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Tutor profile: Curtis L.

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Curtis L.
Teacher and tutor for over 5 years
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Questions

Subject: Writing

TutorMe
Question:

What steps should you take before writing a college essay?

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Curtis L.
Answer:

The first step is to read and fully comprehend the essay prompt and, if applicable, the grading rubric. When writing a college essay, you always want to ensure that you are answering EVERY question in the essay prompt. Avoid writing about something that is interesting to you but irrelevant to the prompt. Understand how you will be graded and what you need to write about BEFORE writing anything. If you have questions, always reach out to the professor as soon as possible. The second step is to outline, outline, outline! Many students make the mistake of writing without a plan and end up getting stuck. Instead, after you understand the essay prompt, create an outline for how you will compose the essay. For example, if the prompt asks you to describe a challenging life experience, how you handled it, and what you learned from it, you know that your essay will have three main parts: (1) Describing the challenging experience, (2) Explaining how you dealt with the challenging experience, and (3) Explaining what you learned from the experience. (1) logically precedes (2) which naturally leads into (3). This is an important step in the outlining process: organize the essay so that each part naturally and logically flows into the other. Avoid skipping and jumping around in time; that will only confuse your reader. By outlining first, you ensure the flow of your essay is smooth and natural and meets all of the points in the essay and grading rubric. The final step is to flesh out the outline. Just because you have a beautiful outline doesn't mean you are ready to write. Simply jumping in and trying to describe that challenging life experience may lead you to write and write and write, and before you know it, you have way too much! Instead, you need to think about each section of your outline and figure out which details are most important and absolutely necessary. Any other details can be safely left out. You may say that this final step is the brainstorming step. Think about the essential details, write short sentences or phrases in each section of your outline indicating those essential details, and do this until your outline is fleshed out. Make sure you are also logically ordering those essential details so that the information within your sections flows smoothly. Once the above steps are complete, you are ready to write! Following these steps, you will find that you have a lot more confidence and direction in your writing, which will make composing those college papers that much easier!

Subject: Philosophy

TutorMe
Question:

What are the main pros and cons of utilitarianism?

Inactive
Curtis L.
Answer:

There are several obvious pros to utilitarian ethics. The first is that one is always striving to maximize happiness over pain, so that in determining if something is right or wrong, one is always thinking about subjects' happiness; therefore, happiness is theoretically being maximized with every decision, which is an obvious good. The second benefit is that calculations may be done efficiently and effectively. If Policy A benefits 100 people and Policy B benefits a 1,000, Policy B is the obvious choice, since it maximizes happiness. The final benefit of utilitarianism is that it is easy to understand, so most members of society can be on the same page when deciding if something is right or wrong, allowing society to run efficiently. However, there are several powerful cons to utilitarianism. The first is that utilitarianism may lead to a "majority rule" situation, where the happiness of the majority always trumps the suffering of the minority. This leads to another serious drawback, which is that sometimes suffering may be so great that it cannot be justified by a gain in overall happiness. For example, if 100 people had to be tortured every day in order for a million people to be happy, then utilitarianism would claim that this situation is moral. However, many members of society would be unable to accept such conditions as moral, regardless of happiness maximized. Ultimately, utilitarianism is a powerful and popular moral theory in need of constant evaluation and consideration.

Subject: Literature

TutorMe
Question:

What is "narrative distance" in fiction?

Inactive
Curtis L.
Answer:

Narrative distance is the idea that a story's narrator is telling the story from a certain mental and temporal distance. For example, if narrative distance is "close," the narrator may be telling a story that has recently happened and may not have the proper mental distance to reflect and explain all aspects of the story (first-person present tense stories are good examples). Close narrative distance generally has a more informal, everyday style, like The Catcher in the Rye or The Hunger Games. If narrative distance is "far," the narrator has had a lot of time to reflect upon the story's events and gain a certain mental distance from the story; the style may be more formal and the insights more profound, like in Where the Red Fern Grows or The Great Gatsby. Being aware of narrative distance will help you better understand why some narrators are careful, reflective, and honest while others are roundabout and seem to be hiding something.

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