Western Civilization

Intro to Writing

How to analyze text and write a coherent response

Video Description:

Click on this link to watch the "History Writing 101" Video

Text Analysis:

Click on this link to read an article titled,  "Why We Should Study the History of Western Civilization," by Donald Kagan

Read and analyze Kagan's article.  While you read, get the IDEA:

      Identify the important names and dates

      Determine the author’s main point/thesis

      Evaluate the significance

      Assess the concepts


(1) After watching the video, write a quick response to the following questions:

     • What are the basic components of a good essay?

     • What should you avoid when writing an essay?

     • What four components should you have in order to structure your essay?

     • When in doubt, what is the "last ditch thesis"?

     • Describe the ways in which evidence should be used in your essays.

     • Describe the ways to analyze information in your essays.

(2) After you have read and analyzed the article by Donald Kagan, compose a 1-2 paragraph short answer response in which you answer the question:  Why is it so important that everyone study the history of Western Civilization?  What kinds of characteristics, innovations, or philosophies have enabled Western Civilization to develop in meaningful ways over the course of its history?

(3) EVERY short answer response you write this year should accomplish the following:

       • Open your first paragraph with a THESIS that sets up your argument to answer the question (essentially this is your answer in one sentence).

       • You should fill the rest of your response with specific, detailed information that answer the question and supports/proves your THESIS.

       • You should use at least one short quote attributed to the source to which you are responding.  (EX:  According to Kagan, ‘quote quote quote, quote quote.”)

       • You should include a discussion of the source’s thesis or its impact and importance.

       • You should conclude your response with a closing statement.

After you have typed your responses, email them to bcchseurosquad@gmail.com