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Tutor profile: Meg C.

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Meg C.
Experienced Tutor with an MFA in Writing
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Questions

Subject: Writing

TutorMe
Question:

How do I write a clear thesis statement for an argumentative research paper?

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Meg C.
Answer:

They key to writing a simple but clear thesis statement for an argumentative research paper is to state the stance you, as the writer, are taking on a debatable topic. In addition, a solid technique for creating a compelling argument in your thesis is to then list the main sub-topics or argumentative points that will comprise your research paper. What is the evidence you will be using to support your argument? Let’s take a look at an example: Watching more than two hours of television has a negative effect on the overall health of a child because it encourages addictive behaviors, fails to engage the child mentally and discourages exercise. This thesis is simple yet effective. Notice how a debatable topic is mentioned (whether children should be allowed to watch more than two hours of television) and a clear stance is taken (the effect is negative). Furthermore, three clear reasons, or sub-points, are listed. This helps create a compelling argument.

Subject: Literature

TutorMe
Question:

What is the main objective of a literary analysis?

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Meg C.
Answer:

Literary analysis is a type of academic essay with the primary aim of extracting a theme, lesson or series of motifs from a literary work or works. The body of the essay analyzes literary devices used in the text itself in order to support the theme stated in the thesis statement. A literary device is a writing tool used by authors to allude to larger themes or motifs. Examples of literary devices include symbolism, imagery, metaphor, dramatic irony and allusion among others. These devices refer to how the writer is communicating their thoughts creatively. Literary devices can operate on the sentence level while others, such as symbolism, can sometimes stretch across an entire novel. The supporting paragraphs typically focus on one of these literary devices and provide textual evidence in the form of quotations. These quotations demonstrate the literary device in question. It is then the writer’s job to analyze the text and explain to the reader how the quote supports the proposed theme. The thesis of a literary analysis typically demonstrates what the theme is, what literary work or works are being explored and how the theme will be proven. In other words, what are the literary devices that effectively demonstrate the theme? The concluding paragraph of the literary analysis insinuates why the theme is important or relevant within the larger body of work and reviews how the theme has been demonstrated in the text through the lens of the author. In what way was the writing effective? How was the theme demonstrated?

Subject: English

TutorMe
Question:

What is a “sensory detail” and how can it be used effectively in creative or narrative non-fiction writing? What’s an example from a text that clearly demonstrates this literary tool?

Inactive
Meg C.
Answer:

A sensory detail, also known as sensory language, is a specific descriptor that refers to one of the five senses: sight, sound, smell, touch, or taste. Sensory details can be effectively used in creative fiction or narrative non-fiction to help the reader become fully immersed in the scene being disclosed. Instead of simply telling the reader what happens, the author is able to show the reader how the characters are feeling through allusions to the senses. Literary texts have a host of excellent examples. For example, sensory language alluding to the sense of smell is used effectively in this quote from Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White to describe the setting of the barn: "The barn was very large. It was very old. It smelled of hay and it smelled of manure. It smelled of the perspiration of tired horses and the wonderful sweet breath of patient cows. It often had a sort of peaceful smell¬ as though nothing bad could happen ever again in the world. It smelled of grain and of harness dressing and of axle grease and of rubber boots and of new rope. And whenever the cat was given a fish head to eat, the barn would smell of fish. But mostly it smelled of hay, for there was always hay in the great loft up overhead. And there was always hay being pitched down to the cows and the horses and the sheep." Be on the lookout for how sensory details can be used in different types of writing from non-fiction, to poetry, to novels.

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