Task #3: Abbreviate

Abbreviate

“Abbreviate” falls under the Analysis Acronym (Revision) category.

Remove plot summaries and extended explanations that will distract the reader. Below is a sample excerpt where the student provides more plot summary and little or no analysis.

Sample Excerpt

Steinbeck shows Elisa startled by her own whisper; she ran back into the house and prepared for Henry’s arrival and their departure into town. In this part of the narrative, Elisa is exhaustively making preparations. After her shower, “she puts on her newest under-clothing and her nicest stockings and the dress which was the symbol of her prettiness. She worked carefully on her hair, penciled her eyebrows and roughed her lips” (Steinbeck 226). Before, as stated earlier, Steinbeck shows Elisa as representing a man through her attire. Now the dress symbolizes, as the author states, her prettiness; or the more appealing, attractive part of Elisa. Henry comes in and comments on how nice she looks. She questions his motive and he returns dumbfounded. He comments again on how strong she looks and she replies, “I am strong? Yes, strong . . . I never knew before how strong . . .” (Steinbeck 226). It is clear that even though she concludes that she is strong, she still doesn’t feel it because she had to question first and answer later.

Figure 77: Essay Excerpt on “Chrysanthemums” (Plot Summary Critique)

Problem

The student provides ample plot summary, but little to no analysis.

Questions

1) What is the context of the whisper?

2) Why does Steinbeck present so much detail about Elisa as she prepares for her husband’s arrival?

3) What is the difference between Steinbeck’s presentation of Elisa at the beginning and the presentation the reader now experiences of her?

4) Does the dress only symbolize prettiness or indicate the separation of gender roles within the context of the literary work?

5) Elisa likes comments. Why? Think about two contexts: the visitor’s comments and Henry’s.

Suggestions

To create analysis, you must provide answers to questions you generate while evaluating and developing a revision plan for your paper.

Explanation

Parts within the above sample excerpt represent plot summary.  Although the quotes fulfill a greater part of the student’s summary, let’s remove the quotes to better illustrate this point. I have bolded the quotes in Figure 78. The part (or parts) that represents analysis is underlined.

Figure 78: Removing Quotes Exercise

Steinbeck shows Elisa startled by her own whisper; she ran back into the house and prepared for Henry’s arrival and their departure into town. In this part of the narrative, Elisa is exhaustively making preparations. After her shower, “she puts on her newest under-clothing and her nicest stockings and the dress which was the symbol of her prettiness.  She worked carefully on her hair, penciled her eyebrows and roughed her lips” (Steinbeck 226). Before, as stated earlier, Steinbeck shows Elisa as representing a man through her attire. Now the dress symbolizes, as the author states, her prettiness; or the more appealing, attractive part of Elisa. Henry comes in and comments on how nice she looks. She questions his motive and he returns dumbfounded.  He comments again on how strong she looks and she replies, “I am strong?  Yes, strong . . . I never knew before how strong . . .” (Steinbeck 226). It is clear that even though she concludes that she is strong, she still doesn’t feel it because she had to question first and answer later.

There are a total of nine sentences, including the quotes.

1) There are two quotes.

2) There are two sentences that represent analysis.

3) There are five sentences that represent plot summary.

Why is it important to examine the body paragraph in this way? This process is important to the revision process. Professors write “be specific,” “explain,” and “much more could be said here” in abundance and without fail. However, these same professors don’t highlight those portions of your essay that need elaboration or more detail. They just write in the margins “be more specific.” Consider the following steps as you determine the areas of your body paragraph that require removal.

To abbreviate, or remove, quotes as a revision objective, follow The FAVORS Step-by-Step Process: Abbreviating Plot Summary, Quotes, and Analysis, which is a three-part process you can use while revising parts that become unnecessary within your analysis.

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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