The fact that a poem or a play touched a raw nerve is great.But not every response we have to a text is an appropriate response for a college essay.If you believe that your purpose is simply to satisfy an assignment that scarcely interests you, feel free to start your essay with a sentence that will allow your reader to share your boredom.
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Sometimes you analyze the author's mode of expression: Why is this choppy? You can refer to events and ideas without describing them as though they were completely new to your reader.
E.g., rather than telling your reader, "Jefferson argues for the American colonies to break away from the domination of Britain," you can say, "Jefferson's argument that the American colonies break away from the domination of Britain combines inductive reasoning with an emotional rhetorical appeal." From there you would provide textual examples, and comment upon each one you select. Secondary sources include textbooks, encyclopedias, dictionaries, books on a subject, journal articles, AND introductions and notes included with a primary source.
When you are required to incorporate secondary sources into your essay, you must make sure that you are not simply writing a report. ALL information that you derive from a secondary source must be noted.
Please use the parenthetical documentation style that appears below. Here is an oxymoron on the use of quotations: sparse bounty.
Claims of proof about an object of interpretation will not lend your paper any authority.
You gain authority through the originality, thoroughness, and intelligence of your analysis. Most people have had the experience of being personally moved by a literary work.In poorly written essays, such "lab talk" shows up in a sentence like this: "In this paper I will prove that Gulliver maintains his ironic role through the end of the fourth book of Swift's Gulliver's Travels" You may, indeed, follow a scientific route in crafting an inductive argument, one that gathers examples and draws conclusions by examining them together.But inductive arguments, as any scientist will tell you, are never exhaustive.The essay's body is composed of a series of close, interpretive readings of passages from the Humanities text that support the assertion of your thesis. Frightened at the blank five or ten pages they have yet to fill, some students rely on a warm-up sentence that goes something like this: "The great Renaissance poet and playwright, William Shakespeare, masterfully wrote his famous play, Hamlet, just as the sixteenth century drew to a close." Rarely do opening lines like this have anything to do with the thesis of the paper, and they should be edited out in the final draft.The essay's conclusion thoughtfully reflects on what you have presented in the paper. Your professor and your fellow students are doubtless aware of Shakespeare's (or Locke's or Woolf's) well-received reputation and have no need for information extraneous to your topic.The professor is interested in the same work that you are writing about, probably knows a good deal about it, and wants to be persuaded by a claim that you make about your topic.You are writing to someone who knows the work at least as well as you do, so do not fill up your paper with plot summary.Harry Mulisch's novel, The Assault, or James Baldwin's novel, Go Tell it on the Mountain, might parallel a self-discovery experience you have had.Reading a poem like Dylan Thomas' "Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night" might force you to face your love and grief for a parent or relative who has died.Cliffs Notes and other "study guides" are unacceptable secondary sources for a college-level Humanities paper.The works assigned for this course, except for the optional history text, are all considered "primary sources" for the purposes of the essays you write. It offers supplementary information to your interpretation of the primary text.