May I suggest the following approximate plan for your upcoming eight
Page 1: State the "problem" that your paper
addresses or solves. Then, state your thesis or plan of action to
use the text in question to solve the problem. Assuming your
thesis is built on three or four sub-points, the rest of the paper
flows from these sub-points.**
Pages 2-3: Elaborate on the text that supports
sub-point 1. Use approximately three sections of text to support
this sub-point. Your writing should explain and interpret how the
chosen textual passages each contribute to the sub-point and the
larger thesis. Do NOT merely summarize the story told by the text.
Interpret and shed new light on the text in view of your thesis.
Make sure every paragraph ties directly to the sub-point in some
Pages 4-5: Same plan as with pp.2-3, but with
Pages 6-7: Ditto, but with sub-point 3.
Page 8: Conclusion - Tell the reader what is to
be learned or gained by all of this. Interpret the value of solving
Page 9: Works Cited Page
** Excellent papers will also introduce
opposing arguments to the thesis and use the text to defeat the
opposition. Descartes, for example, may offer some opposition to
Milton or vice versa. Bring in the enemy and then slay him/her.
Good Luck and Good Writing.