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Essay Writing Guide

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Essay Writing Guide

  1. 1. ESSAY WRITING AS English Literature
  2. 2. Assessment Objectives     AO1: Articulate creative, informed and relevant responses to literary texts, using appropriate terminology and concepts, and coherent, accurate written expression AO2: Demonstrate detailed critical understanding in analysing the ways in which form, structure and language shape meanings in literary texts AO3: Explore connections and comparisons between different literary texts, informed by interpretations of other readers AO4: Demonstrate understanding of the significance and influence of the contexts in which literary texts are written and received
  3. 3. Creating an effective argument     Thesis statement Focused introduction Well organised paragraphs, opening with a topic sentence, providing evidence to support points, and analysis that shows development of ideas Insightful conclusion
  4. 4. Thesis Statement A thesis statement is a sentence that neatly encapsulates the argument you will be proposing. If you were to answer an essay question with a single sentence, that would be your thesis statement. A good thesis statement shows your point of view in a succinct, precise, interesting and confident way. You would go on to prove this in your essay. A thesis statement should be the focal point of your introduction.
  5. 5. Introductions Introductions should contain:  A thesis statement – which can be in two parts  Specific but brief reference to the text/s being discussed  Reference to the writer/s Introductions should not contain:  Writers’ first names  “In this essay, I am going to…”
  6. 6. A comparative thesis introduction… Writers Thesis (1) Brief but precise ref to texts Thesis (2) Bronte, Shakespeare and McEwan present desire as a destructive force mostly because of the tendency of the characters to act irrationally and impulsively on it, ultimately leading to disaster. In Othello and Wuthering Heights, desire leads to possessiveness, and jealousy ultimately destroys Cathy and Heathcliff’s relationship, whereas Othello’s jealousy leads him to murder Desdemona. Desire destroys Robbie and Cecilia in Atonement because they act impulsively on it and Briony misinterprets their acts of passion as an attack on her sister. In addition to this, desire is presented as unpredictable; the characters within these texts fall for someone who is unsuitable for them in the society they live in.
  7. 7. Topic sentences Topic sentences should open each main-body paragraph. They should clearly state the argument point of the paragraph. Like your thesis statement, topic sentences should be succinct and confident. The rest of the paragraph proves the point made in the topic sentence, using quotations neatly, and exploring ideas in greater detail.
  8. 8. Style points        Written accuracy – spelling, punctuation and grammar Embed your quotations where possible, ensuring that your sentences make complete sense Refer to author by last name only Use italics for the title of the text – it’s OK to abbreviate the full title to Gatsby. Using italics makes it clear that you mean the title, not the character. Avoid good/bad, positive/negative or other empty words and phrases Be specific – don’t be vague Refer to events of the text/s in the present tense
  9. 9. Style points (continued)        Don’t indent paragraphs Leave a line between paragraphs instead ‘Justify’ to create clean left and right margins Don’t use exotic or weird fonts! Acknowledge any sources with references Always include a word count at the end of your work Be concise

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