Title (Make sure you have a centered title)
There should be at least 5 paragraphs in the essay (though it will probably have more)
Everything should be double spaced – headings, paragraphs, works cited
The essay should be at least 5 full pages long, not including the works cited page.
This essay should have at least 4 sources of information with in-text citations
A “source” is a source of information. The story is one source of information. If you are writing about two stories, then you already have two sources of information.
At least 2 sources of information need to be from outside of the textbook
An in-text citation is a quote or a documented summary. You need to have at least one in-text citation per source.
Only works that have in-text citations go on the Works-Cited page (that why it is called a “works cited” and not a reference page or bibliography)
Include a Works Cited page with the citations in alphabetical order (MLA format)
Do not use contractions (or use them very sparingly
Do not use 1st or 2nd person pronouns: you, I, we, me, us, our, mine, your, etc…
The similarity should be no higher than 20% and only based on quotes!
There are many ways to introduce the story but one way is to first introduce the author (if there is one). You could also introduce the work by discussing the time period or even by discussing a movement.
Be sure that the introduction also includes the title of the story to be discussed
Provide the important background information needed to understand the essay such as main ideas, characters, setting, literary devices, etc…
Narrow down to the thesis statement. The thesis should be the last sentence or next to last sentence of the introduction. Be sure to make it a statement and not a question
Also, the thesis should not be a statement of intent – “In this essay I will” or “This essay will”
There should be at least 3 body paragraphs but you will probably have more
The first sentence in each body paragraph is called a topic sentence. It introduces the ideas going to be discussed in the paragraph.
The rest of the body paragraph works to support the topic sentence
There are various types of support for the topic sentence including examples, reasons, facts, and quotes or summaries
Be sure to analyze rather than summarize. Summary tells me what happens but analysis tells me why or even what it means. A bit of summary may be needed in order to clarify the analysis. However, there should always be more analysis than summary
Be sure to use transitions to move between ideas
Here are some example transitions: also, in comparison, in the same way, likewise, similarly, in addition, additionally, furthermore, moreover, although, but, conversely, however, in contrast, on the contrary, on the other hand, even though
Don’t forget to introduce your quotes, and don’t forget the parenthesis after the quote. Here are a couple of examples of quotes used for support: 1. For instance, the narrator states, “her figure looked blocked and heavy in her gardening costume” (Steinbeck). 2. When Montresor claims, “I did not give him cause to doubt my goodwill,” he is demonstrating that he should not be trusted (Poe).
If you decide to use summaries instead of quotes, then don’t forget the parenthetical documentation and be sure to use your words. Many summaries end up being half plagiarized
There is only one period and it goes after the parenthesis
The body paragraphs should be no less than 5 sentences each
Restate your thesis in a creative way that makes your argument clear to the reader
Restate the main points in separate sentences emphasizing their importance
Remember – No new arguments or main points in the conclusion!
The conclusion should be no less than 5 sentences
Finally, this may sound silly but there is a science behind it. Before you submit your essay, read it out loud. When you read it out loud, you are experiencing the essay in two ways – with your eyes and with your ears. This provides an extra filter to help you catch errors.
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