M A I N * N E W S * T O P I C S * L I N K S * R E S E R V E S

The Final Essay



For ideas on how to come up with an analytical or interpretive argument, see the reading responses page. Doing this should be familiar to you after a semester of reading responses and experience writing two critical response papers. It's natural, though, for you to have questions, and the process is never easy for anyone. So when we discuss your ideas for the final paper, raise any questions you might have about what makes an effective analytical or persuasive essay. I'm here to help! Also, this is a perfect opportunity to use the listserv to ask people how they are planning and preparing for their own papers. If you post a question to the listserv, I'll answer back to it when appropriate, so that everyone gets the benefit of the questions people ask me and each other.

The paper length might seem a little daunting at first, but 6-8 pages is really very little space to develop your ideas in depth. Don't give in to the temptation to choose a HUGE topic for fear that you'll run out of ideas before you run out of space. Better to start with a focused topic and let it grow to fill the space. For this paper, you must give yourself enough time to do serious revisions on your first draft before you turn it in. I know how busy the end of the semester is (believe me, I do!), but unless you do at least one major revision of your original ideas, your grade is likely to suffer. Anything you turn in should be your absolute best work, but that goes double for final papers. I don't want to see any careless typos or grammatical errors in your last assignment for this course. This is why I recommend sharing drafts with classmates and peer editing each others' papers. If you go this route, be sure to add an acknowledgements section at the end thanking the kind people who read and commented on your earlier draft.

Make use of the information on these web pages, particularly the "How to Do Things with Ghosts" page (which gives samples of arguments by critics whose works are on reserve in the library), the reserves page (which lists those works and tells you where to find them), and the links page (which has plenty of useful links to other websites out there that can help you in the research and writing process).

All right, good luck with the final paper. This is your last piece of work for this course, so make it count and have fun doing it!

M A I N * N E W S * T O P I C S * L I N K S * R E S E R V E S

EN 209: Novels and Tales, Fall 1999
Created: 8/21/99, 3:50 pm
Last modified: 12/7/99, 11:27 am