Great Books

Extended Writing Suggestions

May I suggest the following approximate plan for your upcoming eight page paper:

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 direct way.

Pages 4-5: Same plan as with pp.2-3, but with sub-point 2.

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 this problem. 

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.