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Alex H.
Student-Athlete at Princeton University
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Writing
TutorMe
Question:

Which of the following thesis statements about Chaucer's "The Wife of Bath's Tale" is the most effective? Explain. (1) "The Wife of Bath's Tale" shows the positive and negative sides of traditional courtly love. (2) In "The Wife of Bath's Tale," Chaucer wants to disrupt conventional notions about courtly love. (3) In "The Wife of Bath's Tale," Chaucer selectively validates and invalidates different elements of traditional courtly love to develop a more liberal notion of chivalry. (4) In "The Wife of Bath's Tale," Chaucer uses satire to show that the rules of courtly love are ridiculous and stupid.

Alex H.
Answer:

Answer: (3). Thesis (1) is not an arguable claim because it is too broad and does not take a position on the subject. Thesis (2) falls for the fallacy of authorial intent, meaning that it claims to know what Chaucer wanted to do--a claim that is impossible to support. Thesis (4) starts out okay but ends up using language that is too informal and colloquial for an academic paper. Thesis (3) is effective because it is clear, specific, and makes an arguable claim about the text.

Literature
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Question:

How does Virginia Woolf develop connections between the characters in Mrs. Dalloway, and how does the nature of these connections shed light on the conception of “character” she develops in her essay, “Mr. Bennet and Mrs. Brown”?

Alex H.
Answer:

One way that Woolf develops connections between the characters in Mrs. Dalloway is through the novel's numerous allusions to the plays of William Shakespeare. Particularly, the novel uses such references in order to establish a link between the otherwise disparate experiences of Clarissa Dalloway and Septimus Warren Smith. By weaving together the stories of Clarissa, Septimus, and the characters of Shakespeare, Woolf suggests a universal element of the human experience that transcends physical and temporal boundaries through the power of literature. In light of this, we can better understand her essentialist conception of character in the essay "Mr. Bennet and Mrs. Brown." As she writes, "Mrs. Brown is eternal, Mrs. Brown is human nature, Mrs. Brown changes only on the surface, it is the novelists who get in and out."

English
TutorMe
Question:

Read the following passage from Charles Dickens' Our Mutual Friend, describe the narrator's diction, and explain how this diction contributes to the mood of the passage. “And as the great black river with its dreary shores was soon lost to her view i​n the gloom, so, she stood on the river’s brink unable to see into the vast blank misery of a life suspected, and fallen away from by good and bad, but knowing that it lay there dim before her, stretching away to the great ocean, Death.”

Alex H.
Answer:

In the above passage, Dickens' narrator employs a diction of dullness and obscurity, as evidenced by the words "black," "dreary," "gloom," ​"blank," and "dim." These words are used to create a metaphorical link between the literal darkness of the scene and the bleak future faced by the protagonist. As a result, the mood of the passage exhibits a pessimistic and foreboding quality.​

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