Some more intense reading and thinking since yesterday with trusted colleagues old and new made me reevaluate my previous thoughts about warrants.
The purpose of a warrant in an essay is to stake a generalised condition that grants authority to a reason or statement previously made. The act of recognising whether a statement made is text-specific or wiser is useful. However, writing about literature is trickier. Literature does not always (indeed rarely!) operates on explicit meanings. Allusions, form, themes, and the confirming or confounding of literary expectations create meaning: all of these move outside the text and its quotable evidence, at least directly. Therefore, whilst differentiating between warrants and reasons is useful knowledge, it is perhaps not a useful priority for the new English literature student.
Reading two more texts (the Blackwell guide to Literature Essay Writing being the most useful I find), I find instead the usual PEE structure being emphasised, although this time as Claim, Evidence, Analyse. Where the text is more useful is recognising what makes poor claims. A good claim is one that is a wider or more symbolic reason or made that is rooted in the text. Like I wrote about five years ago, this can operate in the formula:
Nominalised phrase + analytical verb + wider or more symbolic reason or claim
The blustering speech of Birling + reveals + how the Edwardian upper-class in Britain are overconfident and belligerent.
The importance of the claim, I think, is central. We term this the ‘statement’ in my current school. Topic sentence is another term. Point is another way of terming this. A claim, however, it more useful as it emphasises more the idea of an argument.
The next stage, I think, is to analyse the different exemplar NEAs provided by AQA, and in particular to examine the dual and linear ways of comparative analytical writing.