How To Write An Annotation

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Your teacher may have just told you for home work you need to write an annotation. You may just love picking apart great stories that you read for you own enjoyment. Whether you need to write an annotation for home work or for your own enjoyment, I will guide you in the ways of annotating.

First, decide how you are going to annotate the book or story. Some people who own their books prefer to just write in the margin. That is fine if you are the owner and you like doing that. If it’s for home work and the book is a text book that you do not own, you should use a different sheet of paper. Since you will probably be handing the home work over to your teacher, another sheet of paper is ideal.

So get your paper and pen and get ready to think. First, ask yourself what is the plot of the story. The plot is basically the events of the story and how they all follow each other in sequence leading up to something. While you are annotating, keep the plot of the story in mind.

Now as you are reading through the story, try to pick out symbols. Symbolism can be found in any story. An example of a symbol: A story about a man and woman. They are friends, but he asks her if she would like to go to Paris with him. Paris is usually associated with romance. Paris is a symbol for love. The man secretly loves her. As you find these symbols, write them down and write down what you think it’s a symbol of. You are trying to uncover a whole new and underlying meaning to the story.

Also, look for imagery. Imagery in literature appeals to the senses. It’s a very descriptive way of writing. If you pay close attention to imagery, you might see what the author is trying to convey to the reader. For example: The author wants you to understand how cold it was on a given day. He writes, “The wind pelted through my thin coat like icecicles.”

You need to also note any figurative language that you find. I bet you have heard this term before. Figurative language consists of similes, personification, and metaphors. Figurative language can help you see underlying meaning as well. Similes use the word “like” or “as”, personification is when an inanimate object is given human-like characteristics, and metaphors compare two things.

Find out what the tone of the story is. This is the mood of the story. Answer this question, how does the story make you feel?

Decide what the theme of the story is. This would be the moral of the story. It could be the lesson learned. It should be too hard to figure this one out.

Now you must have a whole page full of notes. Read over what you have found. See if you can find two or even three different meanings of the story that you read. When you pick apart a story, it’s amazing to see how many layers it actually contained.


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