Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Matt's Textual Analysis: Past, Present and Future
I must sat that writing a textual analysis in stages was harder than I thought it would be. I am a one-drafter, and rarely do more than add a comma or replace periods with semi-colons when I go back over my papers. But, I found myself making massive changes to my paper in order to justify that it was an actual draft, separate from all of the others in the series with actual, visible changes which obviously made the paper better. I felt pressured to show that the paper was not only getting progressively better, but I wanted it darn near perfect since the assignment was a sort of invitation for use in the classroom with my students. I can handle pronoun disagreement when it is just the professor, but if my students saw it and caught it, I would be terribly embarrassed. +I chose to write my analysis on Sean Hannity's "Deliver Us from Evil." It is a subject that I have brought up in my classes several times. I've said that if logical fallacies were puppies, Sean Hannity would step on every single one of them with work boots then pummel the ones he missed with baseball bats while humming Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA." Granted, choosing a writing by Sean Hannity for a textual analysis was almost like opting to play one-on-one basketball with a midget. I did want the students to see that it could be done. I mentioned in an earlier blog that students had asked for a model Analysis, and I'd feel comfortable using this one as an example. Not only is it the length of their assignment with the same format and structure discussed in the classes, I also use a plethora of citation rituals throughout the essay (summary, block quotes, direct quotes, single-word quotes and paraphrase). +I did not get a chance to use this in the classroom, but I'm definitely interested in doing so. I would like to couple my essay with photocopies of pages from Hannity's book in order to show how the analysis relates to the text. I'd also like to couple the analysis with questions like "am I arguing with him?" and "does the bias show?" I have no idea how to do the margin notes I have seen on some of the drafts floating around the GA office, but it seems good to put those sorts of questions on my draft in the margins. I'd like to show my thesis and Hannity's thesis and show how both are needed but function separately. That was a problem for many of the students. Of course, I'd give them copies of my paper for them to look at later. Overhead transparencies of all of the material would make going over the material quick and smooth to point out how analysis differs from argumentation. Has anyone else done something like this or have some pointers for how it worked out in the classroom?