The assignment is to write an essay, which shows, from an objective/neutral standpoint, how a series of ideas substantiate a basic thesis. You may choose from any of the non-fiction texts assigned thus far—including McRaney.
The goal here is to carefully breakdown a number of concepts the author poses in the development of their essay, which feed into his/her thesis statement. That is, locate specific concepts raised in the article, explain what the idea is, why it is important for the thesis— in the particular analysis. Essentially, in your analysis, work through a set of main ideas raised by the author: you should communicate the meaning and impact of particular ideas introduced by the author, while then also showing how these particular ideas begin to form the basis of the thesis claim.
You need to choose a minimum of 4 main ideas that the author puts forward. This means that the paper requires a minimum of 4 substantial quotes that will be explained by you. The particular ideas you choose should be clear enough that they can be tied to the larger thesis of the author’s piece. Also, you should be able to transition between the paragraphs and ideas, showing the basic connections/relations between the various concepts, which culminate into the thesis.
The requirement of this form of analytic approach is to show the author’s thought process at work, objectively—to explore what ideas seemed vital to them, in relation to the author’s presentation of his/her thesis. By explaining the crux of the concepts they introduce, in terms of significance, your writing should display the inner working of their analysis and how ideas lead to the fundamental argument.