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Tutor profile: Brittani K.

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Brittani K.
Writing Consultant for two years, has strong opinions about the oxford comma
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Questions

Subject: Writing

TutorMe
Question:

My professor told me that my content is good, but my thesis needs to be stronger and my organization needs work, too. I don't really understand why, though—if my content is good, what difference does it make to have a clear thesis and organization? Everything that's needed is already there on the page.

Inactive
Brittani K.
Answer:

Your thesis and your organization are really important aspects of academic writing because they dictate the way in which your audience will understand your material. Your thesis lets them know, upfront, where you're going with your argument; when they have this context, they don't have to guess what the point is as they read your paragraphs, they'll already know what you're trying to prove. Your organization, on the other hand, is important because if your argument is poorly organized, your audience won't be able to connect the dots the way you want them to. You can have an introduction, some body paragraphs, and a conclusion, but if you don't have them organized properly, that's all you have: a jumble of paragraphs, not an argument. Thankfully, while these things seem kind of big and scary, they're not that hard to address as long as you're willing to set aside a bit of time to revise. Let's talk through it together!

Subject: Shakespeare

TutorMe
Question:

Why do we have to read these boring stories from 400 years ago? It's not like they're of any real relevance now.

Inactive
Brittani K.
Answer:

Actually, the stories from Shakespeare's plays are still extremely relevant and entertaining! It's hard to cross the language barrier when you're trying to read it, but that's because plays are written to be performed on a stage, not read from the page. There's no shame in watching a movie adaptation or reading a synopsis of a certain play before you try to read it yourself; in fact, the additional context you'd gain can really help with reading comprehension as you tackle the original text. Don't believe me that his stories are fun? Try watching the 1993 version of Much Ado About Nothing—it's a silly and funny romcom, and it's also extremely faithful to the original text without being hard to understand.

Subject: Literature

TutorMe
Question:

What's the point of studying symbolism and all that junk in books? Like, maybe the curtains are just blue, and they're not symbolic of anything sad or depressing.

Inactive
Brittani K.
Answer:

Maybe they are just blue! However, if we go into literature assuming that every detail is meaningful, we can often find our own interpretations of a text that go a bit deeper than the surface level. Just because an author may not have intended a certain reading doesn't mean it's not correct or not valuable—in fact, the uniqueness of the perspective that you can bring to a text is what makes your individual reading and analysis so valuable. (Also, picking out small details in a text is a great way to practice critical thinking and close reading skills!)

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