Book Report and Its Structure
If you have to write a book report, always identify what specific type you should focus on. There are theme analyses, character analyses, and plot summaries. Sometimes one can see a combination of the abovementioned types. Students are asked to write a book report, when professors want to see if they are able to read between the lines, find hidden ideas and opinions, if they can analyze the plot from different perspectives, etc. Before writing a book report, you should learn about major elements that constitute good report writing.
A common book report includes the following elements:
- Genre of the book;
- A full title of the book and its author;
- Time span (exact time when the story took place);
- Location where all events took place;
- Enumeration of the key characters along with a small description;
- Specific examples or quotations that will support your ideas.
Summarizing a Plot
If your teacher asked you to focus on a plot summary mainly, it does not mean that you have to retell the story in different words. Still, you should present your opinion and state if the plot is amusing, compelling, dull, complex for understanding, etc. A good book report should always include a writer’s opinion based on the read text. Always introduce examples (preferably direct quotes) in support of your claims. Otherwise, the reader will not consider your opinions as credible.
For example, you can identify a plot in this way:
“After reading “A Lonely Man in the Desert” by John Smith, a reader is perplexed with all the plot sequences and turns of events that serve an amusing purpose.”
If you have to write an analysis of the major characters, you will have to focus on specific personality traits and behaviors. Moreover, you will have to identify and outline specific actions that affect the plot development.
In your character analysis, be sure to include the following:
- State how your character dresses and how you visualize him or her.
- Enumerate positive features that your character possesses (do not forget about specific example because the reader may not share the same opinion).
- Does the character express any negative personality traits?
- Provide small excerpts from dialogues and analyze the way how your character speaks and interacts with others.
- Try to explain how your character influences the development of the plot in general and some specific actions in particular.
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You can begin your character analysis in this way:
In the book “A Lonely Man in the Desert” by John Smith, Ciara remains the central character, whose quest for independence is seen in all her actions as well as the way she dresses, acts, and socializes with others.”
Analysis of Themes
While reading the text, you will have to write down all themes that an author attempted to demonstrate in the book. You are welcome to focus on themes that you believe to be the most important. Always try to “leave your personal touch” – introduce your personal feelings and ideas that will show your understanding of a specific theme/themes. However, try to be rather objective and show an actual sequence of events that appears in the book.
- Clearly state what theme you want to discuss in your book report. If you want to analyze several themes, do not forget to outline them in the introductory paragraph.
- Always check the word count limits and rules about quoting. Do not forget that an abundance of direct quotes without proper analysis will bring no good to your overall grade.
- Even if you include a direct quote, it should have a clear connection to the discussion. Always interpret the quote in relation to the outline ideas. Your citations should always include page numbers.
- Introduce your personal understanding of the topic. Did you enjoy reading the book? Did you want to take a break because the central theme is too complex for your understanding?
You can start your book report with the following sentence:
A book “A Lonely Man in the Desert” by John Smith explores the theme of on-going challenges that make modern people isolate from one another.
Always endeavor to make your book report interesting, concise, and expressive, no matter what type of writing you have to deal with. Be it analysis of themes, characters, or plots, you must be able to provide a brief summary and relate on your personal experience as well as ability to analyze the notion from different angles.
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