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Tutor profile: Molly W.

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Molly W.
College Writing Instructor
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Questions

Subject: Writing

TutorMe
Question:

Describe two craft elements that were used successfully in Wendy Ortiz's "Excavation." What do these craft elements contribute to the work as a whole? Use text evidence to support your answer.

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Molly W.
Answer:

Continually returning to the excavation concept in the "Notes on an Excavation" sections was a useful way to frame the memoir. While most of the text tells of events that happened decades in the past, these sections give us a window into how Ortiz came to a place where she was able to tell this story. On p. 137, she writes, "...there is a dismantling that must occur first - perhaps demolition of buildings that came before, then a cut in the earth, an opening, then the dig." The excavation sections remind us that, like an archaeological dig, the journey to be able to tell this story has been painstakingly slow - it took years and years of painful, hard work to sort through all the ways that this experience still influences her into adulthood. The characterization in this memoir was strong as well. Not only do we really get to know and understand teenage Wendy's thoughts and motivations, but Ortiz also creates a complex character in Jeff. In some scenes (especially early in the memoir), he is portrayed in a flattering light, showing what the outside world saw of Jeff: "[His] entrance to the classroom felt like instant habitation: his very being emitted energy, energy that pushed into the corners of the room, high up into the ceiling, up against the windows, daring us to take our eyes off him and look outside" (p. 11). Obviously, in many other scenes, such as the scene on p. 158-160 where Jeff ties Wendy up in front of his friend Jesse to demonstrate the dangers of hitchhiking, we can clearly see that he can also be volatile and dangerous. When we hear about stories like these in the news, we do not get the details necessary to understand the complexity and the psychology behind these situations, and Ortiz succeeds in revealing that through characterization.

Subject: Literature

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Question:

Describe a theme that is prominent in the final chapters of "The God of Small Things" by Arundhati Roy. How does that theme work in the text as a whole? Use text evidence to support your claim.

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Molly W.
Answer:

One of the most prominent themes in the last chapter is Velutha’s connection to nature. We saw this from early on in the novel---especially in Velutha’s “brown leaf” birthmark that is alluded to again and again---but his connection with nature is especially prominent at the end (278). When Ammu first goes over to the History House on first night of her affair with Velutha, she notices that “the world they stood in was his. That he belonged to it. That it belonged to him. The water. The mud. The trees. The fish. The stars” (316). Ammu wants to enter this world where Velutha feels comfortable because she does not feel comfortable in Sophie Mol’s world, the world she is now forced to be a part of. She wants to get away from the world where “the conversation circled like a moth around the white child” and Ammu felt that she and her children were not valued (312). In response to the Sophie Mol Show, Ammu attaches herself to nature through Velutha, where the Love Laws do not exist. When Ammu and Velutha are together, Velutha introduces her to the world of nature, where they are not judged according to the Love Laws. The spider they encounter night after night has striking similarities to Velutha. They marvel over the spider’s “seemingly self-destructive pride” when refuses to behave the way they want him to by taking the garlic flake “clothes” (321). The spider mirrors Velutha’s tendency throughout the novel to refuse to conform to society’s expectations of him because he is a Paravan. This self-destructive pride is what leads to Velutha’s downfall because people are angry that he would see himself worthy of loving a Touchable, but it is also what makes him what makes him attractive to Ammu.

Subject: English

TutorMe
Question:

Please correct the 5 errors in the following paragraph. The types of errors you should be looking for are listed below. Comma (Between Independent Clauses), Comma (Unnecessary), Articles, Parallelism - 5 errors Squirrels devotes lots of time to food—searching for it, burying it, then they search for it again. The seeds and nuts, they enjoy are scarce in winter but abundant in autumn so they store large food supplies in the ground. Every year, millions of trees are planted by squirrels who bury seeds and nuts and then were forgetting where they put them. But if they have a good memory and an sharp sense of smell, they can retrieve the hidden food for themselves during winter.

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Molly W.
Answer:

Below, each sentence is written correctly, and the changes are explained. "Squirrels devote lots of time to food—searching for it, burying it, then searching for it again." In a list of items, all items should follow the same verb construction, so "search" should be changed to "searching" to match the verbs that come before it. "The seeds and nuts they enjoy are scarce in winter but abundant in autumn, so they store large food supplies in the ground." The original comma is deleted because it adds an unnecessary pause in the middle of a complete sentence. A comma was added after "autumn" to separate the two independent clauses. "Every year, millions of trees are planted by squirrels who bury seeds and nuts and then forget where they put them." The verb "were forgetting" was changed to "forget" to match the verb tense of "bury," the other verb in the sentence. "But if they have a good memory and a sharp sense of smell, they can retrieve the hidden food for themselves during winter." The article "an" was changed to "a" because the word that comes after ("sharp") starts with a consonant.

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