Welcome to the end of the course! The rest of our material is devoted to bringing the different components of your research papers together and polishing them up. As always, if you have any questions please let me know as soon as possible, and feel free to post questions on the Discussion Board as well. Ultimately, this essay should have 5 parts. Introduction Summary and analysis of one article on “The Red Wheelbarrow”(Any article about the poem will be fine.) Summary and analysis of another article “The Red Wheelbarrow”(Same as above any article about the poem will be fine.) Your own analysis of “The Red Wheelbarrow” Brief conclusion Because of what has happened to all classes this semester, don’t be concerned with page length for this essay. You want to have all five parts of the essay, but there is no specific length or word count. So let’s talk about putting this all together. When we started this paper project, you posted a Discussion on what you thought the poem “The Red Wheelbarrow” was about. After that, you conducted academic research on the poem. You found articles discussing what the poem is about. Most recently, you worked summarizing and analyzing those articles. To finish the essay, you’re going to combine that information into an essay with an introduction, body, and conclusion. Specifically, this lecture will focus on four things. Introduction. Conclusion. Transitions. Checklist. Introduction: In standard academic writing, an introduction is supposed to do three things. 1) Introduce the topic. 2) Provide a thesis statement. 3) Get the reader’s attention. It can do these in any order, and sometimes you can accomplish all three with more or less the same sentence. But let’s look at them separately. For the last one, getting the reader’s attention, while you don’t have to open your essay with some amazing fact or powerful quote, you do want to bring the reader in with something interesting. You could mention something about the author’s life, or something about what a person has said about the text or perhaps some facts regarding the publication history of the poem. You also need to provide a thesis that explains what your essay is about. Please note: While I obviously know what your essays will do since I assigned the topic, you do not want to write as if it’s for a class or for an assigned topic. In other words, don’t write “for my essay I chose…” or “for this assignment I looked at…” or “for my two critical sources I found…” or anything like that. Your thesis therefore must inform the reader as to what you plan to do in the essay. It doesn’t need to be complicated. You might write something like “While it can be argued that “The Red Wheelbarrow” is a poem about the importance of beauty, it is also interesting to note what previous critics have said.” This would tell your reader that you are going to make a point that the poem is about beauty, but you’re also going to look at other interpretations. Conclusion: Many of you have been told throughout your academic educations to restate your thesis in the conclusion. While that’s ok, if your essay is relatively short (less than, say, 15 pages), and if it was well written, you really don’t have to do that. Your reader just read it. He/She knows what you said. No need to repeat it. It’s better to just wrap it up. One good method is to refer back to something you mentioned in the introduction (this is called the “framing” pattern, because your intro and conclusion frame the essay). But in any case, don’t spend too much time on the conclusion. By the time you get there, you generally want to finish writing, and your reader generally wants to finish reading. Transitions: As you move from one section of the essay to another, you want to use transitions to guide your reader along. So after your introduction, perhaps something like “In the 97 years since Williams published this poem, it has received a considerable amount of critical attention. One such analysis is…” As you move from the first critic to the next, you might write something like: “Another critic who has analyzed Williams’s text is…..” As you move from the critics to your own point, you might write something like “While most critical analyses of this text have noted its attention to an image, few have observed that Williams is also talking about simple beauty” The idea behind these transitions, like the overall thesis in the introduction, is to prepare your readers for what is coming next. Checklist: The following checklist can be used for almost all the essays you will write, not just this one. Obviously, you should proofread carefully (having other people read your work is one of the best ways). We talked about the “divided draft” technique, which can take a bit longer for these longer essays, but is still very effective. As always, feel free to e-mail me any questions or to post them on the Discussion Board. Good luck brining the essay together, and best of luck finishing the semester. Paper Checklist Paper presentation Does the paper look “correct?” Are Font, margins, spacing, heading, page numbers correct? Does the paper have paragraph breaks? Title Does the paper have a title? Is the title properly formatted? (NOT underlined, italicized, in quotations marks, in bold, larger in font) Is the title interesting? Introduction Does the intro do the three things an intro should do? Introduce the topic Provide a thesis Get the reader’s attention Paragraphing Are there separate paragraphs? Are there transitions between paragraphs? Are there topic sentences in the beginnings of paragraphs? Quoting Are all quotes properly introduced and cited? Do the quotes fit, make sense, and add to the essay? Do the quotes dominate the essay? Does it have a separate Works Cited? Style Sentences Do your sentences vary in length? Do your sentences vary in the way they begin? Vocabulary Do you use exciting vocabulary? Do you avoid clichés? Do you repeat certain words or phrases?
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