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Does the author have a personal reason for writing the essay coatesville? If so, what textual evidence can I use to support my answer?

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2 Answers

Without reading the specific essay, or even being able to research the essay or author (due to lack of information provided), it is difficult to answer this question. 

However, a few general tips can likely assist you:

a) What is the topic of the essay?  If the topic is approached in an obviously biased way, then the personal reason for writing the essay could be for persuasive purposes. 

b) What is the thesis of the essay?  If the thesis is persuasive in nature, then a personal bias and/or reason can be assumed.  Keep in mind, however, that even a narrative or expository essay can be biased- those types are merely subtler than persuasive essays.

c) Textual evidence can be a summary of a portion of the essay, or it can be a direct quote. The best textual evidence is a combination of the two; in other words, the summary better explains the reason you chose a particular quote. 


Hopefully this helps- if not, then please post a link or the title/author of the exact essay you need to analyze.

Dear Renee,
 
Is this the famous essay by John Jay Chapman? If so, then it is about the horrific murder of a black man in Coatesville, PA in the early part of the last century. I am aware of the essay because I grew up not far from there.
 
Reading for comprehension comes from reading a lot and thinking about what you read. This takes practice and time. In everything you read, whether it is fiction or non-fiction, you should strive for a deep comprehension of the text. In an assigned essay, look for:
 
1) Form. What form does the author use to shape his exposition and argument? How long is the essay? Normally the first two paragraphs and the last two paragraphs will offer the main point of view and subject matter of the essay.
 
2) Tone. What is the "tone" of the author? Sarcastic? Comic? Satiric? Factual? Tone on the page is like tone of voice when you're speaking. Try to qualify the tone of the author and that will tell you a lot about his personal connection to the story.
 
3) Pacing. What kind of sentences does the author write? Short declarative ones? Long ones? Surprise your teacher by knowing these two words: "paratactic" and "hypotactic".  Paratactic sentences are short (like this one). Hypotactic sentences are characterized by having a number of clauses, which are parts of a sentence, often going on for several lines as, for example, Faulkner did in much of his work. --- That was a hypotactic sentence.  Parataxis makes for an urgent, punchy feeling. Hypotaxis makes for a smooth, more complex and often hard to understand vibe.
4) Narrative Voice. What narrative voice is used? Does the author ever use "I"? Or is it all "third person"? The narrative voice employed will affect the distance the reader feels from what's going on. Are we in the victim's head? Do we feel what he feels, or not?
 
These are just some tactics for reading for comprehension. I'd be happy to have a few session with you to talk about how to read. When you learn how to read like a writer, you learn to write like one.
 
Best,
Dorothy