Guidelines for writing a literary essay
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This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue https: When writiing this page, you must include the entire legal notice at bottom. This handout provides examples and description about writing papers in literature.
It discusses research topics, how to begin to research, how to use information, and formatting. Mark Guidelines for writing a literary essay, Purdue OWL What Makes a Good Literature Paper?
An argument When you write an extended literary literagy, often one requiring research, you are essentially making an argument. You are arguing that your perspective-an interpretation, an evaluative judgment, writing a critical evaluation-is a valid one. A debatable thesis statement Like any argument paper you have ever written for a first-year composition course, you must have a specific, detailed thesis statement that reveals your perspective, and, like any good argument, your perspective must be one which is debatable.
You're not writing an essay to list works that have nothing in common other than a general topic like "spirituality. Are you leaving anything out? Eliminate ideas that will not work. Take risks guidelines for writing a literary essay try unexpected arrangements. They can be great for supporting your argument. Make sure your argument doesn't pick and choose which parts of the text to address and which parts to ignore. You may want to hold this off till the end, when your paper is fully writibg and your argument is clear.
Examples You liteeary not want to make an argument of this sort: Shakespeare's Hamlet is a play about a young man who seeks revenge. That doesn't say anything-it's basically just a summary and is hardly debatable. A better thesis would be this: Hamlet experiences internal conflict because he is in love with his mother.
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That is debatable, controversial even. The rest of a paper with this argument as its thesis will be an attempt to show, using specific examples from the text and evidence from scholars, 1 how Hamlet wssay in love with his mother, 2 why he's in love with her, and 3 what implications there are for reading the play in this manner.
You also want to avoid a thesis statement like this: Spirituality means different things to different people. King Lear, The Book of Romans, and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance each view guidelinfs spirit differently.
Guirelines also want to avoid a thesis statement like this: You might discuss a character's development -- how the individual changes from the beginning to the end of the work. In creative writing this may be less structured than in an argumentative essay. You are arguing that your perspective-an interpretation, an evaluative judgment, or a critical evaluation-is a valid one.
Again, that says nothing that's not already self-evident. Why bother writing a paper about that?
You're not writing an essay to list works that have nothing in wriitng rwiting than a general topic like "spirituality. That point is your thesis. Lear, Romans, and Zen each view the soul as the center of human personality. Then you prove it, using examples from the texts that show that the soul is the center of personality.