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Tutor profile: Hannah M.

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Hannah M.
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Questions

Subject: Writing

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Question:

How can I make my writing stronger on a sentence level?

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Hannah M.
Answer:

There are several easy things you can do that will immediately make your writing stronger. Vary your sentence length. By having short, punchy sentences interspersed with long, flowing sentences, you can hold reader attention and make your writing pleasing to read. However, longer sentences do not mean sentences with a lot of unnecessary words. Avoid using a lot of longer, flowery words - and never use a word if you are not sure of its meaning. Language can be beautiful and it's fine to embrace that, but don't add flourishes for the sake of showing off. Your writing will be stronger if every word has a purpose and everything is working together. Read your writing out loud. Though a piece of writing is not going to have the same cadence as an everyday conversation, it's useful - even outside of dialog - to listen to how things sound. Sometimes this will help catch something awkward - like an awkwardly constructed sentence, for example - that you couldn't put your finger on otherwise.

Subject: Library and Information Science

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Question:

What does it mean to be a librarian in the modern world?

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Hannah M.
Answer:

When people say libraries are obsolete, they mean instead that their perception of old-fashioned libraries is outdated. As technology advances, libraries have and must continue to change to meet it. Libraries still provide valuable service, and in rural areas public libraries can serve as the hub of their communities. Libraries offer a free, community space that costs nothing. They offer services like Wi-Fi, public computers, books (including ebooks), online databases, programming for both adults and children - and some libraries offer things like 3D printing, media and maker spaces, and even check-outs of things like museum passes, instruments, or art. Being a librarian is much, much more than simply checking out books. The role of a librarian may shift and we will see more librarians curating digital libraries or working with information architecture or even human-computer interaction. Librarians are skilled in research and organization, which are both valuable, and many now have technical skills as well. In addition, open access to and freedom of information are still important, and librarians are working everyday to promote that.

Subject: Literature

TutorMe
Question:

How does Edgar Allen Poe's poem "The Raven" deal with death?

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Hannah M.
Answer:

The poem does something very interesting: it never explicitly mentions death - in fact, the word "death" never appears in the poem. And yet we immediately understand that, to some degree or another, Lenore is gone. She exists only in the narrator's mind and the poem itself. The narrator questions the raven, desperate for some hope to cling to that Lenore might be waiting for him in the afterlife – but the raven never gives him a concrete answer. Lenore is no longer even herself, she is a memory, just a shadow. Just, in effect, a thing. This has happened not only to Lenore, but in a way to the narrator himself. He is just a memory, entombed in that same chamber, reanimated by each new reader who comes across the poem. The poem comments on how literature can be affecting, as the narrator tells us he seeks "surcease of surrow" from his books. And, in the telling itself, he is creating his own immortality. He is telling his story as a poem, in a very structured, literary way. He has, to some degree, an awareness of his own participation in the poem. However, though the subjects are given a life that extends beyond their deaths, it does not necessarily follow that the life has meaning. The life is empty: just words on a page. Both Lenore and the narrator have lived on through the poem, but haunted by the specter of the raven and the never-ending existence, as long as the poem exists, this life after death is a curse.

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