Tutor profile: Hattie P.
For many first-year writing students, the creation of an effective introductory paragraph may feel daunting. However, there are three (3) basic components to introductory paragraphs that, once mastered, are easily applied and adapted for a wide range of essay topics. Please list the three basic components of an introductory paragraph below and explain their function.
Hook: The initial sentences of the introductory paragraph should attract the reader’s attention and present an interesting gateway for the reader’s entrance into the essay. Transitional/Background Information: The next several sentences of the introductory paragraph should build upon the interest gained by the hook to provide relevant background information for the reader about the chosen topic. The information should be concise but general, as it will be explored in-depth within the body of the essay. This section should also transition the reader from the hook’s broader view of the topic to the more nuanced, narrow argument that will be presented in the thesis statement. Thesis Statement: Generally the last sentence of the introductory paragraph, the thesis statement should clearly and effectively state the essay’s topic, the author’s stance on the topic, and arguments that the author intends to make during the course of the essay.
As students progress in their study of literature, they should be able to identify and explain the themes/tropes/characteristics used to broadly define and delineate commonly-recognized literary genres. Please identify at least three (3) themes/tropes/characteristics that are indicative of the Southern Gothic genre and briefly explain them below.
Setting/Sense of Place: text is set in either a real or imaginary location that is similar to environments in the United States South and/or demonstrates a strong sense of familial, social, and/or personal ties to the area. Monstrosity/the Grotesque: text includes characters or elements that are considered monstrous, grotesque, and/or genetically/intellectually inferior against which many of the other characters are pitted or judged. Dark Humor: text includes observations, situations, or narratives that utilize dark humor, humor based on death, bodily injury, or perverse situations, to reveal fundamental truths about the region and/or its inhabitants. Taboo Acts/Alienation: text includes characters who perform acts considered heinous, repulsive or socially taboo and are thus alienated society; similarly, characters may themselves be the recipients of taboo actions (such as rape or incest) or acted upon by outside forces in such a way that they are alienated through no fault of their own.
Often, students struggle with pronoun-antecedent agreement when faced with indefinite pronouns such as everyone, somebody, or each. For the following sentence, provide the pronoun that agrees with the antecedent, and explain why that pronoun is correct. Somebody let the cat out of the house, and now _____ better find it before mother gets home.
The correct answer is “he or she”. Because the subject in this sentence is the indefinite pronoun “somebody”, it is considered singular in all contexts. Therefore, any use of the pronoun “somebody” would necessitate the use of the singular, gender-neutral pronouns “he or she”, unless the gender of the people being discussed is obvious. The pronoun “they” seems correct because we often use it in this way during speech, but “they” is plural, and so is incorrect.
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