English 101, Spring Semester 2000, Papers on
Assignment #1 (3 pp.),
Congratulations on a fantastic bunch of first papers. I am very
pleased with the progress all of you have already made over these
first few weeks of the semester!
One of the (many) nice things about this particular class is that
the quality of the papers does not vary too widely; the difference
between the worst papers and the best papers is significant, but not
excessively so. The highest grade is a B+/A- and the lowest grade a
B-. In my experience, this range is very high. Great! The best thing
about the narrowness of this range, though, is that those of you who
wrote papers that received lower grades are well within reach of
those of you who wrote papers that received higher grades. In other
words, if your paper doesn't appear near the top of the list this
time, there's no reason why your next paper shouldn't be one of the
best. I mean this.
If you like, take the opportunity now to review the description of
my grading policy.
Nearly everyone needs to work on topic
sentences and transitions.
Please read through as many of these papers as you wish! The
purpose of "Papers on the Web," as I've said
in class, is to provide yet another way for you to get help with the
problems you are encountering in your writing. Some of you will want
to read through many or all of the papers below in order to see how
other students handle different parts of the paper; others will only
want to read through the ones I have singled out. All of you,
however, should read my comments on the top papers and enough of the
papers themselves to understand the assistance I am trying to
provide. This method can work. Obviously, it takes quite a bit
of effort from me; if it is to work for you, it will take some effort
from you as well.
[Note: especially at the beginning of the semester, the
distinction between higher and lower grades is largely on the basis
of argumentation. Some of the lower papers actually have
stronger ideas, I think, than some of the higher papers. The higher
papers, however, present their ideas in a more effective and
persuasive manner, and that will be our focus for much of this
- "Why 'Yoked to' is the Best Phrase to
Complete Sonnet 146": The relationship between the body and
the soul is initially portrayed in terms of war-like conflict,
with the body in rebellion against the soul. Throughout the
sonnet, the register of war is repeatedly used to capture the
nature of this relationship, as are the registers of the earth,
and of materialism. In fact, it is through these registers that
the relationship between the body and soul can be understood, and
a phrase can be selected to explain how the "soul" of the first
line is connected to the "rebel powers" of the second line. By
analyzing the registers of war, earth, and materialism, it becomes
evident that the soul, by its struggle for power, by physical
bonds and by temptation, is ultimately "yoked to" the body.
This is an excellent paper, especially
considering that it is the first paper of the semester.
I would encourage the writer, however, to
think more about how one goes about crafting a thesis. Many
students fell into the same pattern: "By doing this, this, and
that, it becomes evident that my choice is best." The problem with
this method is that it says what you are doing rather than
actually doing it. See what I mean? Here is a suggested
revision: "The registers of war, earth, and materialism yoke the
soul to the body in a relationship involving a struggle for power,
physical bonds, and temptation." I am thus presented with an
argument, not just an assertion, and the structure remains clear:
I see that the first paragraph will discuss the ways in which the
register of war represents the "yoking" of the body and the soul
in a relationship involving power, physicality, and temptation;
the second will do the same for the register of earth, and the
third for the register of materiality. (I'm not quite sure
"materiality" is the most productive term for this author; I'm
using it for the sake of the example.) Compare the original thesis
with my suggested revision: it's a subtle but important
For a stark contrast between a weak
transition and a stronger transition, compare body paragraphs two
and three. In body paragraph two, the author merely connects the
topics of the two paragraphs with "in addition." In body
paragraph three, the author connects not the topics but the
points of the two paragraphs. Remember this important
distinction between a topic, what you will write about, and
a point, what you will argue.
The main strength of this paper is its
wonderful attention to detail. Look at how the author pays close
attention to the language of almost every passage he or she
- "No title": Sonnet 146 examines a
conflict from two points of view. Initially, it tells of the
passivity of the soul, and how it withers away and years for the
nourishment it lacks, while submitting to the desires of the body.
This passivity is contrasted by the activity of the body,
represented by different metaphors, such as "sinful earth" (1),
and "rebel powers" (2). It surrounds the soul, and denies it the
strength it needs to regain control of the body. The
correspondence between these two images is essential to the flow
and form of this sonnet. The phrase "starved by," when inserted
into the second line, creates a seamless connection between these
two themes. Not only does "starved" accurately describe the
condition of the soul, but also it perfectly represents what it
seems the body has done to the soul, preventing it from receiving
This paper starts off with a wonderfully
nuanced argument concerning the shifts between activity and
passivity on the parts of the body and soul as they compete for
nourishment. Unfortunately, the paper doesn't follow through on
this part of the argument.
Like the previous paper, this one too pays
excellent attention to detail. Furthermore, it does the best job,
I think, of passing the "Who cares?" test. Look at the
endnotes and the references to the Bible. Clearly the writer is
invested in the argument!
In this paper, I would like you to look at
how the author wraps up the points of the paragraphs. See body
paragraph two, for instance. The topic sentence gives us the
point; the paragraph develops the point; and then, before moving
on to the next paragraph, the author returns to the point with
greater clarity than before.
[Note: I'd cut the first three sentences
of the first paragraph and the last sentence of the last
paragraph. To me, they seem to detract from rather than add to the
argument. What do you think?]
- "An Analysis of Shakespeares Sonnet
146": How does one get to heaven? By indulging the body at the
expense of the soul, or by depriving the body instead? Which
division of the human entity is more justified in its desires? In
his "Sonnet 146," Shakespeare has depicted this eternal struggle
between the body and the soul as the relationship between a lord
and his subject. As the soul is identified as being of more
importance than the body in the registers of war, architecture and
power, it is clear that the missing words in the second line
should be "lord of."
Look at this paper as an example of
excellent close reading. The author pays close attention to
language. Each quotation leads to interesting analysis, and the
analysis emerges out of the specific terms of the
- "Bound by": The soul bound by "rebel
powers that thee array," (2) illustrates that the soul is
constantly feuding for the dominant position. The struggle for
power forces the physical structure of the body to serve as a
prison where the soul is kept hostage. Shakespeare illustrates the
soul as a victim, "having so short a lease," (5) leaving it to
suffer dearth and pain. Through spatial metaphors, the soul
becomes bound by the body in warfare, physical architecture and
the body's temporal existence.
Although this paper has some stylistic
problems, the thesis is very good. Compare this thesis with the
one I've revised above. Like my suggestion, this thesis
actually makes the argument rather than saying that the
paper will make an argument.
I'm not sure I understand body paragraph
three, but I admire its ambition. Like the author of the second
paper, the author of this paper is clearly invested in the
argument, here, and the reader wants to understand. See if
The following two papers are also among the top. Check them
- "Shakespeare's Sonnet 146": The
phrase that would best fill in the omitted words in Shakespeare's
Sonnet 146 would be "starved by," based on the theme of neglect of
the soul, the common register of words related to feeding, and the
relation to warfare, specifically siege tactics. The aspect of
neglect shows how the soul is being deprived, or starved, of what
it needs by the body. The register of words relating to feeding
reinforces the idea that "starved by" fits most appropriately
within the overall poem. The reference to siege warfare completes
the idea that "starved by" is the correct phrase to fit both the
meaning of the individual line, and also the whole sonnet.
- "Shakespeare's 'Sonnet 146'": In
Sonnet 146, careful study of the metaphors used to describe the
body, the relationship between the body and the soul, and
registers of warfare, structure, and mortality can clearly
identify the two missing words from line 2. After examination of
these three parts of the sonnet, it becomes obvious that the soul
is bound by the rebel powers of line 2 in a relationship that
progresses, evolves, and undergoes struggles for control, but
neither body or soul can separate from the other. Because of the
complete dependence between the body and the soul "bound by" is
the only phrase that completes line 2.
I present the remaining papers in no particular order. All of them
have excellent moments, though! Read through them, if you have the
time and the inclination.
- "Starving the Soul": The 146th sonnet
of William Shakespeare portrays the lifelong interaction between
the soul and the body. However, in the second line of the sonnet,
there are two syllables that were lost from the original printing.
Reading through the sonnet, one can see that there are many
different phrases that would fill this gap and make sense of the
sonnet. But if we take into consideration the register of war
present throughout the sonnet, the connection of the metaphor of
rebel powers to this register, and the definition of
array that will be presented in this paper, then
starved by best completes the sonnet.
- "Sonnet 146: The mistake of a printer and
the question of a lifetime": The words "starved by" are the
most fitting to the sonnet because of the their direct connection
to the register of siege warfare, and their connection to another
dominant register of the poem, that of hunger.
- "The Hungry Soul": In William
Shakespeares Sonnet 146, the characters of the poem
are immediately established. The Oxford English Dictionary
defines "earth" as "the body" (A13c). The key players in this
piece are the body and the soul. Once the characters of the sonnet
are established, Shakespeare proceeds to describe the relationship
between these two entities. However, the first two words of the
second line are missing in the sonnet. Yet it is obvious, through
the sonnets registers of nourishment, siege warfare, and the
souls hunger to regain control over the body, that the
absent words are "starved by."
- "Lord of these rebel powers that thee
": The Lord, representing the soul, rules over the
servant, or the body. In this case, however, the roles have been
reversed and the struggle is now for control, where the body is
gaining advantage. The soul in Shakespeare's Sonnet 146 must
reclaim its identity as "Lord of" the body and the entire being,
amongst false, materialistic adornments; inner "military"
rebellions, and ultimate struggles for power and control.
- "Void in Sonnet 146": Although the
true identity of the two missing syllables in "Sonnet 146" may
never be known, the optimal choice is "thrall to." Not only does
this selection satisfy the register of the poem, suffering, it
also correlates to the metaphor of the soul being a prisoner of
- "Sonnet 146": The soul, imprisoned
and surrounded by the body, must discard the elaborate and showy
facade with which the body surrounds itself in order to don the
more eternally rewarding garments of the divine. "Hemmed with"
clearly illustrates the position of the soul, surrounded by a body
that has rebelled against its rule, while fitting neatly into the
registers of architecture, clothing, and warfare, and working hand
in hand with the most important words in the poem, especially
"array" (2). Thus this phrase illustrates Shakespeare's
conclusion, that only through "buying terms divine" (11) can the
soul attain eternal life.
- "The Soul's Starvation": Due to the
prevalent register of siege warfare, its theme of conflict between
the soul and the body, and the message of the soul's salvation,
the phrase "Starved by" should clearly begin the second line of
this piece of work.
- "The Binding of the Soul": The
missing words from line two seem to hint at the most basic
relationship between the body and soul. The different metaphors
for the body throughout the sonnet, "rebel powers" (2) and
"charge" (8), and the registers of food and structure indicate
that the phrase "Bound by" is the best way to fill in the blank
and describe these relations of the soul to the body.
- "Sonnet #146": The registers in
Shakespeare's sonnet #146 are siege warfare and the neglect of the
soul. Line two of this sonnet contains these two registers, though
it is lacking the first two words. The phrase "starved by"
completes both registers and flows with the movement of the poem.
Other words could be substituted, but none would clarify both
registers as clearly as "starved by." "Starved by" best completes
the line while corresponding well with the registers of war and
the weakening of the soul.
- "'Sonnet 146' Solved": In
Shakespeares "Sonnet 146," the first two words of the second
line are unknown due to a printers error in the original
version. Several choices have been brought forth to fill this gap
and the best choice is that of "feeding." "Feeding" not only fits
with the registers of battle, greed, and hunger, but is also
powerful enough to balance out the last word of the second line,
Assignment #2 (3 pp.),
Again, great work! I'm so pleased with the way this class is
going. Almost everyone has a good grasp of the methods we've been
learning: thesis, topic sentences, transitions, and close reading. It
is rewarding to see so much development in so short a time. The
grades continue to be fairly high, averaging right around a B. The
grades also continue to be fairly close together.
The top eight papers all have strengths that I would like to point
out. Therefore, rather than go into the top two or three papers at
length, I will comment briefly on each of the top eight. If you feel
you are having trouble with your theses, look at any of the first
- "A Close Reading of 'She Wins' Skyy Vodka
Advertisement": The woman in the advertisement is not a
"damsel in distress;" rather, she dominates the scene. In
addition, the positions of the couple on the floor, the erotic
expression of the woman, and the empty martini glass all appear to
be remnants of the sexual scene that came moments before. What
remains in the scene is a sexually dominant female that has left
her male companion incoherent or dead on the floor. Either way, it
is clear to see that "she wins," which just happens to be the only
words of significance in the advertisement besides "Skyy Vodka."
Thus, the advertisement reverses the contemporary sexual roles for
men and women, and associates itself with the image of the
sexually dominant female. Moreover, the image of the sexually
dominant female appeases womens insecurity with their sexual
subordination and dependence on men, while alluring mens
insatiable appetite for sex.
First, look at the thesis. The language is
critical and forceful. Rather than describing what is in
the ad, the author interprets how the add "reverses the
contemporary sexual roles." Nowhere are these terms to be found
in the ad; they are terms from the author's critical
vocabulary. See the difference? Look at the next sentence: it
deals with the sexual subordination of women and their dependence
on men -- these are terms that allow the author to interpret or
analyze the ad rather than merely describe it.
One problem with this otherwise excellent
paper is that three paragraphs in a row begin with the same
construction, "While ..."!
- "I am Rubber and You are Glue": The
advertisers try to exploit the warning as a ridiculous judgment
from an irrational prude, rather than as a medical warning from a
caring professional. This reversal is accomplished on multiple
levels ... This brilliant ad laughs in the face of the Surgeon
Generals warning by making it the catalyst for the entire
campaign. By endorsing pleasure rather than caution, and stressing
the importance of a free life, instead of unnecessary
overprotection, the ad encourages the American people not only to
ignore the warning, but even to rebel against it.
Here is another paper with a strong thesis,
though I would push this author to continue to refine his or her
critical vocabulary. Isn't this ad really concerned with control
and transgression? The argument, nonetheless, is fantastic. It is
tight and coherent, and the reader is ready to be persuaded that
the ad works by juxtaposing prudish authority with decadent
rebellion, turning the surgeon general's warning to the ad's own
- "The Air Flightposite: Shoe of the Net
Gen": The shoe is shown as an x-factor, something unknown,
unpredictable, and unearthly. Primarily through its contrast with
the classic American hot dog, but also through its association
with the internet, Nike plays on the bizarre looks of its product
in an attempt to show the Air Flightposite as a worldly enigma
that leaves the traditional American life, associated with the hot
dog, far behind.
Yet another paper with an outstanding
thesis. I'd substitute "global" for "worldly" in order to clarify
the distinction this author is making between old and new
according to the following binary oppositions: hot dog / shoes,
American / global, unknown organic materials / unknown inorganic
materials, familiar / bizarre, hot dog stands / internet, etc.
This author has a great argument, but it could still be pushed
- "Do Chic Jeans Really Make You
Chic?": Television, movies, and magazines all portray the
ideal woman as tall, slender, youthful, and expressionless.
However, Chic Jeans wants to change that stereotype, by
offering sizes and styles for a diverse group of women, and
empower women to be proud of whom they are both inside and out.
Their advertisement claims that by wearing their "chic" jeans, you
will be content with all aspects of who you are. The women
portrayed in the advertisement challenge the audience to believe
that individuality and diversity, through the identities engaged,
the personas created, and the personal happiness each model
displays, is what makes people beautiful, just the way they are.
Although this paper has some stylistic
problems, it demonstrates an excellent command of logical
structure. Look at the transitions!
- "Style is not a Size
it is an Attitude": Marina
Rinaldi challenges the advertising tradition of thin models with
an ad that incorporates larger women, who are conventionally not
thought of as seductive. This advertisement strategically targets
larger women who feel confined by societys definition of the
"norm" and allows them to break free to make a statement about
their sexuality. By playing on our cultures standards of the
ideal feminine size, the advertisement represents the possibility
that larger women can transform their "size" into an "attitude"
defined by independence, power, and exoticism.
For solid topic sentences and transitions,
read this paper!
The thesis, too, is quite good. Could it
come out and say more clearly that the ad depends on the
transference of sexuality from exterior to interior
qualities, from "size" to "attitude"?
- "Jim Beam, A 'Real Friend'": This ad
represents Jim Beam bourbon as a true friend to any man, offering
dependability and authenticity, while also providing the support
only obtainable through exclusively male relationships. The
positive connotations associate with this ad appeal to most men,
but particularly to college aged, white, middle class, males.
I'd reverse the order of these two
sentences; the first provides a solid thesis, although it could be
pushed in the direction of more critical language. I'd rewrite as
follows: "The ad represents genuine and authentic male friendship
as exclusively homosocial, associating this homosocial
authenticity with Jim Beam bourbon."
This paper has some great close readings!
Read it through, paying attention to how the author looks closely
at the ad in order to explain how the ad means what the
paper is saying it means.
- "Omega: Going
where no watch has gone before": Omega uses the previous
successes of its business to paint an image of a strong company
with a solid product. This advertisement creates an image of
reliability and wonder around the product by associating it with
space programs around the world yet creates appeal for the product
on the planet, as well as in space.
Here is another paper that provides some
fine examples of strong topic sentences and transitions: see the
topic sentences of the first three body paragraphs, in
- "Success in the Palm of your Hand":
This ad for UPS and 3com preys on this ideal since so many people
strive towards the "American dream." This ad plays on the ideal of
the successful businessperson by showing the power that the
businessperson has over all that is around him, by contrasting his
profession with the others in the ad, specifically how they deal
with their hands compared to their minds, and by showing some of
his wealthy lifestyle. These are all aspects which we are lead to
believe we should strive for so that we can enjoy life and be what
we want to be.
First, look at what a solid thesis the
author has in the second to last sentence here. Then, however,
instead of nailing down the argument in one sentence that
synthesizes the critical terms at stake, the author falls back on
cliched and vague generalities: "aspects which we are lead
[sic.] to believe we should strive for so that we can
enjoy life and be what we want to be." What critical terms might
serve the author better?
The writing has some stylistic problems, and
the transitions are weak, but take this paper as a model of close
reading, particularly in the first and second body
I present the remaining papers in no particular order. All of them
have excellent moments, though! Read through them, if you have the
time and the inclination.
- "I smell sex and Candies
here": In a Candies ad, the viewer is encouraged to
purchase the product because of the focus on the people and the
assumption that all the viewers are comfortable and open about
their sexuality; this creates the Daring Girl/Guy persona that
entices the consumer to obtain the product.
- "Reading an Advertisement": Through
the strategic placement of color in the ad, the use of a woman as
the central figure, and manipulative writing, readers are
attracted to this ad by the false premise that use of this Hewlett
Packard product will insure them success and individuality in
corporate America. However, when you look beyond the superficial
situation that is shown in the ad, the truth behind this scenario
remains to be seen. The ad represents that success in corporate
America is the result of ones individuality and the
technology they use rather then conformity to a standard and lots
of hard work.
- "The Smokers Persona": Since
[Camel's] product is one that can be directly linked to
health problems, they not only advertise to boost sales but also
to sway public opinion. In this particular advertisement, Camel
solely targets men by creating a persona of rugged men who are
sexually attractive and unafraid of death and danger.
Levi's silverTab Jeans": Other than
the silverTab logo and locations of where to buy them, there is no
text. Conversations among the characters or promotions to buy the
pants do not exist. These subtle advertisements utilize medium,
presentation, situation and identity to portray silverTab jeans as
classic, essential and fashionable. The ads themselves being
unique in style, they emphasize the cutting edge,
urban-experimental images they portray and make these images
appeal to more ordinary viewers.
- "Lee Dungarees Advertisement": Buddy
Lee is featured in the most recent advertisements for Lee
Dungarees jeans as a movie stunt man who jumps out of airplanes
without a parachute. It is the jeans that he wears that allow him
to do these wild stunts. They are durable enough to take on any
type of task, and are genuine made since 1889. By portraying Lee
Dungarees as cool, youthful, glamorous, and adventurous, this ad
says that the 17-20 year old males aspirations can be
realized, but they can still maintain the authenticity of their
- "Its a woman thing": By playing
on American social standards the Virginia Slims company targets
middle class women and preys on their desires to be the
stereotypical All-American woman as well as a modern woman all in
an attempt to get them to buy Virginia Slims brand cigarettes.
- "The Camel Man": The Camel cigarette
advertisement featuring a sailor having his cigarette lit for him
not only sells cigarettes but also sells sex, masculinity, and
independence; the advertisement accomplishes this through content,
color, and artistic style, all of which provides a very persuasive
argument for buying Camel cigarettes.
Assignment #3 (5-7 pp.),
Practically all of you did wonderful research for this assignment,
and I continue to be very pleased with the spirit of this class! You
threw yourselves into the work, and all of you clearly learned an
impressive amount from your research. Along with knowledge about your
subjects, you gained research and citation skills that will serve you
well throughout your college careers. Only a third of you, however,
transformed your research into the kind of papers I had hoped you
would all produce. When it came to applying your critical faculties
to The Diary, too many of you failed to push yourselves,
settling instead for fairly obvious gestures to The Diary as
further "evidence." Symptomatic of this problem is the fact that many
of you chose to write about The Diary in the past tense! For
examples of papers that did an especially good job of not
treating The Diary as evidence but rather as a literary text
to be interpreted, see the first two papers below.
The grades remain fairly high, averaging between a B- and a B. The
range of grades is as follows: 5 papers earned a B+ or higher; 5
papers received a B/B+, B, or B-/B; and 6 papers received a B- or
I am concerned that many of you are still failing to understand --
or to put your understanding into practice! -- the distinction
between an argument and a mere observation or statement of fact. Far
too many of the papers do not have a thesis!
For the next paper, I will absolutely not accept any paper that does
not have a thesis. If you've been having trouble in this area, I
strongly encourage you to discuss your next thesis with me in advance
during my office hours.
Also, far too many of you seem to have forgotten all the work
we've done -- or forgotten to put that work into practice! -- on
argumentation/organization: topic sentences and, especially,
transitions. For the next paper, I will
absolutely not accept any paper that fails to provide clear and
specific transitions connecting the point, not just the
subject, of the preceding paragraph to the point of the present
You all continue to do wonderful work for this class, and it is
now becoming especially important that you put into practice the
techniques you have learned. Thanks for a great first half of the
semester, and I'm looking forward to the remainder of our course.
- "German Propaganda: Its Influence on
Europe During World War II and its Significance in Anne Frank:
The Diary of a Young Girl": German broadcasts took
advantage of the radio as a means to communicate their
anti-Semitic messages to the rest of Europe. Having researched how
the Nazis manipulated not only the radio broadcasts, but
all forms of media, it is clear how essential the
communication of Nazi ideals was in establishing and maintaining
control of European throughout the war. Even more intriguing,
however, are the ways in which the people of the occupied
countries responded to the Nazi domination of the media. One
response was to create subtle, new methods for communicating that
undermined this domination. In sharp contrast, however, was the
response of countering Nazi control and its influence by
establishing more self-imposed restrictions. Thus, in light of the
extensive grip with which the Nazis controlled the means of
communication, the Jews in the diary were forced to develop
subversive means of communicating, as well as their own
restrictions on communication.
This paper certainly has a thesis, an
argument of which the reader needs to be persuaded. Do you
see the difference between an argument, of which a reader needs to
be persuaded, and an observation, a statement that is simply true?
This paper proposes, on the basis of research on media propaganda
during WWII, that the Jews in The Diary responded to Nazi
control of the media in two ways: first, by subverting those
controls and finding other ways to communicate, and second, by
imposing their own restrictions on the forms of
communication available to them. It is an interesting argument
that The Diary represents resistance as both subversion and
self-restriction, don't you think?
After a rocky opening, this paper is very
well written. Read it and pay close attention to its style.
The style is best when the sentences are concise and clear, not
long or fancy!
Finally, this paper has one fantastic
paragraph that interprets Anne's text, treating it, as it
deserves, as a literary work. I'll send you to that paragraph
The next paragraph, unfortunately, gives us quotations fast and
thick but fails to interpret them with as much careful attention
to detail as the preceding paragraph.
All in all, though, an excellent
- "Wear the Yellow Badge with Pride":
One of the most crucial restriction placed on Jews was the
obligation for them to wear a yellow Star of David on their breast
and back. This identified them as a member of the Jewish race;
they were classified as Jewish if one or more of their
grandparents were Jewish, even if they didnt practice
Judaism (Gutman 138). The yellow stars were used to group them as
one people, not individuals, and to humiliate them in the eyes of
non-Jews. In The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank resists
this form of limitation, the wearing of the yellow star, by
defining herself as a member of a unique family, a member of the
Dutch culture, and as two distinct internal identities.
This paper, too, has a good thesis. What do
you think? It does more than just present the fact of the
yellow stars; rather, it offers an argument about their effect.
The yellow stars, this author proposes, defined Jews as one
uniform race rather than as individual human beings. The
Diary, then, resists this specific form of control by
representing Anne as an individual in familial, national, and
personal terms. Both the argument and the logical structure of the
paper are thus clear.
Most of all, though, this paper does the
best job of interpreting The Diary. Read the paragraphs in
which this paper pays close attention to the ways in which The
Diary constructs individuality! I'll send you to those
- "The Annex Versus the Ghetto": Even
though the annex in which the Frank family hid was not classified
as an official ghetto, Anne was still subjected to the same types
of oppression as the ghetto Jews were. Hasty and militant
organization, crowded and famine-filled living conditions, and
underground rebellion groups secretly protesting authority all
occurred in both the annex and the ghetto. Annes diary
itself was a form of rebellion against her family; it was her
personal secret activity that brought comfort to her otherwise
friendless life. This comfort allowed Anne Frank to occupy her
mind with other thoughts, dreams, and imaginary situations that
temporarily took her out of the annex, and ultimately filled her
soul with hope for deliverance; this same hope is the only thing
on which the ghetto Jews survived. Both the Jews in the ghetto and
Anne in the annex were prejudiced, ignored, and isolated; this
oppression forced them to seek within themselves to find the
inspiration to hope for future happiness.
Very well written and meticulously
researched, this paper could easily have been truly excellent
rather than just good.
First, the thesis is too vague, no? Also, be
careful about cliched language: "seek within themselves," "find
inspiration," "hope for future happiness." The paper has the
potential for a solid argument, but these generalities don't get
The paper draws a startling parallel between
the ghettos and the Annex, but the author pulls up short when it
comes time to interpret The Diary on the basis of this
parallel. Too many of you miss opportunities to do close
readings, and this paper provides an excellent example of such a
missed opportunity. I'll send you to the paragraph in question
Discussing Anne's isolation within the community of the Annex, the
author quotes the following passage: "They criticize everything,
and I mean everything, about me: my behavior, my personality, my
Im supposed to grin and bear it. But I
cant!" (Frank 43). Although the point of the paragraph
concerns Anne's isolation, the author gives us this
quotation and then moves on without even calling our attention to
the repeated first person pronouns: "I," "me," "my," "my," "my,"
This is a good paper, though! I'm
particularly impressed by its insightful, thorough, and dynamic
presentation of research. The writing is mature and vigorous, and
the reader thus cares about the author's work.
Milk for Little Jewesses': The Fate of Jewish Schoolchildren from
1933 to 1942": What, exactly, did
education mean to the Jews; what gave it so much importance? One
of Anne entries provides insight. On Wednesday, November 3, 1943,
Annes father bought his daughters a correspondence school
catalog, "to take our minds off matters as well as to develop
them"(140). Education had a threefold purpose: it served as a way
for Jews to secretly defy Hitlers laws, it gave them an
aspect of their lives that they could control in the face of so
much uncertainty, and it represented the Jews hope of a more
enlightened future; even while they were being severely persecuted
for it, the Jews valued education above all else.
Here is another paper with a good thesis. On
the basis of thorough and detailed research, this author concludes
that education, both for Jews living under Nazi control and for
the members of the Annex, constituted a form of resistance in
three distinct ways: active subversion of anti-Semitic laws,
reclamation of control over one's own self and life (what else is
the writing of a diary?!), and hope for "a more enlightened
future." "Enlightened" is a powerful word, here! Well
Unfortunately, when it comes to making this
excellent argument, the paper fails to apply the techniques of
that we have learned. Also, like the last paper, this one doesn't
give The Diary its due as a literary text.
- "Communication and Entertainment: the
Importance of Radio in The Diary of Anne Frank": As
shown in The Diary of Anne Frank, the radio played an
important role in the lives of average citizens, and especially in
those in resistance against the Nazis. Programs from America and
England served as fairly reliable sources of information about the
war as well as providing much-needed entertainment. Simply by
listening to these programs, Jews and Christians alike defied the
Nazis and their propaganda intellectually. Going into hiding was a
way of physically resisting Nazi control. For those hiding in the
Secret Annex, however, the foreign radio broadcasts were very
important to daily life and provided an influential way of
resisting Nazi intellectual control.
Look at the beginning of this paper for an
example of a great opening! The author cares about hooking the
reader in a serious and legitimate way. In a paper about the
tensions between control and resistance in terms of both
communication during WWII and Anne's diary, the juxtaposition
between Joseph Goebbels and Anne Frank up front is arresting and
effective. The first paragraph is then forceful and clear. Again,
it is possible to write well without being fancy! Look at the
first three sentences: fantastic.
The thesis is almost there, but it remains
too general: "important to daily life," "an influential way of
resisting Nazi intellectual control." As with many of your papers,
this one has an argument but fails to make it up front, settling
instead for vague generalities, of which no reader really needs to
be persuaded. See?
Although the paper offers an excellent
presentation of research, this author too seems to have forgotten
to apply the techniques of argumentation that we have learned:
transitions! Also, the paper pulls up short when it comes time to
interpret The Diary. We need at least another paragraph, I
Having read over these five papers
and my comments, you should all have a good sense of what you need to
do in your next critical paper. If your paper is not among the top
five, take the opportunity now to review your paper and to compare it
with the papers above and with my comments on them. The differences
between your papers and the better ones are matters of
practice, not of ability! All of you -- I mean this! --
are now capable of producing excellent college-level writing. If you
are not satisfied with your performance thus far, make a list of the
specific areas in which you need to improve, and then let's talk. At
this point in the semester, your progress is largely up to
Four of you neglected to include your
Works Cited list along with the electronic version of your paper.
me your Works Cited list as
soon as possible, and I will add it to your paper on the
As always, the following papers,
which I present in no particular order, have many strengths. In this
case, the research is generally excellent, so by all means, read over
as many of the following papers as you can. I've been impressed by
how much we have all come to respect one another this semester, and I
hope these papers on the web give you further opportunities to know
one another as critical thinkers and writers.
Frank's Resistance": The
Dutch people and the members of the Secret Annex defied the Nazi
control of media and religion by counteracting with restrictions
of their own. To rebel against the restrictions on the media, the
Dutch people, the Franks, and the van Daans, listened to the BBC
instead of German broadcasts and refused to read German books; and
also revolted against the restrictions on religion by practicing
their own faiths and remaining devout despite persecution.
Frank & Identifying the Jewish in World War
II": The identification of
Jews was undertaken systematically through repeated widespread
means in order to expedite the Final Solution of the Nazis, and
these methods can be found in the Diary of Anne Frank in the form
of how the residents of the secret annex identify with themselves,
and how they are identified by the general public.
of Nazi Propaganda on the Dutch":
Resistance to the propaganda campaign in the Netherlands can be
seen on a large scale with the mass strikes and underground
resistance groups and intimately through the Diary of Anne
Diary of Anne Frank: Confinement of Time and
Mobility" [No Works
Cited list]: The arrival of the Germans severely altered the
daily schedules and the future of the Jewish community, including
the Frank family. The Franks made the decision to passively
resist the regulations and restrictions enforced by Hitler by
hiding in a secret Annex. Although choosing to hide imposed
restrictions on the Frank family they still maintained some
control over their thoughts, daily routines, and schedules, thus
defying the temporal exterior confinements, which Hitler
regimented. By passively resisting the Nazi regime the Frank's
present the possibility to control their own temporal life in the
Annex by mobility, time, and self-identity.
Transit Camp and the 'Secret Annex': All too
Similar": The rules of the
annex were often very similar to those of Westerbork, the Nazi
transit camp located in the Netherlands. In the same way, the
final result of the annex residents and that of the prisoners of
Westerbork were quite similar. The annex and camp Westerbork
relate greatly in the restrictions placed on their residents, the
living conditions they dealt with, and the final fates of those
residents. These similarities in structure and restrictions allow
for an intriguing comparison between life in a Nazi controlled
camp, and life in hiding. Due to the striking similarities between
Anne Franks "secret annex" and the Nazi transit camp
Westerbork, Franks diary serves as representation of the
Jewish suffering as a whole during the Holocaust.
German Laws for Segregation vs. Dutch and Jewish
Resistance": By studying
the restrictions and limitations the Nazis placed on the Jewish
people we can see how they were separated from society, how the
Jews dealt with this persecution and why the Franks resorted to
life in the annex. The separation from society by explicit
identification and having to wear the yellow star were
restrictions Jews were forced to deal with, but it was the threat
of losing their lives in a concentration camp after deportation
that pushed the Frank family into hiding from the Nazi regime.
Holocaust" [No Works
Cited list]: During World War II the Nazis, led by Hitler,
sought to eradicate the Jewish people of Europe. One of the most
shocking aspects of this war was how Hitler accomplished his goal.
He was able to convince millions of people that Jewish people did
not deserve to live. His tactics, often referred to as
"psychological warfare" effected not only the Jewish people but
also the Christians and the Nazis. In The Diary of a Young Girl
by Anne Frank an example of Jewish resistance to this
psychological warfare is seen.
Restrictions on Mobility":
Even though the restrictions decreasing mobility, by limiting
transportation and by implementing time restrictions, placed on
the Jewish people and on the families in the annex were severe and
hard to deal with, we can see, in Anne Franks The Diary
of a Young Girl, that they all found a way to resist giving in
to the Germans by being optimistic, by not causing a disturbance,
and through the belief that things will turn out better in the
Faith" [No Works Cited
list]: Once the actualities of the war began to unfold, both
Anne and Elie [Wiesel] lost their innocence. We have
literary proof of their feelings and thoughts throughout the war.
We have some insight into what acted as their lighthouse, the
guiding light that lifted them from the real world. Both Weisel
and Frank attribute their prosperity to God. Despite six years of
complete exile and Nazi attempts at eliminating all Jewish culture
and tradition, European Jews like Elie Weisel and Anne Frank
maintained their faith in God and trust in the Jewish
of Anne Frank: Maintaining Identity in the Face of Nazi
Oppression": As I learned
more about the yellow star and the associations that accompanied
it, I noticed that in her diary Anne described similar experiences
in the annex to those of other Jews during the Holocaust. By
reading her diary I realized that Anne Frank maintained her
identity in the face of isolation and judgment brought on by the
adults of the annex, as the Jews maintained their identity despite
the oppression that accompanied the yellow badge.
Imposed Restrictions in The Netherlands"
[No Works Cited list]: Two broad restrictions that are
often overlooked in history in comparison with the actual
Holocaust in general are the restrictions on the sports and
culture of Jews during the 1930s and 1940s. Although
these regulations did not directly translate into death for Jews,
they did have a very severe psychological side effect on people,
making them easier to be conquered later on. It was possible to
persevere however, as seen by various passages in Anne
Franks The Diary of a Young Girl, through this
cultural and psychological drought. By doing various activities,
many of which are in the form of resistance to Nazi imposed
restrictions, such as exercising, reading, and listening to music,
the group of people hiding in the Annex were able to survive these
tough restrictions, and were even able to lead a surprisingly
normal life considering the political and social parameters of
Excellent work on a fine set of narratives and essays. Some of the
stories are truly wonderful: don't miss "July
The end of the semester is near, and everyone now understands the
techniques of argumentation that we have learned, so I will only
comment briefly on three papers. If you are still having trouble with
your thesis, topic sentences, transitions, or close reading, look
closely at these three papers and my comments on them.
and Language in 'Local School'"
School"]: In his personal narrative
"Local School," Patrick Karjala uses spatial imagery in order to
demonstrate how different groups can be divided over, or form
around, language. Each of the many groups in the story has a
specific language, or jargon, as well as a specific place they
fill. Together, they do not form a definitive whole, however.
Rather they are chaotic and muddled. Patrick, as the outsider, can
understand and appreciate this "salad bowl" culture, but not
become a part of it. Thus, it is only from this unique viewpoint,
the reader is able to clearly see each of the groups in the story
and the ways that language and space divide and define
Although the thesis could certainly be more
focused, look at what wonderful interpretations emerge out of this
paper's attention to detail. If you are having trouble with close
reading, with paying careful attention to the language of your
text, look at what this paper does after each quotation! The
transitions could use work as well, but the logical progression of
the argument is nonetheless clear and effective.
- "Never Judge a Book
["Waves of Consequence and
Culture"]: Throughout the narrative, the reader witnesses
the unattractive consequences to the lifeguards tendency to
expect every situation to be as logical and structured as his
childhood was. The lifeguards culture taught him to
reward/punish actions one at a time, without thinking to evaluate
the context of the act that might make it seem more
understandable; without this context, the lifeguard applies
consequences to acts that are based more on assumptions than
knowledge. By mentally inserting identical cultural backgrounds
into the lives of the people around him, the lifeguard unfairly
assumes they should act and behave the way he would.
Don't miss either this story or this paper!
at the very end of the story, before the closing two lines of
dialogue, speaks for itself.
The essay presents a strong and intriguing
argument through careful close reading. Please read this paper
- "Critical Essay on Eric Ankrims
Personal Narrative, 'The Fair'" ["The
Fair"]: The disproportionate importance that the culture
presented in the narrative places on appearances pressures the
protagonist to construct a surface identity to present to others.
The society of the story places such importance on superficial
qualities that the protagonist invests his identity in a mask
which not only hides his face, but makes his own self-perception
dependent on the feedback of others; however, by assuming that
society is accountable for his mistakes, the protagonist reveals
his characteristic inability to take responsibility for his
Don't miss this story or paper
The logical structure of this paper is very
strong. If you are still having trouble with organization or
structure, look at how this paper moves from one paragraph to the
The analysis, too, is excellent, don't you
think? Again, look at how the paper introduces and then examines
quotations in detail. For instance, after quoting the story's
descriptions of the merry-go-round and the funhouse, the writer
finds the meaning in the details. Check it out here!
The following papers and stories are presented
in no particular order, but do look at them. As I said in class, I
was particularly pleased with the insights your creative writing
offers. We all know each other fairly well, but we will know each
other better, and for the better, after reading each other's
- "Pride and Pity" ["An
Amigo's Adventure"]: While Kevin Mobergs An
Amigos Adventure describes an incident from the
perspective of a small, young, Mexican boy, it also reveals a lot
about the culture of the Americans who came to build this boy a
new house. Throughout the work, there are comparisons between the
way the little Mexican boy lives his life, and the American
middle-class teenager way of life. Class differences are portrayed
frequently, including contrasts between availability of mechanical
tools and the quality of housing. Through demonstrations of those
class differences, along with the feelings of pride and pity, the
identity of the American teenagers are revealed as caring,
understanding people, eager to share their own happiness and joy
- "Musical Dreams" ["Mrs.
Bs Great Presentation"]: In "Mrs. Bs Great
Presentation" the author, Noah Hock, tells the story of the
meeting of his first great love, music. He is only nine, still in
grade school, when his music teacher introduces him to the viola.
The way in which the author and his family react to this
introduction demonstrates the very strong ties between culture and
identity. The author conveys these ties between family and
individual identity by expressing his feelings on the subject and
how it changed him; this is done through word choice and
- "Reflections of Culture"
["Giving and Receiving"]:
Although so many assumptions can be made about her character just
based on her involvement in this mission, by closely examining her
re-telling of one incident, it is possible to examine not only her
character, but how the culture in which she has been raised has
helped to mold her identity. Malissas reactions to
experiences she has on her youth mission to Mexico reveal how the
environment she was raised in emphasized the importance of
stability, not only of a home but also of family, and the
importance of self-sufficiency, while also accepting and
appreciating gifts and favors. Moreover, the fact that Malissa is
there at all, donating her time and efforts to those less
fortunate than herself, with her church, expresses her values of
faith and neighborly love.
- "Mikes Challenging Hike"
["Camping With Idiots"]:
Through his story of the trip one can easily see how he could
learn about himself through this testing. By looking closely at
the text one can see that Mike is a person sometimes faced with
fear which can be overcome by taking chances, with a deep respect
for the environment and a trusting nature which sometimes leads
him into a state of disillusionment.
- "An Analysis of Kirsten Lloyds "A
Family Portrait'" ["A Family
Portrait"]: Although Lizzy has never fully felt secure in
knowing the origins of her identity, it is only at the age of
seventeen that she learns why: Lizzy's mother had been adopted. As
the two women share such a close, personal bond, Lizzy has
inherited her mothers sense of not belonging.
- "Sweet Sunlight" ["The
Boundary Waters: A Test of Character"]: Julie and her
group of friends find that while their initial thoughts are of
"taming the wilderness," in actuality, the wilderness tames them
in a rush of motion and excitement. The nature around them
challenges each member of the group, bringing out their most raw
and natural thoughts and feelings in a flurry of the elements.
"The Boundary Waters: A Test of Character" introduces themes of
invariable motion through images of natural movement in the wind
and air, the force of the water, and the internal energy of each
member of the group.
- "An Essay on Nasira Beck's Personal
People of similar backgrounds have an easier time connecting and
accepting each other. But "culture" does not always mean "race."
Being of the same race as someone else does not automatically mean
that an individual will be accepted into a group. In many groups,
there is a pressure to conform to the majority. This can be seen
in Nasira Becks short narrative, "story." In this piece, the
author shows how cultural differences can divide two people of the
- "Dealing with Death" ["Life
or Death"]: The main character overcomes the stillness and
finality of Kims death with faith and confidence gleaned
from his religion and by recollection and application of the
"power" in physical touch. This power was shown by the influence
Kim had on others and by the comfort it brought to his mourners.
If his religion did not hold promise of a better place after
death, he would have had to face a deeper sense of loss and
- "Identity Revealed in Mexico"
["A Lesson Learned In Mexico"]:
Through comparing the Mexican culture and Alices identity
with that of Jessica, it can be determined that Jessicas
identity is one that stereotypes people and has trouble seeing
past those brands, only trusts written contracts, and does not
- "Human Nature in the Afternoon"
["July Bug"]: While most
people dont ever reach the point of bigotry, they are not
always as kind and happy as they consider themselves to be. "The
July Bug," by Sarah Krone, depicts this idea through a narrative
of the authors experience while working at a summer camp. By
conveying her feelings during a day at this summer camp, Krone
manages to depict a persons ability to dislike or even
despise others without reason or provocation as well as show how a
multitude of factors can add up to bring such a reaction
- "Life for Granted" [No
title]: How has the surrounding culture and geography
shaped and molded her character? What is the result of this
sculpting? The story, which uses and theme of basic necessities,
and portrays the character as taking for granted the environment
that she lives in, shows how the surrounding culture and geography
that Kirsten has grown up in has shaped her character.
Struggle of Self-Identity through Laughter"
[Story never sent ...]: Kristen illustrates that life is
delicately structured architecture built upon intra-personal
relationships. Through her relationship with Brandon, a difficult
child at best, she exploits her past and present cultural
experiences, which have shaped and identified her inter-personal
identity. By breaking through Brandons symbolic walls of
seclusion Kristen discovers that her inner faith, humor, and
perseverance can carve pathways for deeper relationships with
others and herself.
#5 (5-7 pp.), May 3
"Never Judge a Book ... (part 2)":
Victors imagination creates an increasingly grotesque image of
the creation. This developed condemnation that Victor imposes onto
the creation is similar to all of the creations other
encounters with human beings. This repeated rejection causes the
creation to realize that "All men hate the wretched; how then must I
be hated, who am miserable beyond all living things" (Shelley 65).
Eventually, therefore, the creation accepts its role as a monster
based solely on the reactions it receives from other human beings.
However, these spiteful reactions are inspired by irrational fears
that result from the human nature of the characters to form
preconceptions about the creation based on their prior
"The Being: Child or Monster?": Mary
Shelleys Frankenstein is a comparison of Nature vs.
Nurture. Some critics argue that the Being is a monster from birth,
while others claim that it cannot be limited to such a narrow
category. The argument lies in the education of the Being. He is not
a born killer, but is created by the rejection of society. The Being
is born an innocent creature with ability to appreciate the sublime,
but after learning about human emotions, he is transformed into a
monster through the emotional rejection he receives from a human
"An In-depth Look at the Creation: Is it Man
or Beast?": Miltons Paradise Lost is studied by the
creation as a guide to his own beginnings; he is torn between the two
identities that it reveals, Adam and Satan; although he longs to be
Adam, he is pushed by society to accept that he is Satan. Adam, man,
was the desired creation, while Satan, the beast, is the hated
"Identity": The domestic void in the
creatures life creates a barrier between him and the rest of
civilization. Victors creation continually asks, "Who was I?
What was I?" (86) and society answers with "wretch" (35) and
"monster" (37); it is these responses that give the creature
"The Nature of Power and Bonds of
Relations": The fall of the ancient civilizations in many ways
symbolized the downfall of two tragic figures in the novel, Victor,
and the Creature. In Frankenstein, the absence of the mutual
bonds within the feminine realm of domestic affections perpetuates
the masculine passion for the sublime attributes of power. In
pursuing their ambitions for power, both Victor and the Creature
become slaves to impulse, perpetually binding themselves to one
another in their hatred and vengeance.
"Frankenstein": The Creation ... is
shaped by his first experiences in this world and by his own train of
logic. As a result of this, the creations actions can often be
explained by examining his early life. The Creation is not a thing of
evil; he commits evil acts only because he perceives them to be the
only available course of action. Therefore, the Creation is, at his
core, a good and wholesome being, but his education and situation
lead him to commit acts of cruelty and evil.
"The Reactions that Shape the Creation":
Victor Frankensteins creation has a very well educated
upbringing, mostly by his own hand. He is well mannered, and has good
intentions at first. But because of his appearance, people react to
him negatively. This drives him to perform evil deeds and acts, and
turn against society. Victor Frankensteins creation has a
chance at living a normal life, but the negative reactions of the
cottage family, Victor, and society cause the creation to become a
monster in all senses of the word, turn to murder, and live a
"The Sublime & Aspirations of
Grandeur": Victor is a complicated, receptive, impressionable
individual; one for whom experiences directly shape his being. His
attitude concerning the sublime is what ultimately directs his
future. As Victor's obsession with the magnificent permeates his
mind, his lust to command the unknown claims his body, and in
creating that being of perfect sublimity, Victor requisitions his
soul. It is not meant for humans to control the sublime, but simply
to experience it. A close encounter usually proves tragic.
Victors aspires to possess some aspect of the sublime, yet once
he gains it he cant control it; his demise is the final
"The Two 'Monsters' of Mary Shelleys
Frankenstein": Neither the creature nor Victor fully
understands the complex relationships between people and the
expectations and responsibilities that accompany any relationship.
The two "monsters" in this book, Victor Frankenstein and his
creation, are the only characters without strong family ties; the
creature because Frankenstein runs from him, and Victor because he
runs from his family.
"Frankenstein: The Power of Fire and
Familial Bonds": Both "the creature" and
Victors power become characterized by a tension between nature
and nurture; therefore identifying each of their chaotic existence.
The types of power which are represented by metaphors of fire in the
novel, shed light on the nurturing power of familial bonds (hearth)
and the uninhibited power of nature (wild chaotic fire). Therefore
the presence of power as the existence of fire and the "domestic
circle" represents the creation of an identity as the conflict
between uncontrollable power and bounded/constrained power.
"A True 'Monster'": The creature is in
fact a cold-hearted wretch whose vindictive nature is brought through
the killings which take place throughout the story. Regardless of his
unfortunate upbringing and life, however, the creature is a being
determined to ruin the life of Victor, through being the master of
Victors life and every day existence, almost in a slave and
master scenario, who feels remorse but continues to kill anyway and
is therefore deserving of the title, "monster".
"The 'creature' of Frankenstein":
The creature of Frankenstein is a caring, compassionate being
that is forced into the barbaric way that he lives his life through
the prejudices of his creator, Victor. The term that best represents
this being is, as Victor originally states, a "new species," and
through the neglect by Victor and others around him who couldnt
overlook the crude design of the bodily features, this "new species"
was forced to find its place in the world only through revenge,
primarily targeted at Victor.
"To Be a Monster": Through his contact
with humans the creature "[becomes] fully convinced that
[he is] in reality the monster that [he is]" (Shelley
76) but endeavors to change his status as a monster to that of a
Daniel E. White