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Tutor profile: Emily N.

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Emily N.
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Questions

Subject: Writing

TutorMe
Question:

I'm writing an argumentative essay. What makes a really, really good introduction paragraph?

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Emily N.
Answer:

Try this: -The overall goal: to introduce your essay's topic (shocking, I know). The trick is in finding a balance between being vague enough to spark your reader's interest, while also giving an idea of what they're getting themselves into. -Cover your bases: if you're making an argument, then you're usually challenging something. It could be something someone else has argued, a widely held belief, etc. Make sure you introduce what you're challenging. If you'll be focusing on a specific person or book, introduce them as well. -The most important part: your thesis. Imagine your thesis as your lifeline; it should be present (to some degree) in every single paragraph, so if your thesis is faulty then so is your paper. A good thesis is interesting, arguable, logical, and well-supported. -The magic ingredient: the "So What?" Literally, so what? Why does what you're arguing matter? Why is it different than what others have argued before? It's not always going to be headline-worthy, but it should be the light at the end of the tunnel that carries you (and the reader) through the essay. Avoid this: -It's not good practice for the first sentence to be a quote. If you use quotes at all in the intro, make sure it's not very long and that it applies directly to either 1) what you are challenging, 2) why you are challenging it, or 3) your thesis. -You don't need much background explanation or specific details, that's the juicy stuff to save for your body paragraphs. -It really comes back to finding a balance: you want to stay pretty general in the intro, but try to steer clear of cliches or aphorisms. For example, don't start an essay on the Baroque style with "If it ain't broke, then don't fix it."

Subject: Literature

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Question:

How do I know what the author intended to be a symbol, and what that symbol should mean? And what if I think something's a symbol that the author didn't?

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Emily N.
Answer:

First thing-- a symbol is a literary device where a visual object is used to convey an abstract meaning. Second thing-- what makes literature amazing is that its interpretation is subjective! Everyone will interpret the same text differently because their personal biases, experiences, interests, and opinions will affect their perception. So, there are rarely black and white answers to questions like finding and deciphering symbolism. And finally-- there are some tricks to finding symbols (listed below). It really is in the interpretation of the symbol that you can derive your own meaning. 1) Keep an eye out for any object that is described in special detail, is clearly very important to the protagonist, and/or keeps reappearing throughout the story. 2) There are some archetype symbols like a crown symbolizing royalty, a rose symbolizing love, black cats symbolizing bad luck etc. 3) Colors, nature, and weather are also often used to portray abstract ideas.

Subject: English

TutorMe
Question:

Make the sentence below grammatically correct, formal, and direct (i.e. effective). Original: In my opinion-- the character Stanley Kowalski in Tennessee Williams play A Streetcar Named Desire had characteristics like aggression, masculinity and strength, that were exaggerated on purpose; so that Tennessee could bring to light that Stanley was actually very insecure and manipulative and that many other men in society do that as well.

Inactive
Emily N.
Answer:

Revised: In Tennessee Williams' play, "A Streetcar Named Desire," Stanley Kowalski exhibits aggressive masculinity almost to the point of hyperbole; in so doing, Williams' characterization functions as social commentary which sheds light on the patriarchal tendency to mask insecurity by any means necessary.

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