Tutor profile: Emily A.
How do I come up with a thesis statement? Can I use "I" in my essay?
In every piece you write, even academic writing, "I" is present in the work because you are presenting your ideas and your observations, The "I" truly matters and should be remembered throughout your process! For many pieces, "I" may be used in your writing explicitly but it's best to double check with your teacher. I personally encourage it with my own students and we work in ways where it is most powerful. Coming up with a thesis statement begins with exploring your interests and curiosities about a topic. Let's brainstorm why you're interested in this topic and what you want to learn more about. Once we know more about that, we can find an argument or aspect you want to illuminate for your reader.
Subject: English as a Second Language
How do I remember all of the prepositions in English? On, by, at, next to... there are so many!
A good trick I like to use is if you can use a word to describe a mouse's position near a block of cheese, it is a preposition. For example, "on the cheese, beside the cheese, next to the cheese."
How do I even begin analyzing a passage in a novel? My teacher talks about metaphors, narrative voice and so many other elements that make me feel overwhelmed by the information and what I'm supposed to be looking for.
Feeling overwhelmed by a passage is completely normal and easily remedied. Let's begin by reading the passage slowly and identifying the basic plot points and characters. Who is involved? Where are they? Why are they there? Then, after identifying the situation, we may dive into how the author creates the situation and what they are trying to tell us through the scene and those devices your teacher mentioned. Imagery and metaphors help the reader immerse themselves in the literary world and make a larger meaning of the text. Once we know the bones of what is going on, we can excavate why the author painted the scene in this way and how it's providing a larger conversation. Now that we understand Richard in this scene is arguing with his girlfriend and he broke vases of flowers he originally gave her, let's look at the language. "Wilted petals drowned in the puddles rippling against Richard's voice. Molly's tears roll down her cheeks and she remembers how they used to be by the lake." What do you notice first? You may notice the word "wilted" describing the petals of the flowers showing a death or shriveling of their relationship. The use of words like drowning further describe the element of suffocation or death in the relationship. The use of water and parallel situation of the exchanged flowers shattering alongside the argument of two people who used to be in love make the situation feel more tangible and visible for the reader. Tell me what else you're noticing...
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