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  1. Introduction: laying the foundation

In this first section of the course, there are five lectures that lay the foundation for writing an excellent critical essay.

The first lecture looks at the difference between subject and a topic. They’re very different and you need to understand that difference.

The second lecture examines what it means to have a main idea or debatable thesis for your entire essay. Students often have trouble with this concept. So you need to get it right from the start.

In the third lecture, we define literary analysis, a special kind of argumentative essay. It requires an interpretation of a literary genre. This could be a short story, a play, a poem, a novel, and even a film: all having to do with storytelling.

Literary analysis is not as complicated as it sounds. It simply means giving your personal viewpoint on some aspect of the story, such as theme or writing style.

In the fourth lecture, we explain the literary terms used to analyze character, plot and point of view.

In the fifth lecture, we look at the last three literary elements: setting, style and theme. We also discuss briefly how to do a film analysis using literary terms as well as audiovisual elements.

At the end of this section, there will be short quiz to review what you’ve learned.

In the first activity in your writing portfolio, you will have a chance to explore a subject, choose a topic, and formulate a thesis


There is also a Self-assessment Worksheet that allows you to review what you learned in the section.


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