Write an “interpretive essays” onThe Boys' Crusade by Paul Fussell, to focus on some idea that you found important or interesting in the book you have read. They are based on your readings, and our discussions of them, and do not require additional research or footnotes. Paper are to be written in your own words, and all papers will be checked for copying from sources.
TITLE PAGE—TAKING A POINT OF VIEW
The paper must have a separate cover sheet on which appear your title, indicating your subject and the view you have taken of it. Ideally, the title will give the reader a quick glimpse of what you intend to say, or provoke interest in reading your paper. The title would be –The ugly side of War: The value on a human life
Your job is to persuade us of something to believe about your topic, not merely to report the facts. Think of your title like a headline in a newspaper, which is intended to get readers involved quickly. If by the time you have written your essay, you can't think of a good title, you may not have made a very clear point for your reader. That means your paper needs revision.
INTRODUCTION: WHERE ARE WE?
Your first paragraph is important, and should not be dull. You need to tell us something significant and/or interesting, preferably in the first line. Readers are busy people, and they don't have time for material that doesn't hook them immediately. You need to state your position right away. This serves three purposes:
1) your reader will follow you because you are being clear and interesting;
2) your reader will have a basic question to keep in mind as he/she reads what follows;
3) most important, putting your opinion up front will keep you from getting lost as you write.
Always assume your reader is ignorant. He or she knows nothing about your subject. You need to provide a quick background to explain to them what you will be talking about. The simplest way to handle this is to do what reporters do, use the "five W's and one H" formula: who, what, where, when, why and how?
You should not spend a long time orienting your reader. Just give them the basic facts they need to understand what you will be talking about.
THE BODY: CONSTRUCTING YOUR ARGUMENT
Your next step is to persuade me to accept something. What you say may be different from what I already believe. You can't expect me to just take what you say at face value. that means you have to do three things:
a) tell me what you believe;
b) provide me with the reasons why you believe it;
c) show me examples that support your belief.
Once you do this I can decide whether I agree with any of the above steps. I could agree with what you believe, for example, but not agree with your reasons for thinking so. I might disagree, at (a) (b) or (c).
Example: a) The American boys were heroic. (I agree that they valued acts of courage)
b) because they acted on their values (I agree, but also they could be harsh)
c) they left a tradition for us to imitate (I disagree…for example they put Socrates to death for pursuing his ideas of truth)
The point to remember is that as your reader I am continually sorting what you are saying, believing some of it and rejecting some of it. You are trying to build the best case possible in favor of your argument, getting me to come to the same conclusions as you. You are trying to establish that yours is the best possible explanation of your subject.
CONCLUSION: WRAPPING IT UP
When you write a conclusion, you are doing two things. You are pulling together what you have said, and reminding me how important it is. One way of doing this is to briefly rehearse your argument: you have said that the American boys were heroic, your reason for thinking so is X, and your examples show that they were in fact heroes.
That still leaves the larger question, that is, what relevance does this have to the present. Were they the type of heroes we would value today? Would we value some part of what they did, but not all of it?
Think of your conclusion as the "SO WHAT?" section of your paper: what difference would it make if these people had never lived, or this event never occurred? How would the world be different? A strong conclusion will leave your reader with something to think about, like, “Fame and glory are still worth sacrifice” (or not, depending on your view.)
RULES OF THE ROAD
REVISE—don't expect to get a perfect paper with the first draft. You should expect to revise as part of the writing process. Think of doing your own revisions rather than having to revise a paper that is returned to you. If you want to talk over a paper before you submit it, that is acceptable.
DON'T COPY—borrowing language from your sources is not useful. It means you are having problems saying what you mean. It also shows immediately. Your "voice", which consists of primarily of word choice and sentence structure is your trademark. Original thoughts will be buried once you start taking information straight from the book. A paper that appears to be simply copied will be returned for rewriting.
YOUR IDEAS ARE RIGHT—no one can criticize your opinions. Someone can disagree with you, or suggest that you need more facts to back up what you are trying to say. Or you may have the facts wrong. But your ideas and opinions are as valid as anyone else's. I do not judge what you say, I evaluate how well you can explain what you believe.
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