It is important that you look very carefully at all of the documents that are provided in the DBQ. Before you start writing your essay, I would recommend that you use the SOAPSTONE Document Analysis form on each of these documents. Before filling out the form, you should think about what you are doing. Done well, this will help you to know more about the documents you read and to remember them better.
Take this seriously! By using SOAPSTONE as the basis for your analysis, you will discover that an essay, an article, a song, a story is carefully structured, creating parameters within which you must work in order to determine meaning. Certainly there is room for different viewpoints because each of you brings a unique perspective to the piece. But your conclusions must be supported by the details of the text. S Who is the Speaker? The voice which tells the story. When students approach a document, they sometimes believe that the author and the speaker of the piece are the same. They fail to realize that the author may choose to write from any number of different points of view. In fact, the method of narration and the character of the speaker may be crucial to an understanding of the work.
O What is the Occasion? The time and place of the piece; the current situation. It is particularly important that you understand the context that encouraged the writing to happen. What led to the development of the document? What influences forced the author to write it?
A What is the Audience? The group of readers to whom this piece is directed. The audience may be one person, a small group, or a large group; it may be a certain person or a certain people.
P What is the Purpose? The reason behind the text. You need to consider this question carefully. What is the argument or logic behind the document?
S What is the Subject? The general topic, content, and ideas contained in the text. You should be able to state the subject in a few words or a short phrase.
-TONE What is the authors tone? How is the author perceived by the audience? What is the author’s mood? What is the authors’ point-of-view?
Point-of-View (POV) Statement The process of SOAPSTONE is to build a better understanding of the document. The POV statement is turning SOAPSTONE into 1 complete sentence. There are 2 major steps in creating a POV Statement. The first is to break down the essential parts of the document and author. Using the Declaration of Independence as an example, the POV statement should contain the following things:
Identity / Occupation of the Author: Member of 2nd Continental Congress / Lawyer
Central Belief(s): Equality / Human Rights / Self Governance
Why the Document was Written: To legitimize and present evidence for the American Colonies to legally separate from Great Britain.
The second part is take these 4 parts and combine them into 1 complete sentence.
POV Statement = Thomas Jefferson, the young lawyer who wrote the Declaration of Independence at the request of the 2nd Continental Congress, outlined both the colonists call for equality and the reasons for their separation from Great Britain.