Tutor profile: Claire M.
What is the best advice a teacher could give a student wanting to improve their persuasive or argumentative essay technique?
Anyone who wants to argue or persuade someone else to their point of view in a piece of writing needs to meet four key criteria: 1) A clear claim or hypothesis to make at the outset (thesis statement). 2) A logical structure that sets out the argument step by step in well-organized paragraphs. 3) Compelling evidence or examples - which might include anecdotes or statistics. 4) An engaging style to keep the reader interested - much enhanced by exact word choice, good sentence variety, and the occasional use of original figurative language.
In Shakespeare's play, 'Othello', what do we learn about the nature of jealousy and its affect on reason and self-control?
Shakespeare is fascinated by the passions that drive human beings and take them to extremes. His plays can be viewed anatomies of these passions and in 'Othello' the focus is upon jealousy - not only the protagonist's jealousy, but the jealousy of Iago, the antagonist. We see the slow escalation of jealousy into a self-consuming parasitical obsession, a 'green-eyed monster' that 'devours' itself and robs its host of dignity and rationality. Perhaps even more compelling is our realisation from watching the play unfold, that jealousy takes root in low self-esteem. In Othello's case he is undermined by a sense of inferiority and racial stereotypes of blackness instilled in him by the Venetian society in which he lives. Iago - the white man - is jealous of Othello's success and military status to the point of wanting to annihilate him at any cost. Paradoxically, Iago's revenge is astonishingly controlled and rational, though its engine is hatred and envy. Shakespeare's dramatisation of the problem of jealousy is extraordinarily complex psychologically, but equally direct and compelling in its realisation through action on stage.
What strategies do writers use to make writing come alive for a reader?
Perhaps the most effective strategy is the use of 'imagery', or language that appeals to the senses. This is how writers engage the imagination and immerse readers in the separate, or virtual, reality of a fictional world. By allowing us to see, smell, hear, and touch, through the medium of language, writers magically transport readers to different places, and into other minds and experiences they would not otherwise be able to access.
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