Third Part: Abbreviating Analysis (Task #3: Abbreviate)

The third and final part of The FAVORS Step-by-Step Process: Abbreviating Plot Summary, Quotes, and Analysis involves removing analysis that does not support the topic sentence, that does not support a quote, and that appears to be off topic in the forms of general rambling, gobbledygook, and/or circumlocution.

Step #1: Highlight the analysis. If you are working from a hardcopy, use a highlighter. If you are working on the computer, then add shading, or bolding, or cut and paste the sentences to a separate Word document. The analysis should represent those lines that are not plot summary, that are not quotes and that are not the topic sentence. Within your paper, the analysis should represent an extended viewpoint of the ideas you are expressing in the body paragraph. We have cut and pasted the quote, the statements that support the quote, and the analysis sentences below.  The analysis sentences are underlined.

“He had come near quietly, and he leaned over the wire fence that protected her flower garden from cattle and dogs, and chickens” (Steinbeck 221). It is evident that the fence that protected the flowers was put there also to protect Elisa. It is also clear to say that the protection from the cattle, dogs, and chickens symbolizes protection from outsiders.  Henry protected Elisa in the same way she protected her flowers. No one could get close or converse with Elisa. At the sound of his voice is when she can start. Everything had become so traditional that she had become accustomed to waiting until he finished his business to start her daily activity. Henry never included her in any of his business. She was best seen and not heard.

Step #2: Validate your assumptions. Any statement you make within your paper represents an assumption until you provide evidence from the primary source to validate the assumption. Therefore, take each sentence one at a time and examine the ideas expressed within the sentence. Ask yourself this one question: Can this statement be found in the text, whether directly or implicitly? Provide an explanation. Provide a solution.

Analysis Sentence #1: It is evident that the fence that protected the flowers was put there also to protect Elisa. 

  • Explanation: Nothing in the story suggests that the fence has been put there to protect Elisa. Here is the quote: “Elisa started at the sound of her husband’s voice. He had come near quietly, and he leaned over the wire fence that protected her flower garden from cattle and dogs and chickens” (Steinbeck 255). The word “evident” means easy or clear to see or understand, obvious. No connection can really be made between the two ideas: 1) that the fence protects the flowers and 2) that the fence also protects Elisa. No connection can be made because we don’t know who erected the fence and placed it around the flower garden. The only thing we know from reading this quote is that the purpose of the fence is to protect the flower garden.
  • Solution: Remove this analysis sentence. Abbreviate.

Analysis Sentence #2: It is also clear to say that the protection from the cattle, dogs, and chickens symbolizes protection from outsiders.

  • Explanation: It is possible to make this assumption without a quote to support it. It is common sense to suggest that the fence is necessary to protect the chrysanthemums from the animals. If Elisa doesn’t use a fence, the animals will mess up her hard work.
  • Solution: Keep this analysis sentence.

Analysis Sentence #3: Henry protected Elisa in the same way she protected her flowers.

  • Explanation: Nothing in the quote or the story suggests that Henry feels a need to protect Elisa. We only read of Elisa concerned about the chrysanthemums.
  • Solution: Remove this analysis sentence. Abbreviate.

Analysis Sentence #4: No one could get close or converse with Elisa.

  • Explanation: This sentence contradicts what actually happens in the story.  We read of Elisa conversing with the stubble-bearded man while Henry and the two men “ride up the pale yellow hillside in search of the steers” (Steinbeck 255).
  • Solution: Remove this analysis sentence. Abbreviate.

Analysis Sentence #5: At the sound of his voice is when she can start.

  • Explanation: Elisa does start at the sound of her husband’s voice, but this assumption is misleading. The use of “when” connotes “condition.” In other words, if Henry doesn’t speak, Elisa can’t start; or Elisa can only start working in her garden when her husband says so. These assumptions and the conditions are misleading. The quote from the story is simple. It reads, “Elisa started at the sound of her husband’s voice” (Steinbeck 255). She didn’t necessarily need Henry’s voice to permit her to start tending the garden. She was already in the process of gardening when Henry approached her.
  • Solution:You have two options.
  • Revise this sentence so that it correlates with the ideas expressed within the narrative. Paraphrase and insert citation information after the sentence.
  • Incorporate the actual quote. This will help to prevent you from misleading the reader.

Analysis Sentence #6: Everything had become so traditional that she had become accustomed to waiting until he finished his business to start her daily activity.

  • Explanation: This sentence contradicts the events in the story. On the first page of the story, Steinbeck presents Elisa as watching Henry talk to the two men in business suits while simultaneously “cutting down the old year’s chrysanthemum stalks with a pair of short and powerful scissors” (254).
  • Solution: Remove this analysis sentence. Abbreviate.

Analysis Sentence #7: Henry never included her in any of his business.

  • Explanation: This sentence is misleading and true at the same time.
  • The true part of this statement centers on how Steinbeck presents the characters. Henry is talking to two men and Elisa is working in her garden.
  • There are two misleading parts. The first misleading part of this statement centers on the student’s assumption that Elisa is not  worthy enough of an individual for Henry to include her in the business transaction between him and the men. The second misleading part centers on the student’s assumption that Elisa and Henry don’t communicate about Henry’s business dealings. This is not true. We read on the second page of the story a dialogue between Henry and Elisa about the former’s business dealing. Here is the dialogue to validate our assumption.

“ ‘Henry, who were those you were talking to?’

‘Why, sure, that’s what I came to tell you. They were from the Western Meat Company. I sold those thirty head of three-year-old steers. Got nearly my own price, too.’ “

  • Solution: Revise the analysis sentence for clarity. Remove misleading parts.

Analysis Sentence #8: She was best seen and not heard.

  • Explanation: Nothing in the narrative suggests that Elisa was best seen and not heard. In addition, this sentence is a cliché. It is too general to be meaningful. In other words, this cliché could mean a different thing to different people in different contexts. This analysis sentence also contradicts the narrative, because Elisa was seen and heard by the visitor.
  • Solution: Remove the analysis sentence. Abbreviate.

Here is a summary of the process:

Table 16: Keep, Revise, Remove Suggestions for Body Paragraphs

Actions Body Paragraph Analysis Sentences
 Keep It is also clear to say that the protection from the cattle, dogs, and chickens symbolizes protection from outsiders.
 Revise At the sound of his voice is when she can start.Henry never included her in any of his business.
 Remove(Abbreviate) It is evident that the fence that protected the flowers was put there also to protect Elisa.Henry protected Elisa in the same way she protected her flowers.Everything had become so traditional that she had become accustomed to waiting until he finished his business to start her daily activity.No one could get close or converse with Elisa.She was best seen and not heard.

Step #3: Keep, Revise, and Remove analysis sentences.

To keep a sentence means that your sentences correlate with the events in the story.

To revise a sentence means that you may have some parts that will be misleading to the reader, but you can easily rectify the problem with a word change, for example.

To remove a sentence means that your sentence is filled with contradictions about events and implications that have no relation to the narrative itself.

Step #4: Remember the changes you need to make. Outline the changes as a to-do list.  Then examine the paragraph after the changes. Here is a recap of the changes.

    1. Remove everything before the topic sentence.
    2. Keep the topic sentence.
    3. Keep the quote that supports a statement directly before the quote.
    4. Keep one of the analysis sentences.
    5. Revise two of the analysis sentences.
    6. Remove five of the analysis sentences.

The following paragraph only reflects the changes not the revision of sentences.

Steinbeck paints a clear picture as to how religiously Elisa tends her garden. She takes off her glove and places her hands down into the soil. She recognizes that her flowers hadn’t completely bloomed. She starts tending her garden at the sound of her husband’s voice. “He had come near quietly, and he leaned over the wire fence that protected her flower garden from cattle and dogs, and chickens” (Steinbeck 221). It is also clear to say that the protection from the cattle, dogs, and chickens symbolizes protection from outsiders. At the sound of his voice is when she can start.  Henry never included her in any of his business.

Step #5: Revise.

    1. Revise for clarity.
    2. Revise for chronology.
    3. Revise for wording and sentence structure. You may have to reposition some wording or some sentences.

Enduring the process of abbreviating the analysis of your paper will help you understand what to keep, remove, and revise. This process will prepare you for revising the rest of the sentences to ensure your paper represents a balanced view of all ideas.

Click here for “Second Part: Abbreviating Quotes.”

Click here for “First Part: Abbreviating Plot Summary.”

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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