Independent Reading The lens paper requires that you find a strong quote (not from the book) and use it to analyze your novel. I have a long list of quotes available under Class Documents as well. Writing the Critical Lens Essay Revised from the New York State English Regents Exam: Session II, Part B (Task 4) Example Critical Lens: “The real hero is always a hero by mistake…” --Umberto Eco Travels in Hyperreality, 1986 Critical Lens—Your Guidelines Provide a valid interpretation of the quote Clearly establish criteria for analysis Indicate whether you agree or disagree Identify how the novel fits the ideas/thematic connection AVOID PLOT SUMMARY Use specific and appropriate literary elements for analysis Organize your ideas clearly Specify titles, authors and details Introduction Introduce and state the quote Interpret the quote fully and in your own words—what does this quote mean? Show agreement or disagreement (no need to use the word I…avoid all personal pronouns) State thesis or stance (you will use all support to prove this statement) Introduction (example) Umberto Eco once said, “The real hero is always a hero by mistake.” This means that sometimes people or characters are faced with tough choices that are unexpected. In these times of tough choices, heroes can arise. This quote is shown to be true through the novel, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, because George is forced into difficult situations where he ultimately has to make “heroic” choices which ultimately leads the reader to a deeper understanding that a hero is the one who makes the difficult choice in an impossible situation. Body Paragraphs Include a topic sentence to introduce the first main point Transition and include your literary element (may be multiple sentences) Provide specific evidence (example does not show use of great evidence). Connect back to the lens through commentary (may be multiple sentences) Concluding sentence. Body Paragraph 2 (example) At the end of Of Mice and Men, George is forced to make one last difficult, yet heroic decision, that demonstrates his understanding of friendship and the impossible situation: Lennie killing Curley’s wife. George feels a heavy responsibility when he realizes the what Lennie has done unintentionally. So when all the men from the ranch are out for revenge, George has to think quickly, and make the hardest decision of his life: he acts in Lennie’s best interest by making sure that Lennie’s last breath is taken with words and thoughts that are uplifting and optimistic. By sparing him the unnecessary guilt, fear and pain that would have been forced upon Lennie had the mob of men caught up to him, George is, ironically, committing a heroic act by being the one to end Lennie’s life. This situation gives an excellent example of how heroes can emerge from unexpected and even horrendous situations. Conclusion Wrap up Tie main ideas back to the lens and your thesis Conclusion strategy Conclusion (example) Heroes truly come from accidental situations where characters have been able to rise to an unfortunate occasion. In unpredictable times, George from Of Mice and was able to do what was right despite a devastating circumstance. By doing the right thing even when it was difficult, he was able to become a hero in one way or another. This proves that true heroes can make difficult choices and rise up even when they don’t necessarily mean to. It is through this lesson that readers should be able to understand that it’s not a cape and superpowers that make someone heroic; it’s doing the hard thing, at the right time without looking for recognition that makes one a true hero.