Text Analysis Essays

Text Analysis Essays


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Our blog is where we have discussions about the topics and readings in our class. In order to contribute to our blog, you will have to register. It’s free and easy:

• Follow the link to our blog on our BB Learn site. Or click on this link to HUM 2301. • When you see the login display, click on Register (it’s the link in the lower left of the display). • Enter a user name (not your real name, please) and your GatorMail address. Be sure to use only your official

UHD e-mail address. Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo! accounts, etc. are not acceptable. Remember that your GatorMail address is the only way I have of knowing who has contributed to our discussions.

• You will receive a password in your mailbox. Use that to log on.


In order to protect the privacy of students, use a pseudonym rather than your real name. DO NOT choose any name that makes you personally identifiable.


e-cFR 34-668.21(b): Your failure to engage course material or make contact with faculty to adequately explain your absence by the 3rd calendar day of the summer semester or 10th class calendar day of fall/spring semesters will result in your being administratively dropped from this course. Being dropped from this course may affect your enrollment status and/or your financial aid eligibility. For purposes of this course, “engaging course material” means registering for the blog.


Here is some general information that I share with all of my students. Remember that as a student at UHD, you are working in a professional environment that requires effective and efficient written communication. When you communicate with your professor or with your work supervisor, a formal style of writing is in order. For example, the style of writing you use when tweeting or texting someone is not appropriate for university business. Your correspondence should be grammatically correct and precise. Use proper capitalization, punctuation, and the other skills you have acquired in your course work. Be sure to include in your communications all the information your correspondent needs to make decisions. This includes your name, your student ID number, and the name of the class in which you are enrolled.


The purpose of the text analysis is to allow students the opportunity to do the following:

• demonstrate general knowledge of the works on our reading list; • demonstrate an understanding of the cultural milieu in which they appeared; • demonstrate that they have read the works on the reading list; • demonstrate that they have understood the works on the reading list; • demonstrate that they are able to find relevance to our present world from the works to our past.

A week or so prior to when your text analysis is due, I will post on our blog an extract from one of the assigned readings. Your tasks are:

• to identify the work from which the passage was drawn; • to provide an overview of the historical and cultural context in which the work first appeared; • to situate the passage in the context of the work from which it was drawn; • to explain the importance of the passage to the work as a whole, and • to critique the passage.

HUM 2301 Fall 2020 page 4 of 8



These assignments are a sort of hybrid take-home quiz / essay. The more thoroughly you have read the works from the reading list, the more likely you are to write a good text analysis,

Each analysis is in five parts. Make sure you complete all five parts in order. Make sure your reader knows which part is which. Write one paragraph for each task, and make your paragraphs of more or less equal length. The five tasks are:

1. When you identify a passage, assume that your reader is unfamiliar with the work from which it was drawn. Writing “This passage is in Plato’s book” is not sufficient. Plato wrote many books; your reader may not know which one you are referring to. Be sure to briefly review Plato’s life and his work. You may wish to include a few historical facts in order to orient your reader. However, do not include anything that is not relevant to the passage under consideration. And finally, don’t cite a passage merely by referring to a page number. Assume that your reader’s edition of the work is not the same as yours. It is more useful to say “This passage is found in Part I, Chapter 4 of…” or words to that effect.

2. When you discuss the cultural and historical context in which the work was written, keep in mind that there is a reason why the work appeared when it did. Moreover, the work reflects a wide range of beliefs, suppositions, ideas, etc., that were prevalent at a particular time. Identify these as succinctly as possible, in order to give the reader a better understanding of why the work is an important part of our heritage.

You will have to do some research in order to complete this part of the assignment successfully. Be sure that you properly document your sources according to Chicago Manual of Style Guidelines.

3. When you are situating a passage in context, again assume that your reader is unfamiliar with the work (or, at least, that he has not read it recently). Provide a little background on the work. Discuss the overall structure of the work. Discuss the action or the arguments leading up to the passage you are analyzing as well as what is said immediately afterward. One paragraph should suffice.

4. Similarly, when you are explaining the importance of the passage to the work as a whole, bear in mind that your professor did not choose the various passages at random. Rather, they were chosen because they occur at critical junctures in the work’s dénouement, or because they are good examples of the style of prose for which the author is well-known, or because they aptly summarize one or more important arguments the author is trying to make, or because they incite debate over the author’s intentions, or whatever. Explain to your reader exactly what it is about the passage that makes it stand out.

5. Your fifth task–critiquing a passage and a work–is the most important part of the assignment. Your analysis is to be a serious, sober, reasoned, insightful and dispassionate analysis of a work’s importance. Abject flattery, self-righteous diatribes, polemics, or other vituperation will be out of place. Avoid personal pronouns like I, me, or you in your analysis. Instead of writing “I think that Darwin’s objective is to…” write ” Darwin’s objective is to…” Since this is the most important part of your analysis, make sure that you have left yourself enough space to complete the task at hand. Be as succinct as possible in writing parts one, two, three and four.


I will include corrective feedback on the text analyses I return to you. That feedback is required reading. Be sure to take that feedback into account and make all necessary modifications to your writing on all subsequent assignments.


You will use your Blackboard Learn account to submit papers. Do not send any assignment via e-mail. E-mail messages with assignments or attachments will be deleted without being read. You may submit papers in any of the following formats:

.doc (MS Word)

.docx (MS Office 2007)

.odt (OpenOffice, LibreOffice)

.rtf (Rich Text Format, recommended for Mac users)

HUM 2301 Fall 2020 page 5 of 8

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