Writing your final paper : Step 1 (Topic, thesis statement and outline)

We are going to start working on our final paper.

Resultado de imagen para How to write a literature paper

Choose a topic:

Ernest Hemmingway: Stories

Stories I suggest

The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber

The Snows of Kilimanjaro

Cat in the Rain

The Killers

Ten Indians

A Clean, Well-Lighted Place

Fathers and Sons

Night Before Battle

Nobody Ever Dies

A Ma n of the World

Ted Hughes: Poetry

Choose any poems you want (5 minimum)

Step 1

Read and analyze the text. The text in question is the starting point for any literary analysis. You will want to read the text at least once and take careful notes to prepare for writing your essay. 

General Content

-Biography of the writer

-Social and historical context

-Literary theory

Points to consider

  • Think about what most interests you: imagery, characters, plot, pacing, tone, etc. Note examples.
  • Consider the context. Is this text influenced by other texts, such as the Bible or Shakespeare or even contemporary pop music? Does it use a style or form popular in a particular era, like the epistolary novel of the 18th century?
  • Reflect on what you know about the author. How might his or her biography influence the text?
  • Focus on why certain elements are in the story and how they work. How do characters contribute to the story or theme? Why does the author choose particular a particular setting, image, or tone/atmosphere?
  • Decide what argument you think the text is making or what theme it is exploring. What do you think the main idea is that the author wanted you to understand once you finished reading?

Step 2

There are two types of essay, each with their own type of topic:

  • Expository essays give information to the readers.
  • Argumentative essays take a position on a debatable topic in order to change the reader’s mind. Your topic will typically be your thesis.

Step 3

Focus your topic. A good topic needs to be narrow enough that you can completely address it within the page limit. The key is to start broad and then narrow your focus.Eventually, you’ll want to develop an argument regarding the topic. That argument will be your thesis.

Step 4

Develop a thesis. The next step is to transform your topic into an argument – i.e. Hamlet’s sense of humor is key to convincing the reader he is in fact sane. While your thesis will likely be revised as you write, it is still important to produce a preliminary thesis regarding the text, what it is trying to achieve, and the techniques the author uses to do so. A thesis will help you organize your ideas.

Gather more evidence to support your thesis. Now that you have chosen a topic and preliminary thesis, you can focus your research. Reread the work or selected sections, looking for quotes that you can use to develop your argument. You will probably want to search for evidence in conjunction with the next step: outlining your essay.

Organize your ideas in an outline. It is always a good idea to write an outline. At a minimum, you’ll want to include your thesis statement and a description of what each succeeding paragraph is about.

Some help to write a paper

Tips for writing

Deadline: October 17

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Last Sonnet by J. Keats

 John Keats (Romantic Poet)

Last Sonnet

Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art! –
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night,
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like Nature’s patient sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors –
No -yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillowed upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever -or else swoon to death.

1. What do you understand from the first reading?

Check this video and take notes

Another piece of help: http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/english/melani/cs6/star.html

Answer the following questions  (pair work)

  1. Based on the poem as a whole, would you say that the speaker is friendly towards Nature or is he enemies with it? Or is he somewhere in between? If he’s somewhere in between, what would be a better way of explaining the speaker’s relationship with Nature?
  2. Based on the poem as a whole, what would you say is the speaker’s attitude towards humanity?
  3. In some editions of this poem, depending on which manuscript the editors look at, the words “swell” and “fall” in line 11 appear in the opposite order from the way they appear in the version of the poem we quote on Shmoop. (For an example of this, check out this version of the poem, which reproduces the text as it appeared when the poem was first printed in 1848, 27 years after Keats’s death.) What difference do you think each way of ordering the words makes? If you were editing an edition of Keats’s poems, which version would you choose and why?
  4. In the text of the poem we’re using (the Oxford World’s Classics version edited by Elizabeth Cook), the poem ends with a dash: “—”. This follows the punctuation of one of Keats’s own manuscript versions of the poem. Other modern editors prefer to add a period at the end. Is there a different mood created by the two forms of punctuation? If so, what is it? If you were the editor, would you have followed Keats’s manuscript punctuation, or would you have modernized it? Why?
  5. This sonneo known as “Bright Star”. Which title do you prefer and why?


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Father Returning Home

Dilip Chitre: His Biography

Dilip Chitre poetDilip Purushottam Chitre (Marathi: दिलीप पुरुषोत्तम चित्रे) was one of the foremost Indian writers and critics to emerge in the post Independence India. Apart from being a very important bilingual writer, writing in Marathi and English, he was also a painter and filmmaker.

He was born in Baroda on 17 September 1938. His father Purushottam Chitre used to publish a periodical named Abhiruchi which was highly treasured for its high, uncompromising quality. Dilip Chitre’s family moved to Mumbai in 1951 and he published his first collection of poems in 1960. He was one of the earliest and the most important influences behind the famous “little magazine movement” of the sixties in Marathi. He started Shabda with Arun Kolatkar and Ramesh Samarth. In 1975, he was awarded a visiting fellowship by the International Writing Programme of the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa in the United States.

Works on Poetry 

His Ekun Kavita or Collected Poems were published in the nineteen nineties in three volumes. As Is,Where Is selected English poems (1964-2007) and “Shesha” English translation of selected Marathi poems both published by Poetrywala are among his last books published in 2007.

Film Career 

He started his professional film career in 1969 and has since made one feature film, about a dozen documentary films, several short films in the cinema format, and about twenty video documentary features.

Awards and Honors 

He worked as an honorary editor of the quarterly New Quest, a journal of participative inquiry, Mumbai.

Among Chitre’s honours and awards are several Maharashtra State Awards, the Prix Special du Jury for his film Godam at the Festival des Trois Continents at Nantes in France in 1984, the Ministry of Human Resource Development’s Emeritua Fellowship, the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program Fellowship, the Indira Gandhi Fellowship, the Villa Waldberta Fellowship for residence given by the city of Munich, Bavaria, Germany and so forth. He was D.A.A.D. ( German Academic Exchange) Fellow and Writer-in-Residence at the Universities of Heidelberg and Bamberg in Germany in 1991–92.
He was member of a three-writer delegation ( along with Nirmal Verma and U. R. Ananthamurthy) to the Soviet Union (Russia, Ukraine, and Georgia), Hungary, the Federal Republic of Germany and France in the spring and summer of 1980 and to the Frankfurter Buchmesse in Frankfurt, Germany in 1986.
He travelled widely in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America as well as in the interiors of India; been on the visiting faculty of many universities and institutions, a consultant to projects. He was the Honorary President of the Sonthhheimer Cultural Association, of which he was also a Founder-Trustee.


After a long bout with cancer, Dilip Chitre died at his residence in Pune on 10 December 2009.

Listen to the poem and watch the video

Read: Father Returning Home

My father travels on the late evening train
Standing among silent commuters in the yellow light
Suburbs slide past his unseeing eyes
His shirt and pants are soggy and his black raincoat
Stained with mud and his bag stuffed with books
Is falling apart. His eyes dimmed by age
fade homeward through the humid monsoon night.
Now I can see him getting off the train
Like a word dropped from a long sentence.
He hurries across the length of the grey platform,
Crosses the railway line, enters the lane,
His chappals are sticky with mud, but he hurries onward.

Home again, I see him drinking weak tea,
Eating a stale chapati, reading a book.
He goes into the toilet to contemplate
Man’s estrangement from a man-made world.
Coming out he trembles at the sink,
The cold water running over his brown hands,
A few droplets cling to the greying hairs on his wrists.
His sullen children have often refused to share
Jokes and secrets with him. He will now go to sleep
Listening to the static on the radio, dreaming
Of his ancestors and grandchildren, thinking
Of nomads entering a subcontinent through a narrow pass.

Watch, read and listen. Annotate your poem.

Father Returning Home focuses on a certain individual, a commuting father, returning home from work in the Indian city of Mumbai, although it could be any large city anywhere in the world.

The atmosphere within the poem, narrated by a son or daughter, is rather gloomy and pessimistic. There is little emotion shown as the father ends another day at work and hurries back to a house that is not altogether a home.

Dilip Chitre, painter and film-maker as well as poet, taps into his own father’s biography and creates a powerful and imagistic poem, the speaker closely observing the actions of the unhappy protagonist.

Purushottam Chitre, his father, is said to be the inspiration for this poem as he migrated from his birth town of Baroda to Mumbai to try and better his life. The poet has also been influenced by this city:

“Mumbai figures in my early Marathi and English poetry in different ways and at several levels. I perceived the metropolis in juxtaposition with primordial nature as perceived in my childhood. There was a discord. There was a sense of manmade alienation that haunted me.”

In the poem life is not so easy any longer – the father has become a figure of pathos and has lost his raison d’etre.

The major themes include:

  • alienation.
  • rootlessness.
  • old age in a modern society.
  • isolation.
  • cultural identity.
  • the generation gap.
  • the future of the individual in the city.

In pairs

Find evidence in the poem for each and every theme

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To Autumn

After talking about the writer of “To Autumn”, J. Keats and analysing the Romantic period in Literature, let´s watch this trailer.

Definition of an Ode

An ode is a poem in exalted praise of something or someone. It usually a direct address, in the case of Ode to Autumn to the personified Autumn season.

Ode to Autumn by John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;

Conspiring with him how to load and bless

With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;

To bend with apples the mossed cottage trees,

And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;

To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells

With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,

And still more, later flowers for the bees,

Until they think warm days will never cease,

For Summer has o’erbrimmed their clammy cells.


Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?

Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find

Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,

Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind,

Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,

Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook

Spares the next swath and all its twinèd flowers;

And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep

Steady thy laden head across a brook;

Or by a cider-press, with patient look,

Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.


Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?

Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, –

While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,

And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;

Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn

Among the river sallows, borne aloft

Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;

And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;

Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft

The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;

And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Let´s reflect on the poem

-What is the poem about?

-Mention all the words connected to nature. Work on vocabulary.

-Find romantic features in the poem.

-Explain each and every stanza.

-Mention themes and define the tone of the poem. Is the tone the same all throughout?

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Writing your Final Paper

Resultado de imagen para what to take into account when writing a literary paper slideshare

Resultado de imagen para introducing quotations in an essay sandwich structure

Resultado de imagen para concluding an essay

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Benjamin Zephaniah´s poetry

Here a poem by this wonderful contemporary poet

In pairs, find another poem he has written and share it with the class.

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To Da-Duh, In Memoriam (story by Paule Marshall)

Paule Marshall’s short story “To Da-Duh, In Memoriam” was first published in 1967 and later included in her 1983 collection Reena, and Other Stories. Marshall was the daughter of parents who were part of the first wave of Barbadian migrants to the US. Growing up in Brooklyn, she was strongly influenced by Caribbean origins of language and culture, which in the story are personified by the character of her grandmother, Da-Duh.

As a child, the author visited her grandmother in Barbados, and this autobiographical tale – told from a retrospective, adult point of view – recaptures that visit as a quest for identity through the generational bond and conflict between two strong women, as well as the transition from traditional, rural island customs to modern, urban ways of life that frames their relationship.

The importance of Marshall’s connection to her family in the Caribbean, and especially the ancestral role of her grandmother symbolizing her roots in a lineage of black women, is a theme that permeates her writing.

The story is set in Barbados, in the 1930’s.

What do you know about the Caribbean and how it starded? (Slavery and its consequences)

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A View from the Bridge: Review

This year we are going to review the play we read in Senior 1.

Imagen relacionada

Study guide 

Complete guide to all the play


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Poem: Stabat Mater

Read this poem from your book or booklet.

Get to know the poet: Sam Hunt

Complete the following chart and post it in your blog.







Literary devices (what are they used for? What is the effect on the reader?)




Semantic field

(specific vocabulary used)


Your own reflection


Check this link with videos which will help you understand the poem

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The Destructors

After reading the story, let´s work on different aspects.

Resultado de imagen para the destructors essay questions

Here the link to the story: The Destructors

Comprehension questions

  • Research and compare the Wormsley Common Gang with modern American gangs. Consider factors like membership, recruitment, enemies, activities, and motivations. What similarities did you find? What are some differences?
  • What do you see as the central theme of this story? Remember: a theme is not simply a subject like “love”. It is a fuller expression of what an author is trying to suggest about this subject. Write a paragraph explaining your interpretation of this story’s theme.
  • Identify three important conflicts present in the story. Explain what exactly is causing the problem—and whether they are internal or external in nature. Finally, explain which of these conflicts seems to the central problem.
  • Draw an image of Mr. Thomas’ house. Now explain the gang’s motivation to destroy the house by webbing out points and quotations to each of the ideas below:
    1. the age and beauty of the house
    2. the gang’s usual pranks around London
    3. what has occurred in the recent past with T’s parents
    4. Blackie’s reaction to the word “beautiful”
    5. The boys’ reaction to Mr. Thomas’ gift of chocolate
    6. Summers’ reaction to the word “please”
    7. the burning of the banknotes
    8. their consideration for Old Misery
  • Of what significance is the setting of this story in blitzed London? Does the story have anything to say about the consequences of war? About the causes of war?
  • Write a short character sketch of T. Think of a dominant character trait, and then discuss his background, personality, motivations, important statements, and what others say about him. Your sketch should be a minimum of 300 words.
  • Address the following quotation in the story by explaining its context and overall significance to the story:

“Streaks of light came in through the closed shutters where they worked with the seriousness of creators—and destruction after all is a form of creation. A kind of imagination had seen this house as it had now become.”

  • Describe what happens in the resolution of the story. Why might Graham Greene have ended the story in this manner?
  • On the surface this is a story of action, suspense, and adventure. At a deeper level it is about delinquency, war, and the hidden forces which motivate our actions. Do you agree? Give reasons for your answer.
  • Does the destruction of Old Misery’s house by the boys seem more senseless than the destruction brought about by the war that had destroyed London—or do you see it differently? Explain in a paragraph.
  • Research a definition of the philosophy of nihilism. How might the Wormsley Common Gang’s actions in the story demonstrate a kind of nihilism?

Choose a question to write an essay

  1. The setting for this story is London, nine years after the city survived a series of bombing attacks during WWⅡ. How does this setting contribute to the development of the story?
  2. “The Destructors” written by Graham Greene is set in London nine years after the end of World War II. People survived from “The Blitz”. The Blitz “was Nazi Germany’s sustained aerial bombing campaign against Britain in World War Two.”(The Blitz) Everything was in chaos, people lost their home, slept in the underground station and lost their hope for the future. Comment closely on this.
  3. Graham Greene’s portrayal of human nature, in “The Destructors,” conveys the idea that people have the instinctive ability to distinguish, and make a conscience choice, between what they believe to be good and evil. This message is clearly projected by the characters and their actions: that children born to a traumatized society will grow rebellious. Comment closely on this.


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The Signalman (group work)

The Signalman: Charles Dickens

Prepare a prezi/ggogle presentation/etc and answer the questions in a creative way! Follow the order you want. You can eliminate questions you are not interested in and you can add any other information you feel it is a must!!

1) Line 11 is almost an exact repetition of line 1.  What is the effect of this?

2) Why was the narrator so interested in the man he saw at the bottom of the embankment?

3) The paragraph, which starts with line 15, describes the approach and passing of a train.  How do you recognise it as a train even before line 20 identifies it as such?

4) Lines 35-43 describe the Signalman and his environment. What mood is created here?

5) Lines 46-69 show that the narrator and the Signalman are unsure of each other.  How is this resolved?

6a) What kind of education has the Signalman had?

  1. b) How do you know this?

7) What is odd about the Signalman’s behaviour in lines 106-110?

8) Line 127 suggests that this might be a ghost story.

  1. a) How does it do this?
  2. b) Have there been any other hints at this?

9) Describe the three premonitions the Signalman has experienced, and the events that followed, in the order in which they occurred. (This is not necessarily the order in which they are recounted.)

10) How is the Signalman’s earlier strange behaviour (see question 7) explained in lines 224-238?

11) Why can’t the Signalman act on his most recent premonition in order to avoid a tragedy?

12) From whom does the narrator seek advice?

13) What has happened when the narrator returns on the following evening?

14) The premonition has come true.  Which details are echoes of the Signalman’s earlier words?

15) How does the narrator feel at the end of this experience?  Explain in your own words.

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One Art by E. Bishop

Image result for elizabeth bishop

One Art
By Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Elizabeth Bishop, “One Art” from The Complete Poems 1926-1979

Listen to 3 different readings of the same poem

General questions:

  1. What do you think the poet means by “the art of losing” and how serious is she about this idea?
  2. How important is the poem’s form to your reading of it?
  3. What effect does the refrain have upon your understanding of the poem’s tone? How does the meaning of this single line change throughout the piece?
  4. What are we actually meant to believe about the poet’s reaction to her losses?
  5. How honest is the poet with herself? With her readers?


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