Stop the presses! This email came in at 1:45pm today:
I have to write a 4-6 page paper (due today) on a theory. My teacher gave us the theories - marxist, feminism, postcolonial, queer, and cultural materialism. I have no idea what any of them mean, except feminism, and i can't find any info to help me online. i have to write the paper using one of these theories and one of the stories i've read thus far; Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Piers Plowman, Canterbury Tales (General Prologue, Pardoner's Prologue and Tale, Wife of Bath, Miller's Prologye and Tale, and the Closing), Everyman, and The Second Shepherds' Play. I have no idea what to do and this paper is due at 4:30 today. can you help me ????
Maybe! If you type really fast, stay off FB, and follow my five-step plan, you might have something resembling a paper to give your teacher at
There's not a writer among us who hasn't struggled with this Sparkler's issue:
I have problems writing introductions for my essays. My teacher says that I write them either too long or to short. When I write I tend to go right to the point after I write my thesis statement. How can fix my introductions so that they aren't so long that they give all my information and not so short that they are practically non-existent?
...almost as much as I hate group projects. So the following email made me wince in sympathy:
The assignment is to write a group lit crit paper on Anthem by Ayn Rand taking one literary device [we chose point of view] and showing three examples [we chose fear, peer pressure, and control/law] of how that device proves a theme of the novel [we chose freedom to be an individual]. Our thesis that we spent an entire class period coming up with with our teacher so far is-
"In the novella Anthem, Ayn Rand uses a free-thinking individual born into an oppressive society to express the necessity for the freedom to discover a sense of self."
What do you think?
I think Ayn Rand is a selfish, misguided hack who can't write worth a damn. Oh, did you mean what do I think of the thesis? I think the idea is okay, but the language makes me
I am writing an essay about Middle Ages Literature. The problem is: I can't figure out how to address the questions "so what?" and "who cares?" to my essay.
The paper is about how fame defines a character, regardless of heroic deeds (or the lack of), but I can't seem to make my thesis relevant. Also, what audience would I write to for an essay analyzing the hero-archetype? Who would care about whether or not fame defines the hero?
Let me answer your second question first: think of your audience as a brilliant but unpretentious friend. Write with this one person in mind. That's
Today, a Sparkler wrote in to ask, "Can you help me streamline this argument?"
Throughout the book of Genesis, there are many sets of opposites as God creates heaven and earth. Among them are heaven and earth and darkness and light. Sets of two make many appearances in this specific book of the Bible. In Chapters One through Three of Genesis, there are many references to sets of opposites or doubles.
When I first walked into class and saw that our next writing assignment in my AP English Language & Comp class was to psychoanalyze Holden Caulfield (from J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye), I was positive it was a joke.
After realizing that the assignment was deadly serious, she came up with the
Here's one thing a thesis shouldn't be: an observation. Unfortunately, you can't just point out something true about a novel or short story, and describe that something for five paragraphs. Or you can, but only if you want to see "OK...annnnnnd?" or "So what?" scribbled in the margins of your paper.
Coming up with an observation, as this Sparkler has, is a good first step:
In both the novel Life of Pi written by Yann Martel and the movie The Black Stallion by Carrol Ballard, the protagonists start their lives as innocent and naive boys but grow up mentally with the help of experience, heart built relationships and actions that show they are different from most boys.
Is there anything worse than doing badly in a class, and not knowing how to fix your grade? It's a terrible feeling, especially when you have a test coming up. A Sparkler writes:
im a high school student in 10th grade.. im in Honors English 10. and i am doing badly in that class right now because my essay skills really sucks, i just don't know how to write good essays. and i have another upcoming In-Class essay this friday about the outside reading book that i read, The Tempest by Shakespeare. and the theme is "quest for power". i dont know the prompt til that day. its a suprise prompt.