and Writing) in “Slow Motion”
In order to write effectively about literature, you’ll need to learn how to write sustained, in-depth, careful
interpretations of excerpts from literary works; so, you’ll need to become adept at explicating: at
commenting on a short passage, line by line, to reveal to your readers the underlying meanings and
significance of individual words and phrases. This first essay asks you to do just that—to start gearing up for
the longer essays by working on your ability to write a thorough, critical explication.
Assignment: Write an explication of an important passage from “Space Oddity” by David Bowie, “Sci-Fi” by
Tracy K. Smith, “The Quiet World” by Jeffrey McDaniel, Robot Love poems by Margaret Rhee and/or
Metropolis: The Chase Suite, beginning with your observations then analyzing for inferences, for what
individual words and phrases suggest or imply, and, in your conclusion, ultimately explaining the
passage’s importance to the meaning of the poems as a whole.
In doing so, I’d like you to, first, type out the passage you’ll be explicating (at the top of the page), and then
explicate/interpret/explain it, line by line.
Suggestions: You’ll want to organize this paper inductively—meaning, you’ll start with the specific
evidence first, and then analyze this evidence, reasoning your way to a more general thesis/conclusion at the
end of your essay. In doing so, I’d like you to identify, early in your essay, the title of the work and the
author’s name. Also, be sure to consider how to break up your body paragraphs, since you’ll need to organize
your analysis into separate chunks (again, you should pick just a short passage—no more than 10 lines). In
addition, you should carefully quote specific words and/or phrases in order to show the relationship between
the original text and your interpretations. Typically, you should analyze a line or even a phrase at a time.
Be sure to notice details: What do particular words and phrases suggest? What else do they suggest? What
does the word choice reveal about the characters, the setting, etc.? Then, at the end of the explication (in your
“conclusion”), you’ll make a more general claim about the work as a whole: How does the passage contribute
to your understanding of the short story as a whole? Why is this passage important, in other words?
On this essay, you’ll be working on the following skills:
? reading between the lines, making inferences, thinking critically;
? reasoning/organizing inductively by starting off with a specific passage and then explaining the deeper
underlying meanings and implications of the specific textual evidence (and offering clear, logical
reasons why the text means what you say it means);
? reaching a coherent, insightful conclusion/thesis about the general meaning of the story;
? quoting, paraphrasing, and citing your literary source;
? and, finally (as usual), organizing your essay in a logical manner and editing carefully for grammar,
punctuation, and spelling
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