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Tutor profile: Allison N.

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Allison N.
Writing and English Tutor (and Teacher!)
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Questions

Subject: Writing

TutorMe
Question:

How can you keep yourself from procrastinating so much on a writing assignment that you have to ask for an extension, or worse--you fail to turn it in?

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Allison N.
Answer:

The hardest part about writing is that it takes dedication, diligence, and self-motivation. The best way to start a writing assignment is to just start it. One of the easiest ways is to resist the temptation to open a document on your computer and start typing your "final draft," as that is too much pressure, and rather open a notebook page and do some free writing on your topic. Free writing is when you simply set a timer for however long you want to write (5 minutes would be a good place to start your first time), and then you must keep writing for that full time. You will hopefully write about your topic, but if you draw blanks you should write something like "writing writing I need to keep writing I am lost." Don't worry about punctuation or the beauty of your language. This is a brainstorming exercise that, even if it only produces one quality idea, will help you get started. Once your timer ends, go back and read your free write with a highlighter. Highlight any parts that seem useful to your topic. We can then go from there with a graphic organizer like a word web or even an outline. You may determine you need to reread your assignment or even do some more research. But that's for the next stage of writing; for now, simply start with the free write and see where the power of pen on paper takes you.

Subject: Literature

TutorMe
Question:

How might we consider Jekyll and Hyde as an example of the doppelgänger figure in Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson?

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Allison N.
Answer:

The doppelgänger, according to theorists like Karl Miller and Otto Rank, has long been used in ancient storytelling to represent the duality of human nature. Think of the doppelgänger like the evil twin, the double. In Poe's William Wilson, the main character encounters someone with the exact same name, birthday, and appearance, who he believes is haunting him. Hence, this character has an evil twin, a double, or a doppelgänger. In Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, however, the tale takes on some of the ancient, magical methods Miller and Rank attach to the double. We see Dr. Jekyll using a potion and startling scientific discoveries to shape shift into Mr. Hyde, something that should not normally happen. Hyde looks nothing like Jekyll, unlike Poe's example, but Hyde is this "evil" half of Jekyll. He is described by other characters as having some indescribable "deformity" to the face, as "troglodytic," and as "Satan" himself. He murders seemingly innocent victims and rents an apartment in Soho, the shady part of town where the "reputable" Dr. Jekyll never could go. Dr. Jekyll, though seemingly expressing every "capacity of kindness" grows addicted into transforming into Hyde, proving that this is a tale of the doppelgänger, the tale of our evil twin who even lurks within.

Subject: English

TutorMe
Question:

What is a misplaced modifier and why do we need to care about it?

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Allison N.
Answer:

A misplaced modifier is a phrase that is in the wrong physical position in a sentence. This "misplacement" makes the phrase "modify" or describe something it shouldn't. For example, if you wrote "John, on his car, washed the windows," the structure of this sentence tells us that John is physically sitting on his car while washing some windows--maybe his car windows, maybe not. If you want to say that he washed his car windows, you should move the misplaced modifier "on his car" to the end of the sentence, after windows. "John washed the windows on his car" is much more clear, and doesn't make our mind go in circles!

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