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Tutor profile: Erin F.

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Erin F.
Former Teacher, Tutor of Five Years
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Questions

Subject: Writing

TutorMe
Question:

In an academic essay, what are the basic qualities of a strong introductory paragraph?

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Erin F.
Answer:

An introductory paragraph opens with an interesting hook to capture readers' attention and introduce the general topic, followed by a 2-to-3-sentence bridge containing some background information or context. For instance, a literary analysis might give a brief description of the works to be discussed, while an argumentative essay may give an overview of the controversy on which the author plans to take a stance. The final sentence of the introduction should be the thesis statement, a clear and specific statement of the essay's main purpose. Unless a professor requests otherwise, this thesis should not contain any first person or references to the writing itself (i.e. "In this essay, I will...") It should also not be a question. Rather, it should be an arguable position that you then support in each of your body paragraphs, giving the reader a clear idea of what to expect in the rest of the essay.

Subject: Literature

TutorMe
Question:

Choose a character from Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, and explain how he or she contributes to one of the novel's central themes.

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Erin F.
Answer:

Montag's wife, Mildred, is a key figure in developing the theme of technology as a societal anesthetic. Mildred is consistently portrayed as numb to her surroundings. On page 61, Montag attempts to explain how dissatisfied he is with his life, but Mildred is more interested in watching "the family" on television. Upon hearing that her husband is chronically unhappy, Mildred replies, "I'm tired of listening to this junk," and "turn[s] from him to the announcer again" (Bradbury). She feels no connection to any of the actual people in her life, outside of empty socialization with friends who enjoy the same programs. This leads Mildred to attempt suicide, an occurrence so common in this society that the responders who pump her stomach and save her life treat it with neither urgency nor surprise. When Montag voices anger at their casual attitude, the operator tells him, "We get these cases nine or ten a night. Got so many, starting a few years ago, we had the special machines built" (13). Their dismissive assurance that Mildred will be fine emphasizes how prevalent Mildred's apathy has become. Not only does she attempt suicide, she does not even remember doing so the next day. Overall, her constant reliance on technology to fill her days leads her to despair, masked by complete numbness.

Subject: English

TutorMe
Question:

In passage A, how does the author use sentence structure to reveal the main character's mindset?

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Erin F.
Answer:

The author uses long, complex sentences with many dependent clauses to slow the story's pacing and create a pensive mood. The number of dependent clauses forces the reader to slow down and catch the subtle details. Additionally, the author includes surreal figurative language instead of focusing on the concrete details of what the character is doing in that moment. These similes and metaphors contribute to a dreamlike sense, and show the reader that the character is struggling to process the events of the previous chapter.

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