Tutor profile: Fletcher B.
What is the most important part of writing an essay?
The most important part of crafting an essay is the thesis statement. This is also the most difficult part of writing an essay of any kind. The thesis statement is where you compose your original, provable insight about a given text. It must be direct, succinct, compelling, and coherent. You will spend the rest of the essay proving that this claim is true, so the paper cannot proceed until a working thesis has been crafted.
What does effective annotation look like?
Always read with a pen or pencil in hand. Keep track of questions or insights as you read by marking specific words or passages that give you pause. The best annotations can become essays, and notes written in your own language will always be useful when returning to the text in a class discussion.
What is the most common mistake students make when interpreting literature in a seminar discussion or an analytical essay?
The key to any literary insight is to ground one's assertion within the text itself. This means allowing the text to furnish evidence for a claim rather than first establishing a claim and then going hunting for evidence. Any thesis, claim, assertion, etc., that is founded primarily within the text itself will be strongest, and thus won't require you to contort evidence to fit your argument.
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