Generally, the lens should reveal something about the original or “focus” text that may not be otherwise apparent. Alternatively, your analysis may call the validity of the arguments of the lens piece into question, extend the arguments of the lens text, or provoke some other reevaluation of the two texts. Either way, you will be generating a critical “dialogue between texts.”Reading the Texts:
Reading the Texts:First, read the lens text to identify the author’s core arguments and vocabulary. (We have been doing this in the discussion boards)It is helpful to develop an outline of the author’s primary points. (Brainstorm) In the lens essay, you will concentrate on the central ideas/themes of the lens text, rather than dealing with isolated quotes. As such, it’s important to make sure you truly understand and can articulate the author’s main points before proceeding to the focus texts.Next, quickly read the lens text to develop a general idea of its content. Then, ask yourself as you look at the focus texts: Where do I see general points of agreement or disagreement between the texts?Which of the lens text’s main arguments could be applied to the target text (Similarities)?It may be easier to focus on one or two of the lens text’s central arguments. What are the main components of the lens that you also see in the focus text(s)?Are there instances where the lens text’s arguments do not agree?Why is this? It is helpful to keep a careful, written record of page numbers, quotes, and your thoughts and reactions as you read. Outlining the Essay:Since this type of paper deals with a complex synthesis of multiple sources, it is especially important to have a clear plan of action before you begin writing. It may help to group quotes or events by subject matter, by theme, or by whether they support, contradict, or otherwise modify the arguments in the lens text. Hopefully, common themes, ideas, and arguments will begin to emerge, and you can start drafting!Writing the Introduction and Thesis:As your paper concerns the complex interactions between multiple texts, it is important to explain what you will be doing the introduction. Make sure to clearly introduce the lens text and its specific arguments you will be employing or evaluating. Then introduce the target text(s) and its specific themes or events you will be addressing in your analysis. These introductions of texts and themes should lead into some kind of thesis statement. Make sure it states the points of interaction you will be discussing and explains what your critical analysis of the target text reveals about the texts.Writing the Body:The body is where you apply specific arguments from the lens text to specific quotes or instances in the target texts. (this can be in relationship to one or both of your target textsTopic Sentence: In each case, make sure to discuss what the lens text reveals about the target text (or vice versa). Use the lens text’s themes/topics to examine the focus text(s), but make sure to be clear about where ideas in the paper are coming from (the lens text, the focus text, your own interpretation etc.) so the reader doesn’t become confused.Quote from the Lens Text:Explain the relevance of the quote to the topic sentence Transition phrase (see handouts under Files/General Writing)Quote from the Focus Text(s) What are the similarities/differences in the stances taken – detailed discussion – conversation between the texts
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