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Tutor profile: Rachel W.

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Rachel W.
Tutor for eight years; senior in college on a full-ride scholarship for writing skill
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Questions

Subject: Writing

TutorMe
Question:

What is the best way to start writing a paper?

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Rachel W.
Answer:

Always begin by talking about your ideas with a friend or doing a free-write! What sort of paper is this? Is it a persuasive essay? A report? This will help you get your ideas solidified. Sometimes, by allowing yourself to just write, new ideas will come to you. Free-writes take the pressure off of writing. After you finish the free-write, decide on what you want your thesis statement to be. The thesis statement is the most important piece of an essay. All of your essay should point back to this assertion. You should never begin writing a paper by attempting to write the first sentence. Once you have an idea of where you are headed with a free-write and your thesis statement, make an outline. What will each section of your paper discuss? Write down any quotes relevant to your outline points. Now that you have an outline, are your ideas linear? In a persuasive essay, your ideas should build on one another to reach back to your original thesis assertion. If you see your paper doing this, start writing the first body paragraph. Leave your introduction and conclusion for the end! Writing the introduction should almost always be the last thing that you do.

Subject: Shakespeare

TutorMe
Question:

When Shakespeare wrote his "A Midsummer Night's Dream," how did the popular social opinion on Queen Elizabeth's reign influence the gender stereotypes present in his famous work?

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Rachel W.
Answer:

If read superficially, Shakespeare seems to be bringing down Queen Hippolyta in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" through her subjugated state. However, when the cultural connotations are considered, Shakespeare seems to be mocking the strange and ironic gratification that the masculine audience is gaining by watching the Amazonian, the epitome of a divergent woman, brought to her knees. Calderwood asserts that rather than Theseus being a powerful overlord of the Amazons, he seems to be an insecure groom terrified of his future bride. Theseus continuously asserts to Hippolyta that they will gain happiness from their marriage. Calderwood claims that Theseus does this to assure himself about his marriage to Hippolyta because he harbors fear that his future wife might subdue him. Calderwood describes Theseus’ fear of the Amazonian woman: “Perhaps she will demand more than he has to give – or, worse, as a devotee of Diana, disdain all he has to offer – or, worse yet, insist on assuming an “Amazon-on-top’ position!” (Calderwood). Theseus is terrified that his bride will reject or overpower him. By writing Theseus’ as afraid of the powerful Amazonian Hippolyta, Shakespeare mocks the masculine panic that is evident in society because of Queen Elizabeth’s power.

Subject: English

TutorMe
Question:

In Jesmyn Ward's article, "My True South: Why I Decided to Return Home," she writes the following: "The dry air, suffused with heat, felt as if it were flaying me. The plants, so sparse and scraggly, offered no shade, no succor." There is more than one literary device used in these two short sentences. Can you name one or more?

Inactive
Rachel W.
Answer:

These short sentences are beautifully written sentences. Using literary devices, Jesmyn Ward enhances her diction. In the first sentence, Ward uses a simile. She feels "as if" the heat is "flaying" her. Similes and metaphors make a comparison between two things. These literary devices are quite common, but they are also quite commonly misunderstood. The secret to identifying similes from metaphors is looking for the author's use of the words "like" or "as." When an author uses a metaphor, they will say something like "The sky is fire." The sky is obviously not fire, but the author wants to draw this literal comparison. If the author were to make this sentence into a simile it would say, "The sky was like fire." In both sentences, Ward uses alliteration. Alliteration is the repetition of sounds to create a poetic effect on a piece of writing. The words "so," "sparse," "scraggly," "shade," and "succor" have roughly the same sound at the beginning. Ward does this to allow her reader to be further sucked into the power of her story through poetic language.

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