English Question

I’m working on a english question and need guidance to help me study.

  • Be written in relation to what you discussed in the Final Paper Proposal
  • Have a descriptive title that is not overly general or vague
  • Be approximately 8-10 pages in length (~1800-2000 words) and typed
    • Note: The revised draft of your final paper will need to meet this page/word count length, but your first draft can be shorter (aim for 1000-1500 words)
  • Be double-spaced with 1-inch margins, in Times New Roman 12 pt. font, using proper MLA citations
  • Have a straightforward and compelling thesis/proposition that makes a significant and research-based argument about your topic in 1-2 sentencesStrong theses should be 1) arguable, 2) insightful/not obvious, 3) straightforward/clear, 4) specifically tailored to the texts/research included in your paper, 5) able to be supported with textual evidence.
    • Provisional/vague thesis: “In this paper, I will explore how Mark Twain develops a contrast between life on the river and life on the shore in Huckleberry Finn.”
      • Note how this thesis tells us little except that “river life” and “shore life” are vaguely different and contrasting. Also note how the use of “I” puts a passive focus on narrating what the author is doing rather than actively establishing a more direct claim. The use of “will” also suggests that something will be done… eventually… which highlights how nothing has been accomplished in the present—make sure to go back and replace these “I will…” kinds of statements with more direct claims once you know your argument.
    • Direct/specific thesis: “Through its contrasting river and shore scenes, Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn suggests that to find the true expression of American freedom, one must leave ‘civilized’ society and go back to nature.”
      • Note how this thesis presents a substantive interpretation of a literary work based on an analysis of its content as well as an assessment of its significance (i.e., it answers the “so what?”/ “what is at stake?” question of the text’s purpose/meaning). Arguments based on other kinds of texts beyond literature should still seek to synthesize those sources together to make a specific, nuanced claim that holds across all of them.
  • Consistently use direct quotes from at least 3 scholarly sources as evidence/background to support your argument/thesis
  • Be written in present tense, as per MLA style guidelines
  • Include a Works Cited page

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