Tutor profile: Lily M.
What is a thesis statement, how is it used in formal essay writing, and why is it important?
A thesis statement is a sentence that presents the author’s argument or central idea. It is specific, clear, and concise. Since a thesis statement is a justifiable claim, the essay should be constructed around providing evidence for this claim; thus, a thesis statement is the foundation for the entire essay. A thesis statement is used in the beginning of an essay to identify the writer’s purpose; it’s usually the last sentence of the first paragraph. A thesis statement is important because it sets the tone for the rest of the essay, effectively communicates ideas to the audience, and is the basis for structure and further development.
In The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, symbolism is used as a literary device. Can you identify one symbol, and provide three examples of how it is used?
Since the color green can be associated with contradictory meanings, Fitzgerald uses it to symbolize the dichotomies between idealism and reality within Gatsby’s life. The color green, traditionally represents money, prosperity, and fertility; but it can also represent jealousy, sickness, and decay. In The Great Gatsby, the color green appears multiple times to highlight the duality of its positive and negative connotations. For example, when Gatsby gazes at the end of Daisy’s dock, he sees a green light. For him, that green light gives him hope in a future where she is by his side. Ultimately, this hope never comes fruition; so, it merely remains a vision inside Gatsby’s head. Therefore, the green light inspired hope, but also produced a painful longing for something that would never happen. Additionally, green is also used to represent the money that was a central component of Gatsby’s fantasies. He saw money as the answer to finding self-worth, a place in society, and winning Daisy’s heart. Unfortunately, once the money was in his possession, it did not live up to his expectations. The money corrupted his morals, made him a “new money” outsider to wealthy society, and didn’t guarantee Daisy’s devotion. Furthermore, green is used to describe the torn shirt that Gatsby wore before becoming rich. The green shirt illustrates hope in a despair situation, and the transition to prosperity. However, there was a trade off in this transition; in his endeavors as a wealthy man, Gatsby abandons his former self, let’s his insecurities turn into obsessions, and becomes more corrupted by greed, jealousy, and disillusion. In conclusion, the dichotomous nature of the color green, eludes to the disjunction between Gatsby’s fantasies and reality.
When developing an MLA English essay, which major writing components are required for ensuring that the essay will appropriately communicate the main idea to the audience? Why are these writing components important?
The main writing components of an MLA English essay are focus, organization, development with support, sentence structure, and proper grammatical mechanics. These components are important to the essay because they identify a central idea; express that idea with clarity and structure; provide elaboration on ideas with appropriate evidence; successfully communicate ideas with effective sentences; and adhere to the academic standards for grammar. Furthermore, an MLA essay should always be formatted in MLA style, with in-text citations, and a works cited page. These MLA requirements are important because it establishes a system for documenting sources in scholarly writing to support an essay, establish credibility, and avoid plagiarism.
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