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

(Choose 4 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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