Analytical Essay Writing Essentials
Achieving Logic and Clarity in Thinking and Writing
Level 1: Middle School Students
Level 2: High School Students
Analytical writing is commonly used in all professional fields. It goes beyond the descriptive presentation of facts or details to evaluate and investigate their significance. Analytical writing is arguably the single most important writing genre students are expected to master. Most writing assignments in secondary school and college, from brief lab reports to long research papers, are designed to encourage critical engagement and analysis.
This course aims to develop students’ ability to evaluate and construct arguments, articulate and support complex ideas, and sustain a focused and coherent discussion. With its intensive focus on honing advanced skills of logical reasoning and clear presentation, the course will give students a competitive edge that cuts across the span of their academic and professional careers.
The course will integrate instruction and practice in writing with the study of both nonfiction and fictional readings, exploring methods of critical analysis using texts from different historical periods and cultural locations. Each class meeting will be structured around a particular text, with students participating in seminar-style discussions and sharing their writing with the instructor and with each other.
Mentor: Dr. Prusko
Dr. Prusko is a university educator with over two decades’ experience teaching literature, writing, and communications courses. She is currently a lecturer in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. She is the recipient of a Faculty of Arts Teaching Award and the William Hardy Alexander Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. While teaching is her main focus, she also researches and publishes in the areas of Shakespeare, early modern drama, and children’s literature.
Ph.D. in English
Award-winning university educator
Shakespearean/early modern drama/children's literature scholar
Week 1 Introduction to analyzing non-fiction: argumentation and evidence
Week 2 Analyzing non-fiction
Week 3 Rhetorical strategy: narrative & writing analytical paragraphs
Week 4 Rhetorical strategy: comparison and contrast
Week 5 Rhetorical strategy: appeals
Week 6 Introduction to analyzing fiction: genre and technique
Week 7 Literary device: setting
Week 8 Literary device: narrative voice
Week 9 Literary device: symbolism
Week 10 Literary device: characterization
"At first I thought my writing skills were really bad because for all of 8th grade I had no idea what I was doing whenever we had a writing assignment, but I think this course helped me practice my writing and made me feel a bit better about writing. I've always been a slow reader, but having reading assignments every week helped me learn how to read faster and helped prepare for high school. Also, if I hadn't taken this course, my writing would've been really rusty going into 9th grade (since I wouldn't have done any English-related things otherwise during the summer), so it helped me transition into the new school year. Dr. Prusko was also really nice and patient."
“Dr. Prusko embraces and celebrates innovative and novel ideas, which allows her students to truly thrive in their own explorations of literature. She has been a huge inspiration in both the academic and personal facets of my life.”
"I liked the open-ended discussions about the different topics of technology intersecting with humanities. The instructor listened to all I had to say, and tried to get me to elaborate on what I thought, and tried to challenge the views (to help me think through them), which I really enjoyed."
“The writing methods she introduced have proven to be invaluable across a variety of subjects and situations; when my friends are struggling with their writing, I recommend the techniques I learned from Dr. Prusko. Her enthusiasm and skill are truly remarkable.”
“I absolutely loved this course. Dr. Prusko is an amazing teacher who really cares about her students and takes time to make sure they understand the material. She is always willing to help and provide constructive feedback and is great at promoting class community and discussion.”
“Dr. Prusko is an incredible teacher and clearly knowledgeable and passionate about literature. Her class was challenging, but she provided constructive and helpful feedback and really encouraged us to do our best. She encouraged class discussions which were always interesting and helpful to the topic we were discussing.”
“I found myself working hard in this class because I felt compelled by the topic, and because I felt Dr. Prusko was very invested in our advancement in the class.”
“I think that the way Dr. Prusko is prepared, honest, humorous, and knowledgeable made learning more interesting and I enjoyed it. She was easily my best teacher.”
"I liked Dr. Prusko teaching method because she would use lots of figurative language which helped with my learning."
"I noticed that my daughters writing skills improved significantly and she seemed more interested in the subject too."
"Great class. My child said it was very interesting, and thought-provoking."