Today's Lesson: The Literary Essay.
These are just a couple of examples how my bookshelves look like at home. I have got hundreds of books, and of course, I shall take them everywhere I may go, even overseas...
Well, today's lesson is about The Literary Essay which is taken from my old teacher's notebooks.
THE LITERARY ESSAY.
You should, at this stage, be reading as widely as possible both for general interest and to increase your vocabulary. At the same time, whether you are preparing for an examination or not, it is wise to devote particular attention to a small selection of book as the writing of literary essays presupposes a detailed knowledge of certain texts. You will be reading classics, modern novels, popular stories, fiction tales, plays and non-fiction, and so on.
In order to be able to write literary essays you must know the contents of the books you are studying very well indeed. As it may not always be possible to read a book twice, it is advisable to keep a record of what you read. A well-arranged summary will enable you to revise the contents of a whole book in a matter of minutes.
The best way to keep a record of a book is to make a page by page summary in note form.
This sort of summary tells you all you need to know and the page references enable you to look up any incident in the story which you may have forgotten. When you have finished making out your summary you are ready to begin essay writing.
The literary essays you will be writing will be narrative and descriptive, but unlike general essays, these will be based entirely on the books you have studied.
You may be required to reproduce in your own words any particular part of the story or to write a brief description of one or more characters.
All the information given in your essay about characters and events should be accurate.
It is not necessary to learn passages by heart in order to be able to quote.
REPRODUCING PART OF THE STORY.
If you are asked to re-tell part of the story in your own words, take great care to relate events in the order in which they occurred.
Questions which require you to give an account of a person's character are, on the whole, more difficult than those which ask you to reproduce a scene.
The characters in a story can be divided into two groups: the people who play a leading role, a leading part (these are called major characters) and those who play a small role, a small part (minor characters).
The best way to write an account of a person's character is to note down abstract qualities which he or she possesses and then to illustrate them by referring to events from the book. The sort of qualities you should look for are: courage, cowardice, generosity, meanness, kindness, cruelty, understanding, initiative, wickedness, stupidity, cunning, etc.
If you are asked to give an account of the part played by a certain person, you should begin with a brief and very general description of his or her character. Then, you should go on to relate the main things the person did, illustrating your answer from your knowledge of the story.
Never attempt to answer a literary question without first making out a PLAN.
An example of a short passage that I had to re-tell by heart -in my old days at College- will follow as a new post tomorrow. You will be able to understand how hard it must have been to learn 20 or more passages by heart without making mistakes. Then, you will PASS the EXAM.
Thank you in advance for reading MY LESSONS!!