Archive for category Analysis Acronym (Revision)

Table 25: Outline of Roles for the Thesis (The FAVORS Definition of Thesis Exercise)

Table 25 falls under the comment “Analysis” and “The FAVORS Step-by-Step Squaring Process.”

You may access the table by clicking on the “Analysis (Glossary Comment)” and “Case Studies” categories or by typing “Task #7: Integrate” into the search box.

You may click the link to access the full discussion.

Table 25: Outline of Roles for the Thesis (The FAVORS Definition of Thesis Exercise) 

Officer Role 
Captain of the Thesis Gives instructions to the lieutenant commander of body paragraphs
Lieutenant Commander of Body Paragraphs Gives instructions to the first lieutenant of topic sentences to develop topic sentences that will support the thesis
First Lieutenant of Topic Sentences Gives instructions to the second lieutenant of examples, descriptions, definitions, explanations, and evaluations to create supporting evidence for each topic sentence to support the thesis
Second Lieutenant of examples, descriptions, definitions, explanations, and evaluations Gives instructions to the other noncommissioned officers of supporting evidence to support the evidence
Other Noncommissioned Officers of supporting evidence Gives instructions to the petty officer of transition statements to end each body paragraph, prepare for the next body paragraph, and prepare to desist all activities
Petty Officer Gives instructions to the enlisted men of revision support to confirm and check the accuracy of each instruction that supports the thesis (order)
Enlisted Men of Revision Support Confirm and check for accuracy of each instruction that integrates and supports the thesis (order)

Murphy’s illustration of the command structure represents a way in which the initial order (the vision) trickles down the military command chain as individual mission objectives for different parts (people) of the whole group. Each person has an instruction (mission) from the initial vision objective and is responsible for his or her job, which is to achieve the mission successfully.

All throughout Murphy’s illustration, the order is integrated from one person and divided into different parts. Although the command order may be different for different groups who are a part of the same platoon, the order doesn’t represent a deviation from the initial vision objective.  The order is integrated at every level.

The same is true for the example table I have provided above. The thesis (order) starts with the student and is integrated within the body paragraphs, topic sentences, examples, explanations, evaluations, and other supporting evidence. In essence, no paragraph should deviate from the path the thesis has set. Whichever method the student chooses for the thesis, every subsequent paragraph must consistently adhere to the mission and objective of the thesis.

See The FAVORS Definition of Thesis (Task #7: Integrate) for more information.

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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Task #8: Sand

Sand

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

In reference to revising your analysis, sanding refers to making sure that all sentences within your paper are grammatically correct. There are some common grammatical mistakes that students make. When evaluating and revising your essays, check first for the following:

Comma Splices

Fragments

Run-ons

Parallelism

Dangling Modifiers

Misplaced Modifiers

Verb Tense Shifts

Subject-Verb Disagreement

Capitalization

Spelling

For more information about these concepts, consult your course grammar and writing handbook.

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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Task #7: Integrate

Integrate

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

Integrate the thesis throughout the paper.

To best understand how to integrate your ideas within the paper, let’s deviate from the student essay and include an excerpt from James D. Murphy’s book titled Business is Combat:  A Fighter Pilot’s Guide to Winning in Modern Business Warfare.

Murphy discusses how the vision from a commanding officer must be divided into manageable parts in the section entitled “Command Structure: The Vision is not the Mission.”

A vision does not produce actionable results until it has been divided into individual missions.  Here is an excerpt from the book. The excerpt is subject to U.S. copyright and is displayed here for “educational purposes.” 

Figure 86: Sample Excerpt from James D. Murphy’s Business Text (Whole Form)

As a fighter pilot, I care very much about the overall objectives laid out by the general officers of the United States Air Force. . . . But I don’t operate in a generalized world.  My world is very specific.  I’m an F-15 air superiority fighter pilot.  I don’t drop bombs.  I don’t have a thirty-millimeter tank-killing gun like the A-10. . . . I do one thing well, and that’s provide air cover for ingressing bombers by taking out airborne threats.  I do not operate under the same rules as an F-117 Stealth pilot, or an F-16 pilot.My mission objective is very specific, tied totally to my individual capability and my training.As such, it’s imperative that the mission I’m assigned is specific and precise, not vague or general.  Imagine if I went up in the air with only the following orders:  ‘Murphy, your objective is to kick Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait.  Good luck—let’s go kick some ass.’  It’s okay for Norman Schwarzkopf to say that; in fact, that’s what he’s supposed to say.

His job is to establish an overall objective for the troops, and to do it in such a way that all participants understand it and get behind it.  He probably doesn’t even know how I do what I do.  But he doesn’t need to know.  He simply needs to lay out a straightforward overall objective that can be divided into manageable parts that, when activated, will lead inexorably to the achievement of his objective.How does this happen?

The military command structure underneath Schwarzkopf has to take his general vision and push it down through the ranks and into the cockpits, subs, and trenches—where it is presented not as a vision, but as a mission.

Directly underneath Schwarzkopf, the brigadier generals break the vision down into its individual parts—the Army does this, the Air Force does that, and so on.  Next, the commanding generals evaluate their individual assets and create an overall operations plan.  This called the frag, short for fragmentary order, the overall battle plan broken down into the relevant parts.  The bombers, fighters, and ground forces are all commanded to converge on a certain target at a certain time and in a certain sequence.

One level down, other officers convert the frag into even smaller parts.  The 1st Fighter Wing and its F-15s do this; the F-117 guys from Holliman do that.  The KC-10s will be waiting to give gas here, the A-10s will attack tanks there.

Yet another level down, wing commanders divide the frag again.  For example, they might decide that twelve F-15s will be responsible for providing air cover over a specific piece of ground, so that thirty-six bombers can come in under them and pound enemy targets that our ground troops will then secure.

With the group objective stated for the F-15s, the individual flight leaders, who might be young captains or lieutenants, will look at the airspace they need to sanitize and organize the F-15s with altitude blocks and lanes of responsibility so that we can absolutely, positively do our job—which is to make certain no one hops on the tails of the bombers.

At this point Schwarzkopf’s vision has become a mission for me, the individual pilot.  I don’t set my sights on something as personally unattainable as kicking Iraqis out of Kuwait, but I am ready to give my life to protect an important lane of airspace with my F-15.  I’m ready to give my life in the execution of a clear, measurable, attainable mission that supports the overall vision of my commander. . . .

How often do companies ask their employees to execute their jobs under the banner of a ‘mission statement’ or a generalized corporate goal?  A mission statement is fine, but like an overall objective, it isn’t specific enough to lead anybody anywhere.  Mission statements aren’t marching orders.  They sound good, they make sense, but they have zero effect until the organization breaks them down into finer and finer pieces, from rank to rank, presented clearly to each and every employee as a specific task with a measurable outcome that is his and his alone to perform. . . .

Like the Air Force, your company should use its command structure to filter a general vision down to the level of the individual employee.  And it shouldn’t be a great leap from the general vision to the individual missions, either.  There should be a logical, sequential breakdown of the vision, so that each group can responsibly accomplish its human-scale goals.

Source:  Business is Combat by James D. Murphy, pages 42-25

Before I get into a discussion of how this excerpt relates to integration, let’s outline Murphy’s structure first.  All we need are key points he makes about how the vision needs to be broken down into manageable parts.  We don’t need to summarize his words.  The exact wording suffices.

Outline Form

1) “Directly underneath Schwarzkopf, the brigadier generals break the vision down into its individual parts—the Army does this, the Air Force does that, and so on.”

2) “Next, the commanding generals evaluate their individual assets and create an overall operations plan. This called the frag, short for fragmentary order, the overall battle plan broken down into the relevant parts.”

3) “The bombers, fighters, and ground forces are all commanded to converge on a certain target at a certain time and in a certain sequence.”

4) “One level down, other officers convert the frag into even smaller parts.”

  • “The 1st Fighter Wing and its F-15s do this;”
  • “the F-117 guys from Holliman do that.”
  • “The KC-10s will be waiting to give gas here,”
  • “the A-10s will attack tanks there.”

5) “Yet another level down, wing commanders divide the frag again.”

  • “For example, they might decide that twelve F-15s will be responsible for providing air cover over a specific piece of ground, “
  • “so that thirty-six bombers can come in under them and pound enemy targets”
  • “that our ground troops will then secure.”

6) “With the group objective stated for the F-15s, the individual flight leaders, who might be young captains or lieutenants, will look at the airspace they need to sanitize”

  • “and organize the F-15s with altitude blocks and lanes of responsibility”
  • “so that we can absolutely, positively do our job—which is to make certain no one hops on the tails of the bombers.”

7) “At this point Schwarzkopf’s vision has become a mission for me, the individual pilot.”

  • “I’m ready to give my life in the execution of a clear, measurable, attainable mission that supports the overall vision of my commander. . . .”

I chose to present the excerpt as a whole and in parts (outline) so you can examine the whole; and afterward the different parts each individual has to assume.

Whole Form: The excerpt in whole form represents symbolically a typical vision; this is how a vision statement looks (or a typical mission statement). It hasn’t been broken down. It isn’t measurable. There aren’t any instructions.

Outline Form: On the other hand, the same excerpt in outline form represents symbolically how the whole has been divided into individual, measurable parts. You could take each idea represented by a bullet point and give the idea as an instruction to the person responsible for a particular job. Now the vision has become measurable. The instructions will ensure a measurable result.

I know you’re thinking, “How does this excerpt relate to integration? How does this excerpt relate to how you need to ensure that you integrate your thesis throughout the essay?”

Before we can answer these questions, let’s review our definition of what “thesis” means.

Click here for “The FAVORS Definition of Thesis (Task #7: Integrate).”

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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Task #6: Sample

Sample

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

Take a quote and examine it against your own statement or the whole body paragraph to ensure that your statement complements the quote. Let’s bring forward an example from the student essay.

Figure 85: Essay Excerpt on “Chrysanthemums” (Sampling Body Paragraph Exercise)

Steinbeck presents Elisa as inquisitive and strong-minded when it comes to thoughts, but fails on her actions.  Elisa questions the visitor as to whether or not he sleeps in the wagon; she tells him that it must be nice and wishes that women could do such things.  He replies that it isn’t the kind of place for a woman.  On the defensive, she questions his knowledge on his stated opinion.  He responds in protest that he doesn’t know and hands over the saucepans hurriedly.  He didn’t want to argue with her.  Elisa paid him for his time and replied, “You might be surprised to have a rival . . . I can sharpen scissors . . . I can beat the dents . . . I can show you what a woman might do” (Steinbeck 225).  Instead of say what a woman can do, she said might.  The whole objective of the visitor was to get what he wanted and be on his way.  He never concerned himself with the chrysanthemums.  It was apparent, because when he gathered up his things to leave, he had forgotten about the chrysanthemums; and Elisa failed to notice.  She was so preoccupied with the compliments made to her about her flowers she played into his deception.  As he left, she mumbled aloud, “That’s a bright direction.  There’s a glowing there”(Steinbeck 226).

Step #1: Highlight the quotes. Apply shading by using a highlighter; if you are working in Word, use shading or bolding.

Step #2: Underline the statements. Underline the statements before and after the quote. Underline only those statements that have a direct relationship to the quote.

Step #3: Mirror the quote and the statement. If you are working in Word, cut and paste the quote and the statement(s) into a separate Word document. If you are working from a hardcopy, make sure the paragraph you are working on is free from any correction marks from a previous activity. You may want to print out a new copy of the page with the paragraph. Let’s bring forward the example.

Table 24: Sentence/Quote/Follow-Up Explanation Comparisons (Sampling Body Paragraph Exercise) 

 Prep Statement
Elisa questions the visitor as to whether or not he sleeps in the wagon; she tells him that it must be nice and wishes that women could do such things.  He replies that it isn’t the kind of place for a woman.
 Quote Elisa paid him for his time and replied, 1 “You might be surprised to have a rival . . . 2 I can sharpen scissors . . . 3 I can beat the dents . . . 4 I can show you what a woman might do”(Steinbeck 225).
 Follow-up explanation Instead of say what a woman can do, she said 1 might.

Step #4: Number the parts.

  • Number the part(s) of the quote first.
  • Number the part(s) of the statement(s) before the quote.
  • Number the part(s) of the statement(s) after the quote (follow-up explanation).

Step #5: Outline the parts of the quote. List the parts.

  • “You might be surprised to have a rival.”
  • “I can sharpen scissors.”
  • “I can beat the dents.”
  • “I can show you what a woman might do.”

Step #6:  Choose an option.

Option #1: Revising the statement(s). Keep the quote and revise any statement(s) that does not have the same parts as the quote. How and where you incorporate the quote is important, but how you support the quote is a skill that many still lack. People typically only support the ideas they perceive are important in the quote, failing to consider the quote as a whole with different meanings and parts.                                                       

  • Use the quote as your guide and number the parts of your statement(s).
  • Square the statements with the quote.

Option #2: Deleting the statement(s). Keep the quote and delete any statement(s) that does not sufficiently support the quote. This includes deleting either the prep statement or the follow-up explanation or both. Statements that do not support the quote become the greatest stumbling blocks to the reader. They are distracting. Therefore, search specifically for statements that will hinder learning.

Option #3: Deleting the quote. This is rare, but it is possible that the quote doesn’t fit. Don’t make something fit that doesn’t have any relation at all to the ideas expressed within your statements.

Option #4: Deleting the statements. This is not rare. Oftentimes, there is nothing wrong with the quote. Sometimes the quote functions well without the prep statement, for example. Each case is different.

Option #5: Deleting both the quote and the statements. If you discover that both the quote and the statements do not fit within your discussion, then you must garner up the courage to delete them both. Never depend on a quote so much to the point that you feel loss without it. The quote is your tool, not the other way around. You determine if a quote will be viable to your discussion or not. Get in the habit of deleting quotes, statements and sometimes whole paragraphs, when necessary.

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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Analysis Acronym (Revision)

The Analysis Acronym (Revision) represents the following:

A: Account

N: Number

A: Abbreviate

L: Level

Y: Yank

S: Sample

I: Integrate

S: Sand

The acronym falls under particular tasks designed to help you revise areas of your essay. The tasks include the following:

Task #1: Account

Account for discrepancies and contradictions.

Task #2: Number

Number the events in the story. Within a single paragraph, make certain to present the events chronologically within your paper.

Task #3: Abbreviate

Remove plot summaries and extended explanations that distract the reader.

Task #4: Level

Balance viewpoints. Match the cause to the effect.  Present the pro and the con.

Task #5: Yank

Yank irrelevant data and support. These are statements that have no connection to the ideas within the essay.

Task #6: Sample

Take a quote and examine it against your own statement to ensure that your statement complements the quote.

Task #7: Integrate

Integrate the thesis throughout the paper.

Task #8: Sand

Correct grammar. Correct these particular issues: frag, ro, cs, //, mm, dm, shift, lc, cap*

Click here to print The FAVORS Analysis Checklist (Table 12).

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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Task #5: Yank

Yank

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

Yank irrelevant and relevant supporting evidence. There are two types of supporting evidence that require yanking.

  • Irrelevant Supporting Evidence: These are statements and quotes that do not match the ideas expressed within the paragraph or topic sentence or the thesis. This is the type of information that has no relevance at all.
  • Relevant Supporting Evidence: These are statements and quotes that do match the ideas expressed within the paragraph or topic sentence or the thesis. This is the type of information that has relevance, but is unnecessary. The rest of the paragraph or the ideas can function sufficiently well without it, but the information doesn’t hinder learning.

Yanking is revision on a higher scale. Yanking is extreme. With revision, you hope to keep parts; and sometimes you keep parts even if they are not working well within a paragraph. However, with yanking, you can look at a sentence and reason that it shouldn’t be there or you can look at a sentence and reason that although the statement is helpful, it is unnecessary to the rest of the ideas in the paragraph.

In other words, the reader will not die if he or she doesn’t know this piece of information. You can lose a reader when a paragraph is flooded with conflicting information, distracting summaries or quotes that don’t support a topic sentence, analyses that deviate from the path of the thesis, or other information that serves no real purpose.

Let’s bring in some examples to illustrate this process. The first example, from the student essay on “Chrysanthemums,” should be familiar to you.

Figure 84: Essay Excerpt on “Chrysanthemums” (Yanking Supporting Evidence Exercise) 

Elisa continues to glance down at the tractor shed where the men where.  There is an anxiousness in Elisa.  Her “face was eager . . . mature . . . handsome; even her work with the scissors was over-eager, over-powerful.  The chrysanthemum stems seemed too small and easy for her energy” (Steinbeck 221).  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 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.

Previous Determinations Associated with This Paragraph

Topic Sentence: We determined in an earlier process that the topic sentence for this paragraph was the following: Steinbeck paints a clear picture as to how religiously Elisa tends her garden.

Quote: Throughout the process, we determined that the following quote supported a statement directly before it: “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).

Supporting Evidence: We also determined that the following sentences had to be completely removed, or abbreviated.

  • Sentence #1: It is evident that the fence that protected the flowers was put there also to protect Elisa.
  • Sentence #2: Henry protected Elisa in the same way she protected her flowers. 
  • Sentence #3: No one could get close or converse with Elisa.
  • Sentence #4: Everything had become so traditional that she had become accustomed to waiting until he finished his business to start her daily activity.
  • Sentence #5: She was best seen and not heard.

Topic Sentence Setup: Last, we determined that everything before the topic sentence could easily be removed.

What we did above is not yanking. These previous exercises represent the revision process. This is copyediting at its best. On the other hand, yanking requires courage. First, to determine if supporting evidence is irrelevant or relevant, we must use the thesis as a tool, as an instrument to measure ideas expressed within the body paragraphs.

Second, even if the thesis is weak and contradictory, most of what we write and read in the body paragraphs must still have some connection to the thesis. Therefore, let’s bring forward the thesis and the first body paragraph of the essay to determine if we need to yank the body paragraph.

Table 23: Thesis-Body Paragraph Comparisons (Yanking Theses Exercise)

 Thesis 1 She is presented as weak in that her daily activity consisted of tending her garden of chrysanthemums; Steinbeck focuses on how they provide insight into Elisa and how she relates to them, religiously. 2 He implies that even though she fits a weak character, there are places in the narrative at the beginning that suggest some strong points and her longing towards the end. 3 There are a number of inferences that Steinbeck clearly illustrates how she is presented as weak and should therefore be discussed.
 1st Body Paragraph The narrative starts out with Elisa working in her flower garden. She looks down across the yard and sees Henry, her husband, talking to two businessmen; they are making a proposition to Henry for his thirty heads of three-year old steers. Elisa takes several glances at the men as they smoke cigarettes and talk; her “face was lean and strong and her eyes were as clear as water . . . her figure looked blocked and heavy in her gardening costume, a man’s black hat pulled down over her eyes, clod-hopper shoes, a figured print dress almost completely covered by a big corduroy apron with four big pockets . . .” (Steinbeck 220). Steinbeck clearly shows Elisa’s habitual activity; it is implied that she even wears the exact same thing everyday.

Let’s examine the step-by-step process.

Step #1: Mirror. Mirror the thesis against each body paragraph, one-by-one.

Step #2: Highlight. Highlight parts of the thesis with a highlighter (hardcopy) or apply underlining (within a Word document).

Step #3: Number. Number the parts of the thesis. Number the parts of the body paragraph that correspond to the parts of the thesis.

Step #4: Yank. You have three options.

  • Option #1:  If you do not have any numbered parts in the body paragraph that correspond to the thesis parts, then you must yank the whole paragraph. The paragraph is dead weight. Dead weight usually represents plot summary.
  • Option #2: For those parts that are numbered in the body paragraph that correspond to the thesis parts, keep them. Yank the rest of the paragraph sentences.
  • Option #3: If there are parts in the body paragraph that are not numbered, but appear to be viable if revised, revise these parts so that they are congruent with the thesis parts. If you still cannot make these parts function in the way that the thesis dictates, yank them.

Click here for “Task #6: Sample.”

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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Task #4: Level

Level

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

Balance viewpoints. Match the cause to the effect. Present the pro and the con. Don’t ever present one side of a topic or an essay. When you compare or contrast, you need two things, two ideas, and/or two people at a minimum to compare. When you compare or contrast, make sure that your presentation is equal on all sides. Don’t present an unbalance where one side is more developed than the other.

Before addressing some issues with balance within the student essay on Steinbeck’s “Chrysanthemums,” let’s first examine a section within Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Our purpose here is to determine if King presents a balanced view of the topic.

Figure 81: Sample Excerpt from “Letter from Birmingham Jail”

       Now, what is the difference between the two?  How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust?  1 A just law is a manmade code that squares with the moral law or the law of God.  2An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.2 To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas:  An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.  1Any law that uplifts human personality is just.2 Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.  2 All segregation statues are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality.  2It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority.2Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an “I-it” relationship for an “I-thou” relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things.

2 Hence segregation is not only politically, economically, and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful.  2 Paul Tillich” has said that sin is separation.  2 Is not segregation an existential expression of man’s tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness?  1 Thus it is that I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it is morally right; 2and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong.Let us consider a more concrete example of just and unjust laws.  2 An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself.  2 This is difference made legal.  1 By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself. 1 This is samenessmade legal.

Let me give another explanation.  2 A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. 2 Who can say that the legislature of Alabama which set up that state’s segregation laws was democratically elected?  2 Throughout Alabama all sorts of devious methods are used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters, and there are some counties in which, even though Negroes constitute a majority of the population, not a single Negro is registered. 2Can any law enacted under such circumstances be considered democratically structured?

Sometimes a law is 1 just on its face and 2 unjust in its application.  1 For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit.  1 Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade.  2 But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.

Within the excerpt, we have placed a #1 by all sentences where King discusses “just laws.” We have placed a #2 by all sentences where King discusses “unjust laws.” The purpose of this exercise is to determine if King presents a balanced view of both types of laws within the context of his letter. King appears to present both sides of what an unjust law means and what a just law means. However, is King’s presentation balanced? The keyword in King’s text is “squares.” Therefore, let’s determine if King “squares” his views.

Click here for “The Favors Step-by-Step Squaring Process.”

To view a full version of King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” click here.

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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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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Task #2: Number

Number

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

Number the events in the story.  Within a single paragraph, make sure the events are chronologically presented in your paper.  Here’s an example from the student essay on “Chrysanthemums.”

Figure 75: Essay Excerpt Reference to Conclusion in “Chrysanthemums”

“They both leave and Elisa notices the visitor as they pass him on the road. She tried not to look, but did anyway. She failed to tell Henry that he’d stopped by. She comments that their outing would be good tonight; Henry instantly noticed that she had changed again.  Elisa notices the plants on the side of the road that the visitor throws out. She immediately feels rejected and defeated” (Favors 4).

Before getting into a discussion, let’s number the actions of the student essay.

  1. They both leave.
  2. Elisa notices the visitor as they pass him on the road.
  3. She tried not to look, but did anyway.
  4. She failed to tell Henry that he’d stopped by.
  5. She comments that their outing would be good tonight.
  6. Henry instantly noticed that she had changed again.
  7. Elisa notices the plants on the side of the road that the visitor throws out.
  8. The visitor throws out the plants.
  9. She immediately feels rejected and defeated.

Let’s bring in the context either to confirm that this order is correct or refute the order altogether.

Figure 76: Sample Passage from Steinbeck’s “Chrysanthemums” (Conclusion)

 

“Elisa went into the house. She heard him drive to the gate and idle down his motor, and then she took a long time to put on her hat. She pulled it here and pressed it there. When Henry turned the motor off she slipped into her coat and went out.“The little roadster bounced along on the dirt road by the river, raising the birds and driving the rabbits into the brush. Two cranes flapped heavily over the willow-line and dropped into the river-bed.“Far ahead on the road Elisa saw a dark speck. She knew.“She tried not to look as they passed it, but her eyes would not obey. She whispered to herself sadly, ‘He might have thrown them off the road. That wouldn’t have been much trouble, not very much. But he kept the pot,’ she explained. ‘He had to keep the pot. That’s why he couldn’t get them off the road.’“The roadster turned a bend and she saw the caravan ahead. She swung full around toward her husband so she could not see the little covered wagon and the mismatched team as the car passed them.

“In a moment it was over. The thing was done. She did not look back.

“She said loudly, to be heard above the motor, ‘It will be good tonight, a good dinner.’

‘Now you’re changed again,’ Henry complained.

Let’s number the actions of the author’s narrative.

  1. They both leave.
  2. Elisa notices a dark speck far head on the road.
  3. Elisa tried not to look as they passed it, but she looked anyway.
  4. She saw the caravan ahead as the car passed them (the little covered wagon and the mismatched team).
  5. She said, “It will be good, tonight, a good dinner.”
  6. Henry complains that she has changed again.

Now let’s compare and contrast the student’s presentation of chronology in the essay and the author’s presentation of events.

Table 13: Outline of Character Actions in Steinbeck’s “Chrysanthemums

Actions Student’s Essay Author’s Narrative
 First Action 1.  They both leave. 1.  They both leave.
 Second Action 2.  Elisa notices the visitor as they pass him on the road. 2.  Elisa notices a dark speck far ahead on the road.
 Third Action 3.  She tried not to look, but did anyway. 3.  Elisa tried not to look as they passed it, but she looked anyway.
 Fourth Action 4.  She failed to tell Henry that he’d stopped by. 4.  She saw the caravan ahead as the car passed them (the little covered wagon and the mismatched team).
 Fifth Action 5.  She comments that their outing would be good tonight. 5.  She said, “It will be good, tonight, a good dinner.”
 Sixth Action 6.  Henry instantly noticed that she had changed again. 6.  Henry complains that she has changed again.
 Seventh Action 7.  Elisa notices the plants on the side of the road that the visitor throws out.
 Eighth Action   8.  She immediately feels dejected and defeated.

Let’s approach the interpretation of this table carefully. Only those actions that clearly illustrate discrepancies or those events out of order in contrast to the author’s narrative are represented within Table 14.

Table 14: Outline of Discrepancies in Essay Excerpt on “Chrysanthemums”

Actions Student’s Essay Author’s Narrative
 Second Action 2.  Elisa notices the visitor as they pass him on the road. 2.  Elisa notices a dark speck far ahead on the road.
 
 Fourth Action 4.  She failed to tell Henry that he’d stopped by. 4.  She saw the caravan ahead as the car passed them (the little covered wagon and the mismatched team).
 
 Seventh Action 7.  Elisa notices the plants on the side of the road that the visitor throws out.

The order of events in the student’s essay is a complete mismatch to the order of events in the author’s narrative. Not only is the student’s essay filled with discrepancies but it also includes events that don’t even happen in the narrative.

The student’s assessment of these events also indicates that the student hasn’t thoroughly studied the dialogue and the narrator’s views. In other words, the student has worked primarily from memory. In writing the essay, the student did not consult the primary source to make sure to present the events chronologically. Observe the following from the student’s essay:

Discrepancy: The student essay reads that Elisa failed to tell Henry that he’d stopped by.  However, there is nothing in the narrative itself to suggest that Elisa not telling Henry of the visitor represents a failure.

Discrepancy: The student essay reads that Elisa feels dejected and defeated. The quote actually reads, “She whispered to herself sadly, ‘He might have thrown them off the road.  That wouldn’t have been much trouble, not very much. But he kept the pot’ ” (Steinbeck 261).  Elisa feels sad.

Discrepancy: Elisa doesn’t notice the plants on the side of the road. She notices a dark speck.  The narrative doesn’t indicate if the dark speck is the plant.

Discrepancy: Elisa never sees the visitor as both Elisa and Henry pass the visitor on the road. Elisa sees the caravan as both Elisa and Henry pass them, the little covered wagon, and the mismatched team.

As you can see, it is important to develop an analysis that correlates with the events of the literary work. You must present information chronologically. This idea only applies to those areas of your paper where you recite specific events. You must ensure that the reader has a sound understanding of what comes first, second, and third.

To correct problems dealing with mismatching, follow The FAVORS Step-by-Step Process for Correcting Mismatched Chronology, which is a guide you can use during the revision process.

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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Task #1: Account

Account

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

Account for discrepancies and contradictions. Read the following excerpt from my student essay on Steinbeck’s “Chrysanthemums.”

Figure 72: Essay Excerpt on “Chrysanthemums (2nd Paragraph)

The narrative starts out with Elisa working in her flower garden. She looks down across the yard and sees Henry, her husband, talking to two businessmen; they are making a proposition to Henry for his thirty heads of three-year old steers. Elisa takes several glances at the men as they smoke cigarettes and talk; her “face was lean and strong and her eyes were as clear as water . . . her figure looked blocked and heavy in her gardening costume, a man’s black hat pulled down over her eyes, clod-hopper shoes, a figured print dress almost completely covered by a big corduroy apron with four big pockets . . .” (Steinbeck 220). Steinbeck clearly shows Elisa’s habitual activity; it is implied that she even wears the exact same thing everyday.

Although every part of this body paragraph appears to be in order, there is a discrepancy. The word “discrepancy” means a distinct difference between two things. There is a difference between what the student writes in this paragraph and what the actual story reads. The following is an excerpt from the first paragraph of Steinbeck’s “Chrysanthemums.”

Figure 73: Sample Passage from Steinbeck’s “Chrysanthemums” (1st Paragraph)

“The high grey-flannel fog of winter closed off the Salinas Valley from the sky and from all the rest of the world. On every side it sat like a lid on the mountains and made of the great valley a closed pot. On the broad, level land floor the gang plows bit deep and left the black earth shining like metal where the shares had cut. On the foothill ranches across the Salinas River, the yellow stubble fields seemed to be bathed in pale cold sunshine, but there was no sunshine in the valley now in December. The thick willow scrub along the river flamed with sharp and positive yellow leaves” (Steinbeck 254).

First Discrepancy

We do not need to add the rest of the paragraphs that follow because we have made our point.

The first line of the topic sentence uses the following: “The narrative starts out with Elisa working in her flower garden” (Favors 1). However, as you can read, the narrative starts with Steinbeck’s description of the setting. We call this type of discrepancy an “unvalidated assumption.” The topic sentence of the body paragraph represents an assumption and we cannot validate its truthfulness.

Remember that any statement you write represents an assumption until you incorporate credible evidence in the forms of a quote or any other type of evidence sufficient to support your ideas. It is always important to be accurate. You must accurately convey the ideas expressed within the primary source.

Second Discrepancy

There is another discrepancy within the student’s essay. The student writes, “She looks down across the yard and sees Henry, her husband, talking to two businessmen; they are making a proposition to Henry for his thirty heads of three-year old steers” (Favors 1).

Here are the actual quotes. We only include those quotes and dialogue that relate to the student’s belief that the two businessmen are making a proposition to Henry for his thirty heads of three-year-old steers.

Figure 74: Sample Passage from Steinbeck’s “Chrysanthemums” (2nd Paragraph) 

“Elisa Allen, working in her flower garden, looked down across the yard and saw Henry, her husband, talking to two men in business suits. The three of them stood by the tractor shed, each man with one foot on the side of the little Fordson. They smoked cigarettes and studied the machine as they talked… . “Elisa cast another glance toward the tractor shed. The strangers were getting into their Ford coupe. . . . “ ‘Henry, who were those men 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’ ” (Steinbeck 254-255).

First, there is nothing in the narrative that reads the two businessmen are making a proposition to Henry.

Second, we do not know if these two men are “businessmen.” The quote reads that they are “two men in business suits.”

Last, by rereading the quote, Henry’s words in particular, it is possible to deduce that it is Henry who makes a proposition to the two men, considering that he gets the price he wants. A proposition is an idea, offer, or plan put forward for consideration or discussion. The fact that Henry gets the price he wants suggests that the two men in business suits receive Henry’s proposition. You may debate this suggestion within your analysis, but be sure to make the point and distinguish clearly between what is implied and what is directly presented (as you see it on the page).

Third Discrepancy

The last discrepancy from the student’s essay is this: “Steinbeck clearly shows Elisa’s habitual activity; it is implied that she even wears the exact same thing everyday” (Favors 1).

Steinbeck doesn’t directly write that what Elisa is doing in the story represents “habitual activity.” He doesn’t clearly show this. Because Elisa wears a “gardening costume” and not a regular dress and because she is “cutting down the old year’s chrysanthemum stalks with a pair of short and powerful scissors,” we can infer that Elisa habitually works in her garden; that this is an everyday activity for her. We can only infer this. Nothing in the author’s presentation suggests that we can imply that Elisa works in her garden everyday. There is a difference between how something or some idea is implied and how we can infer. Observe the difference.

Imply:

  • to suggest
  • to make something understood without expressing it directly

Infer:

  • to conclude something on the basis of reasoning
  • to suggest or lead to something as a conclusion
  • to imply or suggest something
  • to make a reasonable guess at something

At first glance, it may appear that both the words “imply” and “infer” are the same considering that “infer” has as one of its definitions to suggest.  Let’s go one step further.

Implication:

  • indirect suggestion, something that is implied as a natural consequence of something else

Inference:

  • a conclusion drawn from evidence or reasoning

A suggestion is an idea or proposal put forward for consideration. A conclusion is a decision made or an opinion formed after considering the relevant facts or evidence, the final part of something.

Do you see the difference? The greatest distinction between the two words is that when you “infer” something or you make an “inference,” you reach a conclusion; the conclusion is final or it represents a decision. The conclusion you reach is not the same as when you imply something. Your implication is not a conclusion; it is an opinion. Notice the difference.

Inference

We can infer that Elisa works habitually in her garden because she wears a gardening costume and not an everyday dress; and we read of her “cutting down the old year’s chrysanthemums stalks with a pair of short and powerful scissors” (Steinbeck 254).

Implication

We can infer that Elisa works habitually in her garden because she wears a gardening costume and not an everyday dress; and we read of her “cutting down the old year’s chrysanthemums stalks with a pair of short and powerful scissors” (Steinbeck 254).  The words “old year’s chrysanthemums” imply that Elisa may have planted these chrysanthemums in the previous year.

In the example that represents an inference, we reached the conclusion that Elisa works habitually in her garden by analyzing (studying) the author’s description of Elisa (i.e., gardening costume, man’s black hat, clod-hopper shoes, figured print dress, big corduroy apron with four big pockets to hold the snips, the trowel and scratcher, the seeds and the knife she worked with).  This is the only evidence we have to use in our efforts to reason and reach a conclusion.

In the example that adds an implication, we are able to make something understood without expressing it directly. The something that is understood is Elisa’s part in planting the old year’s chrysanthemums.

Therefore, when we put all of the pieces together—Steinbeck’s description coupled with the words “old year’s chrysanthemums”—we can now infer. Each piece represents evidence necessary to make an inference. When we notice certain words—“old year’s chrysanthemums”—without necessarily studying the description of Elisa, we can imply that the chrysanthemums belong to Elisa and that she is the one who plants them in the previous year.

Suggestions

Always live in your dictionary. Reread the definitions of words, even if you know their definitions. Always be accurate in your presentation of the author’s ideas; and be accurate in how you present your definition of a word. If you are defining a word, check with the dictionary first.  Then match the dictionary’s meaning of the word with the word in context in the author’s work.

Ask yourself these questions: 1) What is the author’s definition of the word? What context does the author provide? 2) Does my definition, my understanding, of the word match the author’s definition?

If it doesn’t, remove the discrepancy or revise your definition to ensure that it complements the author’s ideas.

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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