Tutor profile: Samantha D.
What is a thesis statement--and why is it important?
A thesis statement is a statement of purpose for an academic paper. This is commonly described as a one sentence summary of the paper and it should include the main point of your argument as well as its main supports. If your paper is referencing specific texts, it's customary to include their titles and authors. For example, if you were to write a five paragraph essay about why cats are better than dogs, and your main arguments supporting this were that cats are softer, friendlier, and cleaner than dogs, your thesis might look something like this: "Cats are notoriously better pets than dogs, primarily because they are softer, friendlier, and cleaner than their K-9 counterparts." This is a simple example, but you can see it includes the main claim you are trying to make in your paper as well as the main supporting evidence you will use in your paper. This sentence tells the reader what they should be paying attention to, and it guides their focus so none of your wonderful arguments are lost on them as they try to figure out point your trying to make. This is also important for your writing process, as it will help you stay on track with your subject. If at any point in your writing you wonder "should I really be putting this in my paper?" you can refer to the thesis you've created--if what you're adding supports the thesis, it's relevant to include.
What's the best way to analyze literature?
That's a tough question! Since all literature is different and each person's interpretation of it is unique, there is no perfect formula for analyzing it. The best way to start, however, is to ask yourself some broad questions about the work you're trying to interpret. Specifically, focus on things that strongly stick out to you/ interest you about the topic because these will be easier for you to write about. Does it have a theme? Any relation to historical or societal context? What motivates the characters and what might that say about them or the time period they are in? The more questions like this that you ask and answer, the more you'll have to build off of. Remember, analysis is basically just your argument about the work in question--supported with evidence, of course.
Subject: Gender Studies
What is the difference between "sex" and "gender"?
“Sex” refers to the biological indication of a person being male or female (a flawed system in itself) and “gender” is the social construction of expectations and processes by which a person “is a boy” or “is a girl.” Essentially, sex is what your biological make up says you are (strictly for medical purposes) and gender is what the culture you live in says you should be (strictly for social purposes).
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