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10th Grade Assignment - Novel Analysis & Journaling

Instructor: Crystal Marcum

Crystal has over twenty years of experience in education. She holds a Bachelors of Arts and Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction.

Students will select a fictional piece of literature and write in a personal journal. The journal will reflect understanding of specific literary concepts related to the literature. A grading rubric is included. Updated: 01/14/2021

Assignment Explanation and Topic Overview

This assignment is intended to help 10th grade students analyze literature by writing in a personal journal. Each entry will be not only be a synopsis of the chapter read, but also include an analysis of various elements of literature. Students will use excerpts and quotations from the text as evidence of their literary analysis of the text.

Selecting Literature

From the list of the following authors, select a literary work by one of them. Read the literary work in its entirety. As you read, complete a journal entry for each chapter in a novel, section break in poetry, or act in a play.

  • Ray Bradbury
  • John Steinbeck
  • O. Henry
  • Shirley Jackson
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • William Shakespeare
  • Percy Shelley

Journal Writing Guidelines

In order to show your skills at analyzing literature, you will be keeping a record of your thoughts related to specific literary concepts as you finish each chapter. If you are reading poetry, complete an entry at the conclusion of each stanza or set of stanzas in a section. If you are reading a play, complete an entry at the end of each act.

There are several elements that need to be included in the journal project. You will not use each element in every entry, but you should use each of them multiple times. Some chapters will relate to specific elements better than others. Use the rubric at the end of the lesson to ensure that you have effectively analyzed all parts of the novel to include each element at some point in your journal.

Elements to Include in Journal Entries

Theme: These are ideas that are important to all of us: death, love, good and evil, etc. You should be able to identify at least one theme in the piece of literature. Use specific examples from the text to support your reasons for the prevalent theme. You can use this in multiple entries to show how the theme is being developed as the story continues.

Word Choice: Styles and arrangement of words make text interesting! Historical periods can affect the readability of certain literature pieces. Figurative language can also make writing more colorful and create a clearer picture in your mind. Overall, when all of these styles are put together in a cohesive piece of literature, it affects the meaning and tone of the story. Add some examples of specific phrases or interesting word choices to your journal to show you understand how these can influence the story.

Character Development: Characters often change as the story progresses. As the reader, we learn more about their personality through their thoughts, actions, and interactions with other characters. The development of characters advances the plot and theme of the story. Use your journal to show how the major and minor characters are developing and influencing your thoughts about the story.

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