Second Major Assignment: Analysis Essay

Second Major Assignment: Analysis Essay
When you analyze something, you break it down into its parts. It is by examining how it
functions that you truly come to understand a thing, because you have to draw
conclusions and to interpret your findings.
When you analyze a poem, for example, you do not explain to someone what the poem
means—that is probably an impossibility. However, you can analyze how the poem is
structured, and you can therefore interpret its parts and describe how it functions and
interpret its possible meaning.
In the same way, you can look at an advertisment. You can break it down into its parts—
its composition, its contents, its colors, the ways in which it appeals to its audience, its
intent—and you can describe how it functions, and interpret its possible impact.
A work of art can be analyzed in precisely the same way.
A historical event can be examined within the context of its times, in terms of its key
players, or in light of the prevailing attitudes of the moment.
Individuals are open to analysis, psychological or otherwise. Business practices,
religions, Web sites, architecture, animal behavior, works of literature, medical or
surgical practices, political parties or candidates, policies, personal motives—all are open
to analysis.
Your task, for this assignment, is as follows:
Choose an object, event, principle, idea, theory, person, organization, work of art,
advertisement, or literary work that fascinates you. Analyze it (i.e., break it down into
its parts and look at it closely), then after careful scrutiny, make inferences about what
you have discovered. Interpret your findings and draw specific conclusions where
For more detailed information, allow your interests to guide you in your reading from
among the following:
Chapter 9: Development by Causal Analysis, p. 263.
Chapter 10: Analyzing Advertisements, p. 299.
Chapter 16: Writing About Literature, p. 437.
Chapter 17: Writing About Visual Arts, p. 467.
Chapter 18: Writing About Film, p. 487.
You may also consult the class Web site at, where you will find
supplemental readings suitable for analysis, and a link to a truly remarkable virtual art
General Outline for an Analytical Essay:
Introduce whatever is under analysis.
Identify, specifically, the parts to be analyzed.
Make a claim if you are able to do so.
Paragraph 1
Discuss part one.
Paragraph 2
Discuss part two.
Paragraph 3
Discuss part three.
Paragraph 4
Interpret your discoveries.
Based on your discoveries and interpretation of the findings,
state your conclusion(s).