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WRITING IN RESPONSE TO LITERATURE Tips for Writing a Successful Essay.

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Presentation on theme: "WRITING IN RESPONSE TO LITERATURE Tips for Writing a Successful Essay."— Presentation transcript:

1 WRITING IN RESPONSE TO LITERATURE Tips for Writing a Successful Essay

2 AN INTERESTING INTRODUCTION Your introduction should get the reader’s attention. Your introduction should give the title and author of the work you will be discussing. The introduction could give a quote from the book, or some background information. The introduction should lead into your thesis statement. You should NEVER “talk” about what is going to be in the essay.

3 THE KEY TO YOUR ESSAY: AN EFFECTIVE THESIS STATEMENT Your thesis statement should be one sentence that states your argument.  When writing about literature, you are arguing that your perspective, or interpretation, is a valid one. You should have three ideas to validate the argument presented in your thesis statement.  This does not mean you HAVE to stick to the typical three-prong approach. Your thesis statement should NOT be a summary statement. Your thesis statement should NOT be the first sentence of your essay.  Typically the thesis statement is the last sentence of the first paragraph. TOPIC + ACTIVE VERB + ARGUMENT (3 PRONGS) = STRONG THESIS STATEMENT Source: Purdue University Online Writing Lab

4 A WEAK INTRODUCTION & THESIS STATEMENT In the play, lots of people fall in love. Each pair of lovers falls in and out of love. Love is a feeling that you get when you really like someone. There are three sets of people who fall in love in the play: Hermia and Demetrius, Lysander and Helena, and Oberon and Titania.

5 A BETTER INTRODUCTION AND THESIS STATEMENT In the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare, the character of Lysander comments that “the course of true love never did run smooth” (108). This quote conveys the difficulty that lovers face in the play. The difficulty of love is one of the major themes in the play, and it often leads to conflict between the characters. Most of the conflict in the play revolves around the quarrels between Demetrius and Hermia, Lysander and Helena, and Oberon and Titania.

6 ANOTHER STRONG INTRODUCTION AND THESIS STATEMENT Writer Christopher Fry stated that “If the characters [of a play] were not qualified for tragedy, there would be no comedy.” There may be no better demonstration of that quote than in William Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The characters of the play consist mainly of quarreling lovers. The lovers are frequently engaged in both internal and external conflict throughout the play. Those conflicts could have resulted in tragedy, but instead the conflicts provide the comedic background for the play. Shakespeare uses the conflict between the characters in A Midsummer Night’s Dream to advance the humor in the play.

7 SUFFICIENT DETAILS IN BODY PARAGRAPHS Transitions  You must include transitions.  Basic Transitions: First, Second, Third, Finally. Also  Better Transitions: In addition to, On the other hand, Furthermore, Evidence  Evidence can come from common knowledge, facts from the literature, or quotes from the book. Quotes  When using a quote, make sure it is relevant to your topic.  If you insert a quote, you must explain how it furthers the main idea of that paragraph.  Cite it properly. You should include the page number in parentheses after the quote.

8 AVOID SUMMARIZING It is not your job to re-tell the story. Each body paragraph should have a main idea. The main idea of each body paragraph should be a statement that supports the claim (argument) that you made in your thesis statement. The supporting details in each paragraph should contain evidence from the text.

9 AN ADEQUATE CONCLUSION A strong paper can be killed by a weak conclusion.  Your conclusion should be at least 5 sentences, just like the rest of your paragraphs. You are ending your paper, and your argument, by coming to a conclusion based on the evidence you presented in your paper. Your conclusion should re-state your thesis statement in a new way.

10 FORMAT Times New Roman, 12 Double-spaced Heading in the upper, left hand corner Title of the paper should be centered, with no punctuation Title of the book should be italicized every time it appears Paragraphs Indented


12 PROOFREAD Re-read your essay several times to check for errors.  TIP: It may be helpful to print your essay out and make corrections with a red pen. Always use the present tense when writing about literature. Do NOT use contractions. Do NOT use any 1 st /2 nd person words.  1 st Person: I, we, me, my, mine, us, our, ours  2 nd person: You, your, yours Try to amp up your word choice.  Avoid words like “a lot” and “very.” Choose words that are more powerful. Use SpellCheck.

13 SUBMIT YOUR PAPER Save your paper to your flash drive. Go to and submit your paper to the correct folder.  Use the title of your paper as your submission title. Failing to save and submit your paper correctly could cost you points!

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