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Essay Writing
A REVIEW

Review: Essay writing
? An essay is a relatively short written

composition that articulates, supports, and develops an idea or claim. Like any work of expository prose, it aims to explain something complex. ? Explaining in this case entails both analysis (breaking the complex “thing” down into its constituent parts and showing how they work together to form a meaningful whole) and argument (working to convince someone that the analysis is valid).

Essay
? In an essay about literature, the literary work is the

complex thing that you are helping a reader to better understand. The essay needs to show the reader a particular way to understand the work, to interpret or read it. That interpretation or reading starts with the essayist?s own personal response. But an essay also needs to persuade the reader that this interpretation is reasonable and enlightening—that it is, though it is distinctive and new, it is more than merely idiosyncratic or subjective.

The elements of the essay
? four elements: an appropriate tone, a clear thesis, a

coherent structure, and ample, appropriate evidence. ? TONE ? The tone of your paper should be serious and straightforward, respectful toward your readers and the topic. Its approach and vocabulary should be formal enough for academic writing. (tips for thesis writing concerning the tone: do not use abbreviation, second person and better not use the first person so as not to appear subjective.)

Thesis
? A thesis is to an essay what a theme is to a short story,

play, or poem: it?s the governing idea, proposition, claim, or point. Good theses come in many shapes and sizes. A thesis cannot always be conveyed in one sentence, nor will it always appear in the same place in every essay. But you will risk both appearing confused and confusing the reader if you can?t state the thesis in one to three sentences or if the thesis doesn?t appear somewhere in your introduction, usually near its end.

thesis
? Regardless of its length or location, a thesis must

be debatable—a claim that all readers won?t automatically accept. It?s a proposition that can be proven with evidence from the text. Yet it?s one that has to be proven, that isn?t obviously true or factual, that must be supported with evidence in order to be fully understood or accepted by the reader.

Topic vs. thesis: examples
? The following examples juxtapose a series of

inarguable topics or fact statements—ones that are merely factual or descriptive—with thesis statements, each of which makes a debatable claim about the topic or fact.

EXAMPLE I
? Topic statement: ? “The Story of an Hour” explores the topic of marriage. ? Thesis statement: ? In “The Story of an Hour,” Chopin poses a troubling

question: Does marriage inevitably encourage people to “impose [their] private will upon a fellow-creature” (537)?

EXAMPLE II
? Fact statement: ? “The Blind Man,” “Cathedral,” and “The Lame Shall

Enter First” all feature characters with physical handicaps. ? Thesis statement: ? “The Blind Man,” “Cathedral,” and “The Lame Shall Enter First” feature protagonists who learn about their own emotional or spiritual shortcomings through an encounter with a physically handicapped person. In this way, all three stories invite us to question traditional definitions of “disability.”

EXAMPLE III
? “London” consists of three discrete stanzas that end

with a period; two-thirds of the lines are endstopped. ? In “London,” William Blake uses a variety of formal techniques to suggest the unnatural rigidity and constraints of urban life.

EXAMPLE IV
? A Streetcar Named Desire uses a lot of Darwinian

language. ? A Streetcar Named Desire asks whether or not it is truly the “fittest” who “survive” in contemporary America.

Final Thesis Checklist
? The thesis will fall short of expectations if it fails to

answer “yes” to each question that follows: ? 1. Does it express your position in a full, declarative sentence, which is not a question, not a statement of purpose, and not merely a topic? ? 2. Does it limit the subject to a narrow focus that grows out of research? ? 3. Does it establish an investigative, inventive edge to the discovery, interpretation, or theoretical presentation?

Structure
? Like any literary text, an essay needs to have a

beginning (or introduction), a middle (or body), and an ending (or conclusion). Each of these parts has a distinct function.

Beginning: The Introduction
? A good introduction should identify your topic,

provide essential context, and indicate your particular focus in the essay. It also needs to engage your readers? interest.

Beginning: The Introduction
? The introduction draws readers in and prepares

them for what?s to come by: ? 1. Articulating the thesis; ? 2. Providing whatever basic information—about the text, the author, and/or the topic—readers will need to follow the argument; and ? 3. Creating interest in the thesis by demonstrating that there is a problem or question that it resolves or answers.

Some general advice about introductions
? Some students cannot begin writing the body of the

essay until they feel they have the perfect introduction. Be aware of the dangers of sinking too much time into the introduction. Some of that time can be more usefully channeled into planning and writing. ? You may be the kind of writer who writes an introduction first in order to explore your own thinking on the topic. If so, remember that you may at a later stage need to compress your introduction.

Some general advice about introductions
? It can be fine to leave the writing of the introduction

for a later stage in the essay-writing process. Some people write their introduction only after they have completed the rest of the essay. Others write the introduction first but rewrite it significantly in light of what they end up saying in the body of their paper.

Some general advice about introductions
? The introductions for most papers can be effectively

written in one paragraph occupying half to threequarters of the first page. Your introduction may be longer than that, and it may take more than one paragraph, but be sure you know why. The size of your introduction should bear some relationship to the length and complexity of your paper. A twenty page paper may call for a two-page introduction, but a five-page paper will not.

Some general advice about introductions
? Get to the point as soon as possible. Generally, you

want to raise your topic in your very first sentences. A common error is to begin too broadly or too far off topic. Avoid sweeping generalizations.

Some general advice about introductions
? If your essay has a thesis, your thesis statement will

typically appear at the end of your introduction, even though that is not a hard-and-fast rule. You may, for example, follow your thesis with a brief road map to your essay that sketches the basic structure of your argument. The longer the paper, the more useful a road map becomes.

Middle: The Body
? The middle, or body, of your essay is its beating heart,

the place where you do the essential work of supporting and developing the thesis by presenting and analyzing evidence. Each of the body paragraphs needs to articulate, support, and develop one specific claim—a debatable idea directly related to, but smaller and more specific than, the thesis. This claim should be stated fairly early in the paragraph in a topic sentence.

Middle: The Body
? And every sentence in the paragraph should help

prove, or elaborate on, that claim. Indeed, each paragraph ideally should build from an initial, general statement of the claim to the more complex form of it that you develop by presenting and analyzing evidence. In this way, each paragraph functions like a miniature essay with its own thesis, body, and conclusion.

Middle: The Body
? Your essay as a whole should develop logically just as

each paragraph does. To ensure that that happens, you need to: ? 1. Order your paragraphs so that each builds on the last, with one idea following another in a logical sequence. The goal is to lay out a clear path for the reader. Like any path, it should go somewhere. Don?t just prove your point; develop it. ? 2. Present each idea/paragraph so that the logic behind the sequential order is clear. Try to start each paragraph with a sentence that functions as a bridge, carrying the reader from one point to the next. Don?t make the reader have to leap.

Ending: The Conclusion
? A strong conclusion will provide a sense of closure to

the essay while again placing your concepts in a somewhat wider context. It will also, in some instances, add a stimulus to further thought.

Ending: The Conclusion
? In terms of their purpose (not their content),

conclusions are introductions in reverse. Whereas introductions draw readers away from their world and into your essay, conclusions send them back. Introductions work to convince readers that they should read the essay. Conclusions work to show them why and how the experience was worthwhile. You should approach conclusions, then, by thinking about what sort of lasting impression you want to create. What precisely do you want readers to take with them as they journey back into the “real world”?

Ending: The Conclusion
? Don?t repeat what you?ve already said. If the essay has

done its job to this point, and especially if the essay is relatively short, your readers may feel bored and insulted if they get a mere summary. You should clarify anything that needs clarifying, but go a little beyond that. The best essays are rounded wholes in which conclusions do, in a sense, circle back to the place where they started. However, the best essays remind readers of where they began only in order to give them a more palpable sense of how far they?ve come.

Some general advice about conclusions
? A conclusion is not merely a summary of your points

or a re-statement of your thesis. If you wish to summarize—and often you must—do so in fresh language. Remind the reader of how the evidence you've presented has contributed to your thesis. ? The conclusion, like much of the rest of the paper, involves critical thinking. Reflect upon the significance of what you've written. Try to convey some closing thoughts about the larger implications of your argument.

Some general advice about conclusions
? Broaden your focus a bit at the end of the essay. A

good last sentence leaves your reader with something to think about, a concept in some way illuminated by what you?ve written in the paper. ? For most essays, one well-developed paragraph is sufficient for a conclusion. In some cases, a two-orthree paragraph conclusion may be appropriate. As with introductions, the length of the conclusion should reflect the length of the essay.

Structure
? Though there are no easy formulas for generating an

outline, you can avoid one of the most common pitfalls in student papers by remembering this simple principle: the structure of an essay should not be determined by the structure of its source material. For example, an essay on an historical period should not necessarily follow the chronology of events from that period. Similarly, a well-constructed essay about a literary work does not usually progress in parallel with the plot. Your obligation is to advance your argument, not to reproduce the plot.

Structure
? If your essay is not well structured, then its overall

weaknesses will show through in the individual paragraphs. Consider the following two paragraphs from two different English essays, both arguing that despite Hamlet?s highly developed moral nature he becomes morally compromised in the course of the play:

Sample paragraph 1
? (1) In Act 3, Scene 4, Polonius hides behind an

arras in Gertrude’s chamber in order to spy on Hamlet at the bidding of the king. Detecting something stirring, Hamlet draws his sword and kills Polonius, thinking he has killed Claudius. Gertrude exclaims, “O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!” (28), and her words mark the turning point in Hamlet’s moral decline. Now Hamlet has blood on his hands, and the blood of the wrong person. But rather than engage in selfcriticism, Hamlet immediately turns his mother’s words against her: “A bloody deed almost as bad, good Mother, as kill a king, and marry with his brother” (29-30).

Sample paragraph 1
? One of Hamlet’s most serious shortcomings

is his unfair treatment of women. He often accuses them of sins they could not have committed. It is doubtful that Gertrude even knows Claudius killed her previous husband. Hamlet goes on to ask Gertrude to compare the image of the two kings, old Hamlet and Claudius. In Hamlet’s words, old Hamlet has “Hyperion’s curls,” “the front of Jove,” and “an eye like Mars” (57-58). Despite Hamlet’s unfair treatment of women, he is motivated by one of his better qualities: his idealism.

Sample paragraph 2
? (2) One of Hamlet’s most serious moral

shortcomings is his unfair treatment of women. In Act 3, Scene 1, he denies to Ophelia ever having expressed his love for her, using his feigned madness as cover for his cruelty. Though his rantings may be an act, they cannot hide his obsessive anger at one particular woman: his mother. He counsels Ophelia to “marry a fool, for wise men know well enough what monsters you make of them” (139-41), thus blaming her in advance for the sin of adultery.

Sample paragraph 2
? The logic is plain: if Hamlet’s mother made a

cuckold out of Hamlet’s father, then all women are capable of doing the same and therefore share the blame. The fact that Gertrude’s hasty remarriage does not actually constitute adultery only underscores Hamlet’s tendency to find in women faults that do not exist. In Act 3, Scene 4, he goes as far as to suggest that Gertrude shared responsibility in the murder of Hamlet’s father (29-30). By condemning women for actions they did not commit, Hamlet is doing just what he accuses Guildenstern of doing to him: he is plucking out the “heart” of their “mystery” (3.2.372-74).

Analysis
? The second of these two paragraphs is much stronger,

largely because it is not plot-driven. It makes a welldefined point about Hamlet?s moral nature and sticks to that point throughout the paragraph. Notice that the paragraph jumps from one scene to another as is necessary, but the logic of the argument moves along a steady path. At any given point in your essays, you will want to leave yourself free to go wherever you need to in your source material. Your only obligation is to further your argument. Paragraph (1) sticks closely to the narrative thread of Act 3, Scene 4, and as a result the paragraph makes several different points with no clear focus.

Sample outline
? Thesis: Despite Hamlet’s highly developed moral

?

? ? ?

?

nature, he becomes morally compromised while delaying his revenge. I. Introduction: Hamlet’s father asks Hamlet not only to seek vengeance but also to keep his mind untainted. II. Hamlet has a highly developed moral nature. A. Hamlet is idealistic. B. Hamlet is aware of his own faults, whereas others are self-satisfied. C. Hamlet does not want to take revenge without grounds for acting.

Sample outline
? III. Hamlet becomes morally compromised while ? ?

?

? ?

delaying. A. The turning point in Hamlet’s moral decline is his killing of Polonius. B. Hamlet’s moral decline continues when he sends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to their death. C. Hamlet already began his moral decline before the turning point in the play, the killing of Polonius. 1. Hamlet treats women badly. 2. Hamlet criticizes others in the play for acting falsely to get ahead, but in adopting the disguise of madness he, too, is presenting a false face to the world.

Sample outline
? IV. Though Hamlet becomes more

compromised the longer he delays, killing the king would have been a morally questionable act. ? V. Conclusion: The play Hamlet questions the adequacy of a system of ethics based on honour and revenge.

What is a reverse outline?
? When you have completed your first draft, and you

think your paper can be better organized, consider using a reverse outline. Reverse outlines are simple to create. Just read through your essay, and every time you make a new point, summarize it in the margin. If the essay is reasonably well-organized, you should have one point in the margin for each paragraph, and your points read out in order should form a coherent argument. You might, however, discover that some of your points are repeated at various places in your essay.

What is a reverse outline?
? Other points may be out of place, and still other key

points may not appear at all. Think of all these points as the ingredients of an improved outline which you now must create. Use this new outline to cut and paste the sentences into a revised version of your essay, consolidating points that appear in several parts of your essay while eliminating repetition and creating smooth transitions where necessary. ? You can improve even the most carefully planned essay by creating a reverse outline after completing your first draft. The process of revision should be as much about organization as it is about style.

Using Topic Sentences
? What is a topic sentence? ? A topic sentence states the main point of a paragraph: it

serves as a mini-thesis for the paragraph. You might think of it as a signpost for your readers—or a headline— something that alerts them to the most important, interpretive points in your essay. When read in sequence, your essay?s topic sentences will provide a sketch of the essay?s argument. Thus topics sentences help protect your readers from confusion by guiding them through the argument. But topic sentences can also help you to improve your essay by making it easier for you to recognize gaps or weaknesses in your argument.

Sample paragraph
? The tragic hero is typically on top of the wheel of

fortune, half-way between human society on the ground and the something greater in the sky. Prometheus, Adam, and Christ hang between heaven and earth, between a world of paradisal freedom and a world of bondage. Tragic heroes are so much the highest points in their human landscape that they seem the inevitable conductors of the power about them, great trees more likely to be struck by lightning than a clump of grass. Conductors may of course be instruments as well as victims of the divine lightning: Milton?s Samson destroys the Philistine temple with himself, and Hamlet nearly exterminates the Danish court in his own fall.

Sample paragraph
? The structure of Frye?s paragraph is simple yet

powerful: the topic sentence makes an abstract point, and the rest of the paragraph elaborates on that point using concrete examples as evidence.

How do I come up with a topic sentence?
? How do I come up with a topic sentence? And

what makes a good one? ? Ask yourself what?s going on in your paragraph. Why have you chosen to include the information you have? Why is the paragraph important in the context of your argument? What point are you trying to make?

How do I come up with a topic sentence?
? Relating your topic sentences to your thesis can help

strengthen the coherence of your essay. If you include a thesis statement in your introduction, then think of incorporating a keyword from that statement into the topic sentence. But you need not be overly explicit when you echo the thesis statement. Better to be subtle rather than heavy-handed. Do not forget that your topic sentence should do more than just establish a connection between your paragraph and your thesis.

How do I come up with a topic sentence?
? Use a topic sentence to show how your paragraph

contributes to the development of your argument by moving it that one extra step forward. If your topic sentence merely restates your thesis, then either your paragraph is redundant or your topic sentence needs to be reformulated. If several of your topic sentences restate your thesis, even if they do so in different words, then your essay is probably repetitive.

Conventions That Can Cause Problems
? Tenses ? Essays about literature tend to function almost wholly

in the present tense, a practice that can take some getting used to. The rationale is that the action within any literary work never stops: a text simply, always is. Thus yesterday, today, and tomorrow, Ophelia goes mad; “The Lost World” asks what it means to grow up; Wordsworth sees nature as an avenue to God; and so on. When in doubt, stick to the present tense when writing about literature.

Conventions That Can Cause Problems
? Titles ? Underline or italicize the titles of all books and works ? ? ?

?
? ? ?

published independently, including: long poems (Endymion; Paradise Lost) plays (A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Death and the King’s Horseman) periodicals: newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, and the like (New York Times; College English) Use quotation marks for the titles of works that have been published as part of longer works, including: short stories (“A Rose for Emily”; “Happy Endings”) essays and periodical articles (“A Rose for ?A Rose for Emily?”; “Art and Ideology in Far from the Madding Crowd”) poems (“Daddy”; “Ode to a Nightingale”)

Conventions That Can Cause Problems
? Generally speaking, you should capitalize the first

word of every title, as well as all the other words that aren?t either articles (e.g., the, a); prepositions (e.g., among, in, through); or conjunctions (e.g., and, but). One exception to this rule is the poem in which the first line substitutes for a missing title (a category that includes everything by Emily Dickinson, as well as the sonnets of Shakespeare and Edna St. Vincent Millay). In such cases, only the first word is capitalized. Often, the entire phrase is placed in brackets—as in “[Let me not to the marriage of true minds]”—but you will just as often see such titles without brackets.

Conventions That Can Cause Problems
? Names ? When first referring to an author, use his or her full

name; thereafter, use the last name. (For example, although you may feel a real kinship with Robert Frost, you will appear disrespectful if you refer to him as Robert.) ? With characters? names, use the literary work as a guide. Because “Bartleby, the Scrivener” always refers to its characters as Bartleby, Turkey, and Nippers, so should you. But because “The Management of Grief” refers to Judith Templeton either by her full name or by her first name, it would be odd and confusing to call her Templeton.

Enlisting help
? Keep in mind that writing needn?t be a solitary

enterprise. Most writers—working in every genre, at every level—get inspiration, guidance, help, and feedback from other people throughout the writing process, and so can you. … Since every essay will ultimately have to engage readers, why not bring some actual readers and fellow writers into the writing process? Use class discussions to generate and test out essay topics and theses. Ask the instructor to clarify assignments or to talk with you about your plans. Have classmates, friends, or roommates read your drafts.

Assessing the Elements
? The first step in revision is to make sure that all the

elements or working parts of the essay are indeed working. To help with that process, run through the following checklist in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your draft. Try to answer each question honestly.

Checklist : thesis
? Thesis ? Is there one claim that effectively controls the essay? ? Is the claim debatable? ? Does the claim demonstrate real thought? Does it

truly illuminate the text and the topic? ? Cf. Slide No. 12

Checklist: structure
? Structure ? BEGINNING ? Does the introduction establish a clear motive for

readers, effectively convincing them that there?s something worth thinking, reading, and writing about here? ? Does it give readers all (and only) the basic information they need about the text, author, and/or topic? ? Does the introduction clearly state the central claim or thesis? Is it obvious which claim is the thesis?

Checklist: structure
? MIDDLE ? Does each paragraph state one debatable claim? Is the main claim

?
? ?

?

?

always obvious? Does everything in the paragraph relate to, and help to support and develop, that claim? Is each of those claims clearly related to (but different from) the thesis? Are the claims/paragraphs logically ordered? Is that logic clear? Is each claim clearly linked to those that come before and after? Are there any logical “leaps” that readers might have trouble taking? Does each claim/paragraph clearly build on the last one? Does the argument move forward, or does it seem more like a list or a tour through a museum of interesting observations? Do any key claims or steps in the argument seem to be missing?

Checklist: structure
? TIP: You may be better able to discover structural

weaknesses if you: ? re-outline your draft as it is. Copy your thesis statement and each of your topic sentences into a separate document. Then pose the above questions. OR ? read through the essay with highlighters of various colors in hand. As you read, color-code parts that could be restatements of the same or closely related ideas. Then reorganize to match up the colors.

Checklist: structure
? ENDING ? Does the conclusion give readers the sense that

they?ve gotten somewhere and that the journey has been worthwhile? ? Does it indicate the implications of the argument, consider relevant evaluative questions, and/or discuss questions that remain unanswered?

Checklist: evidence
? Evidence ? Is there ample, appropriate evidence for each claim? ? Are the appropriateness and significance of each fact—its ?

?

?
?

relevance to the claim—perfectly clear? Are there any weak examples or inferences that aren?t reasonable? Are there moments when readers might ask, "But couldn?t that fact instead mean this?" Is all the evidence considered? What about facts that might complicate or contradict the argument? Are there moments when readers might think, "But what about this other fact?" Is each piece of evidence clearly presented? Do readers have all the contextual information they need to understand a quotation? Is each piece of evidence gracefully presented? Are quotations varied by length and presentation? Are they ever too long? Are there any unnecessary block quotations, or block quotations that require additional analysis?

? Though you want to pay attention to all of the elements,

first drafts often have similar weaknesses. There are three especially common ones: ? Mismatch between thesis and argument or between introduction and body Sometimes a first or second draft ends up being a tool for discovering what your thesis really is. As a result, you may find that the thesis of your draft (or your entire introduction) doesn?t fit the argument you?ve ended up making. You thus need to start your revision by reworking the thesis and introduction. Then work your way back through the essay, making sure that each claim or topic sentence fits the new thesis.

? The list, or “museum tour,” structure

In a draft, writers sometimes present each claim as if it were just an item on a list (First, second, and so on) or as a stop on a tour of ideas (And this is also important ...). But presenting your ideas in this way keeps you and your readers from making logical connections between ideas. It may also prevent your argument from developing. Sometimes it can even be a symptom of the fact that you?ve ceased arguing entirely, falling into mere plot summary or description. Check to see if number-like words or phrases appear prominently at the beginning of your paragraphs or if your paragraphs could be put into a different order without fundamentally changing what you?re saying. At times, solving this problem will require wholesale rethinking and reorganizing. But at other times, you will just need to add or rework topic sentences. Make sure that there?s a clearly stated, debatable claim up-front and in charge of each paragraph and that each claim relates to, but differs from, the thesis.

? Missing sub-ideas

You may find that you?ve skipped a logical step in your argument—that the claim you make in, say, body paragraph 3 actually depends on, or makes sense only in light of, a more basic claim that you took for granted in your draft. In that case, you?ll need to create and insert a new paragraph that articulates, supports, and develops this key claim.

Editing and Proofreading
? Once you?ve gotten the overall argument in good shape,

it?s time to focus on the small but important stuff—words and sentences. Your prose should not only convey your ideas to your readers but also demonstrate how much you care about your essay. Flawless prose can?t disguise a vapid or illogical argument, but faulty, flabby prose can destroy a potentially persuasive and thoughtful one. Don?t sabotage all your hard work by failing to correct misspelled words, grammatical problems, misquotations, incorrect citations, or typographical errors. Little oversights make all the difference when it comes to clarity and credibility.

? Though you will want to check all of the following aspects

of your essay, it will probably be easier to spot mistakes and weaknesses if you read through the essay several times, concentrating each time on one specific aspect. ? Every writer has individual weaknesses and strengths, and every writer tends to be overly fond of certain phrases and sentence structures. With practice, you will learn to watch out for the kinds of mistakes to which you are most prone. Eventually, you can and should develop your own personalized editing checklist.

checklist
Sentences Does each one read clearly and crisply? Are they varied in length, structure, and word order? Is my phrasing direct rather than roundabout? TIPS: Try circling, or using your computer to search for, every preposition and to be verb. Since these can lead to confusion or roundabout phrasing, weed out as many as you can. ? Try reading your paper aloud or having your roommate read it to you. Note places where you stumble, and listen for sentences that are hard to get through or understand.
? ? ? ? ? ?

? Words ? Have I used any words whose meaning I?m not sure of? ? Are the idioms used correctly? Is my terminology correct?

? Do my key words always mean exactly the same thing?
? Do I ever use a fancy word or phrase where a simpler one ? ? ? ?

?

might do? Are there any unnecessary words or phrases? Do my metaphors and figures of speech make literal sense? Are my verbs active and precise? Are my pronoun references clear and correct? Do my subjects and verbs always agree?

? Mechanics ? Is every quotation correctly worded and punctuated? ? Is the source of each quotation clearly indicated through

parenthetical citation? ? Have I checked the spelling of words I?m not sure of? (Remember that spell-checks won?t indicate how to spell every word and that they sometimes create mistakes by substituting the wrong word for the misspelled one.) ? Are my pages numbered? ? Does the first page of my essay clearly indicate my name (and any other required identifying information), as well as my essay?s title?

Crafting a Title
? Crafting a Title ? Complete your essay by giving it a title. As any researcher

trying to locate and assess sources by browsing titles will tell you, titles are extremely important. They?re the first thing readers encounter and a writer?s first opportunity to create a good impression and to shape readers? expectations. Every good essay deserves a good title. And a good title is one that both informs and interests. Inform readers by telling them both the work(s) your essay will analyze and something about your topic. Interest them with an especially vivid and telling word or a short phrase from the literary work (" ?We all said, "she will kill herself " ?: The Narrator/Detec-tive in William Faulkner?s ?A Rose for Emily? "), with a bit of wordplay (" ?Tintern Abbey? and the Art of Artlessness"), or with a little of both ("A Rose for ?A Rose for Emily? ").


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