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201202_writing_guide

201202_writing_guide - 1 Humanities 201/202 Guidelines for...

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1 Humanities 201/202 Guidelines for Writing Analytical Papers The response papers you will be writing for this class are to be analytical in nature; they are NOT research papers, and I don’t want you to consult any outside sources for your ideas. This would be considered plagiarism, and the paper would receive an automatic F. I don’t expect you to have any more background information than is contained in our texts; what I’m interested in is your reaction and response as you engage with the text or work of art. I want you to think deeply about the topic questions and to contextualize the work in its time period. You are encouraged to include modern-day applications in your response, when appropriate, but avoid imposing the values of our 21st century culture on other times and places. For example, if you’re writing about the Homeric heroes, you will want to try to think like an ancient Greek, and acknowledge that in the Homeric world, the qualities that Achilles possessed were ideal. They may not be ideal to you today, but that is irrelevant unless the topic question asks you to compare them to your views. 1. Title: Think of a clever title for your paper; don’t just title it Hamlet or The Prince . 2. Introduction: Don’t start right into your thesis statement in the first sentence. Feel free to personalize your introduction if you’d like, but at least try to draw the reader in with something to pique interest and make someone want to keep reading. The intro doesn’t need to be too long. It should lead logically into the thesis statement, which should be at the end of the first paragraph. 3. Thesis statement: This is one of the most important parts of the entire paper, and it’s also the biggest problem I see in papers. Here are some guidelines: -Address the topic! Use the topic subject or question in your thesis statement so that it’s obvious what you’re writing about. For example: If the topic is, Why did Virgil include the Dido story in the Aeneid when it wasn’t part of the original legend? , then you need to start your thesis statement by saying: Virgil included the story of Dido in the Aeneid in order to . . . or because . . . and then list your 3 or 4 points. -Take a stance! Many of the topics require you to agree or disagree, attack or defend, explain why someone did what they did, or to compare and contrast two things. If I don’t have a clear understanding of your position after reading just the thesis, then it isn’t right. -Be clear and concise. A thesis statement should only require one sentence, or two at the very most.
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