Annotating to Analyze
This is a very involved assignment. You will make many annotations. Depending on the size of the paragraph, there could be ten-fifteen annotations for it. A lot of students do ten-fifteen for the entire text before they begin to understand the true scope of this assignment. Don’t do that. This is a 100 point assignment, worth more than any other assignment in the “assignment” category besides first drafts. That and the fact that the annotation is the only assignment this week should clue you in to the amount of work I am looking for here.
For each annotation that you make, you should categorize it by writing the category it fits into before you provide the annotation. Below you will find the types of annotations that I am looking for and the title of the category that the type of annotation will fit into:
1. Googling things you don’t know or only partially know: vocabulary words, historical people, places, events, etc. VOCAB
2. Literary elements that we have covered so far. You will label this type depending on the element that you are identifying. For example: Characterization, Third-Person Point of View, Objective Point of View, Antagonist, Protagonist, Setting (Time), Setting (place), Setting (Social), etc. Basically any bold word that has been in the chapters that we have covered so far can be a category heading.
3. Interesting aspects of the story that stick out to you. Gen. for “general”
4. Recording questions, answers to those questions, repetitions (mirroring, in other words, the repetition of a certain word or phrase or situation that you notice. For instance, if one character breaks a glass and another character does the same thing later, or maybe they break a plate or a pencil; that could be something important, something the author is pointing to, an aspect of characterization or plot. Maybe the author continually uses words that have to do with colors when they speak about a certain character, anything at all that you happen to notice.) Literary authors spend a lot of time carefully crafting these stories. The reason that they are considered great works of literature is because they constantly expand into new and interesting versions of themselves as you spend more time and focus on them. By the time the annotation is done, hopefully, you will have many new understandings of the story. Imp. for “important”
You can also mix categories. You may look something up and provide the definition in an annotation and then decide that it is also an important element. Perhaps you look up a place you have never heard of, and then you figure out it is actually a very important use of setting by the author. Then, you will need to make a seperate annotation for the same word but from a different category. Also, you can make one annotation have two catefories. Perhaps you notice that an element that you point out is also a repetition, so you could label the annotation both imp. and setting for example.
Before you begin, you should get a sheet of paper and copy all of the bolded words from the chapters we have covered so far so that you have them available while you are annotating instead of just trying to use your memory. I know that you understand many of the bolded words we haven’t covered yet, like symbols, themes, etc., but I want you to stick only to the bolded words that we have used so far. You will find that you can get plenty of annotations with just these. The reason for this is that your thesis will be just like the thesis statements that we have been using for our discussion boards, which have all been isolated so far to the bolded words from the chapters that we have covered. Your first paper will also be isolated to analysis with just these bolded words. Also, just like with the discussion boards, you will only use one element in your narrowed topic for your paper. You may mention other elements that you find important in the story, but they should be in reference to the element in your narrowed topic. Everything in your paper will be focused on how that element was used in the story. The controlling idea is what you are trying to prove. So, if you are looking at a specific character and how that character was characterized as a dynamic character, you should make a claim about how this was accomplished. For instance, say that I did an annotation of “The Ice Palace” by Fitzgerald and I realized that the protagonist was a dynamic character and the dynamic change that the character goes through has to do with how the change in settings lead to an epiphany; I would focus on evidence that backed that up. I would look to all of the quotes that I found that exemplify this idea. Therefore, I would not end up using all of the analysis that I did with my annotation.
However, all of this analysis is still very important. What I am saying is that you are not annotating to fit a claim. You are annotating to lead to a claim. For instance, if you are a detective, you do not make a conclusion about the crime scene and then investigate the crime scene only for the aspects of it that fit your conclusion. You analyze every bit of the crime scene, and, then, armed with all of that information, you make a specific claim and only then begin to sift through the evidence for the evidence you need to prove your claim. This is a fact finding mission, not a fact arranging mission. You will begin to arrange facts when the prewriting begins. However, this is still a sort of prewriting activity. It’s just that it is a generalized one that is forcing you to analyze all of the evidence you can find, which will prepare you for a more specific prewriting assignment. It is more akin to brainstorming than outlining or drafting.
Annotating to Analyze