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Tutor profile: Karen F.

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Karen F.
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Questions

Subject: Writing

TutorMe
Question:

What is the function of a topic sentence in academic writing?

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Karen F.
Answer:

A topic sentence is the first sentence of a new body paragraph, and it works to link earlier ideas to the ones explored in the new paragraph. This kind of sentence allows the writer to "look over their shoulder" and acknowledge what they have already written. This is an example of a basic topic sentence from an essay exploring the pros and cons of different ice cream flavors: "While many children in this study favored chocolate ice cream for its rich flavor, the surveyed adults tended to prefer vanilla because of its refreshing taste." In this case, the previous paragraph would have explored the data relating to chocolate ice cream, while this new paragraph would discuss vanilla.

Subject: Literature

TutorMe
Question:

What might the worn-down billboard of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg in F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel "The Great Gatsby" symbolize?

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Karen F.
Answer:

After Myrtle's death, George Wilson remarks that "God sees everything" as he looks up to the eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg. The billboard, which features a giant pair of eyes peering through glasses over the "valley of ashes," represents a distorted God-like presence that presides over a desolate, capitalist wasteland. Connecting the consumerism inherent in advertisements to spiritual power offers a critique of the dominance of the metropolis's consumer-driven economy, especially since the advertisement is old and deteriorated. The name "T. J. Eckleburg" also serves as a nod to Fitzgerald's contemporary, T. S. Eliot, who famously wrote "The Wasteland" with a similar bleak and critical outlook.

Subject: Dance

TutorMe
Question:

Why is "Giselle" (1841) considered the quintessential romantic ballet? Why does the ballet still draw large audiences today?

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Karen F.
Answer:

Giselle is the quintessential romantic ballet because it prominently features many tenets of the Romantic era, tenets such as an emphasis on the supernatural and nature. Act II of the ballet features the mystical Wilis, and their presence on stage creates an otherworldly environment that draws the audience in. The ballet also foregrounds emotion rather than rationality, a move supported by the fact that Giselle dies of a broken heart after learning of Albrecht's betrayal. Love, betrayal, and forgiveness are the primary themes that "Giselle" explores, and given that these are almost universal feelings, the ballet continues to be relevant today.

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