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Tutor profile: Skylar C.

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Skylar C.
1st Year PhD Student and Writing Tutor
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Questions

Subject: Writing

TutorMe
Question:

What is a thesis and why is it important?

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Skylar C.
Answer:

A thesis is essentially the core argument of your paper or essay; it is the backbone on which the entirety of your argument rests, since it is the central claim which you are trying to prove. The goal of your writing should be to convince the reader of whatever claims your thesis is trying to make. As such, the thesis is not only an idea, but an organizational tool for the structure of your paper. Based on the claim made by your thesis, you can organize the rest of your paper according to the various subsets of your main argument which are needed to succinctly prove your point.

Subject: Literature

TutorMe
Question:

What are some of the most commonly used literary devices?

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Skylar C.
Answer:

Some literary devices often found in novels assigned in the classroom are: 1. Allusion: a reference (sometimes implied or brief) to an idea, thing, person, place, event, or even another piece of literature. Objects which are alluded to are often presumed to be within the realm of common knowledge for the audience. 2. Metaphor: a figure of speech accomplished through a comparison between two unlike things 3. Simile: functioning as a sort of metaphor, a simile compares two unlike things through the use of "like" or "as" within the sentence construction 4. Allegory: a device in which a narrative object represents an abstract concept or idea 5. Imagery: the use of figurative language to paint a picture of setting and/or sensory experience for the reader 6. Parallelism: involves the repetition of elements either on a grammatical, linguistic, or conceptual level in such a way that these elements mirror each other.

Subject: English

TutorMe
Question:

What is the purpose of art in Oscar Wilde's famous novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray?

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Skylar C.
Answer:

“There is nothing that Art cannot express” declared Basil Hallward, a mediocre artist who dared to paint an unforgettable portrait infused with the very essence of his soul (12). Yet, the boundless nature of artistic expression begs the question of whether or not it is meant to be utilized as such. This uncertainty characterizes the first of many overarching queries that Oscar Wilde poses in his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. The story itself begins with a casual but nevertheless intense exchange between the artist and his friend Lord Henry concerning this very debate, of whether art should be a vehicle for translation of the soul or strictly an authentic depiction of reality. In other words, it is a conflict of external and internal value, mediated interpretation versus unmediated objectivity. Furthermore, Basil himself seems caught in a self-contradictory struggle regarding the controversy, as he both acknowledges the passionate quality of his painting yet denies that it should be exposed to the public for this very reason. This internal dispute is mirrored throughout the rest of the novel as numerous mediums of art are subjected to the perpetual push and pull between expression and imitation. In looking at Dorian’s portrait alone, one finds it is ridden with both idealized notions of the symbolic materialization of the soul, along with the painful truth of moral and physical degradation due to the passage of time. Based on this, one would argue that the portrait is simultaneously superficially imitative and intrinsically expressive, thereby defining art as a dual-purpose medium.

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