How to Write Approach Papers

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An approach paper is like a lens through which you can understand a specific perspective of a novel or short story. You approach approaches this aspect of the text by approaching it through the possible angles of artistry, literary, biographical, symbolic or stylistic interpretation. You can analyze the piece using any topic you'd like. An approach paper also evaluates the central ideas or events of the story for its interpretation.

  • Begin with a heading that includes the title of the piece your paper is about.

  • Write a three or four sentence summary paragraph explaining the whole book or story in descriptive detail. Explain early in the approach paper summary how your approach -- or interpretation -- relates to the story and helps the reader understand it.

  • Focus on a single key ingredient of the story to help establish your insights.

  • Name at least three characters in the next section and describe them with 3-to-5 word phrases. Avoid using the same words to describe another character.

  • Compose a section in the next paragraph with three thought-provoking discussion and essay questions. Each question combines at least two insightful story ideas. Think of questions a teacher might ask about the assigned text.

  • Follow up with the most important key passage from the story you are analyzing. Type the quoted passage word for word and identify each speaker. Explain why the chosen passage is significant to understanding the assigned text -- particularly bring up any central themes in the key passage. Review the key passage to help discover insight to the author's writing.

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