Tutor profile: Harry M.
What is a good way to structure a good argument or persuasive paragraph?
Every well-made argument consists roughly of three parts: the claim, the warrant, and the impact. The claim is the statement of the argument - the 'tagline', or one-sentence summary. The warrants are the reasons you give for why your argument is true; ask yourself: "why is this the case?". And, just as important, the impact consists of reasons for why your argument matters! It's the answer to the question, "why is this claim important to my essay, and how does it support my larger goal?". Impacting also gives you an opportunity to explain why your claim might matter more than an equally true, but contrary claim.
How can an author or poet's life experience be relevant to interpreting and writing about their work?
Everyone's work and actions are a reflection of their environment and the experiences of their lives! While it is always valuable to pay attention to the specifics of the text or poem, you can often glean further insight from considering the life of the author or poet. For instance, we can tell from William Faulkner's writing that his upbringing and early life brought him close to the social and racial strife of the reconstruction-era American south. We can then ask ourselves questions about his position in society, and the views and struggles he might have had with those issues that led to his writing about them closely in his novels.
What is the best way to read and interpret a difficult poem or passage of literature?
First, read aloud (or whisper) to yourself the poem or passage in question. Then read it aloud again! Try to get a sense of the flow, or emphasis of the text. Then, ask yourself who is speaking: is it the author, a narrator, or somebody else? Examine the circumstances: What has given them cause to say what they're saying? And who are they addressing? Are they trying to convince someone of something, or themselves? Or are they trying to set a mood? If you can begin to answer these questions, or similar ones, you're well on your way to coming up with a convincing viewpoint and interpretation of your own!
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