Notes on “The Most Dangerous Game” Paper

One of the things that is still occurring are the creeping convention issues that were established early in the year. The big three items of academic writing: avoiding contractions, retaining third person, and  maintaining present tense consistently. These three errors are now beginning to prove more costly as we move into the second half of the term.

Another possible issue related to this paper relates to how much time there was for everyone to internalize and make adjustments between the composing of this paper and the previous one about The Scarlet Letter excerpt. Perhaps there wasn’t enough of a gap between those two assignments because some of the same notes still apply to these essays. Considering that they are both literary analysis essays that makes sense. Nevertheless, progress is being made but there is still a ways to go.

Here are some specific issues related to this paper:

  • Finishing the thesis
    Thesis development is coming along quite well, considering that it has not been a specific focus in class yet. Most everyone has grasped the fundamental three-pronged thesis. Yet, the three items are only part of the recipe. Of the four parts (Topic, Elements, Point, Preview), they are the Elements – the literary devices that will be addressed in the body. What is still a struggle is clarifying and refining a Point. With this batch of essays there were a lot of thesis statements that looked something along the lines of this. 

    In “The Most Dangerous Game,” Richard Connell builds suspense through an ominous setting, evasive characters, and clever omissions.

    This statement seems fine at first glance, clearly establishing the Topic, Elements, and even some of the Preview. However, the Point is not quite finished because there is no reason why Connell uses those devices to build the suspense, for what purpose or end. Thus, simply lifting and tweaking a phrase from the prompt, “to create a greater sense of dread,” actually finishes the original statement quite nicely and strengthens the Point. So a small improvement can make a significant difference.

    In “The Most Dangerous Game,” Richard Connell builds suspense through an ominous setting, evasive characters, and clever omissions to create a greater sense of dread.

  • Integrating the evidence
    Take a look at the Notes on The Scarlett Letter Excerpt Paper or more information about how to do this better.
  • Building more blue
    One of the chief objectives over the last few weeks and papers if centered on how to more fully develop your body paragraphs, generating more depth and detail in the commentary and analysis. There is progress but many are still struggling to push to deeper levels of analysis, which is generated by the kinds of questions that you continue to ask yourself about the material, your main idea for the thesis and each paragraph, the gathered evidence, and even the initial analysis. Remember this is where webbing and an outline can become very helpful tools.
  • Questions as a device
    A number of the papers included faulty attempts to use the question as a rhetorical device. There really is not much place for questions in the analysis of a body paragraph. That is not to say that it can never be used, but it requires a fair degree of subtlety and sophistication of style to work effectively. Moreover, they are better used in introductions and conclusions, rather than in the body of the document. It is a particularly poor attempt when the question posed is never answered, which was the case with most of the uses in this paper. Remember the objective of a literary analysis paper is to answer questions. So craft questions in the prewriting but focus on answering those questions in the essay rather than including them.
  • Forget about the reader
    Take a look at the Notes on The Scarlett Letter Excerpt Paper or more information about focusing more on the text.
  • Muddying matters with mood
    A few papers included an interesting idea of working mood into their analysis, which is not by itself a bad thing. In almost all cases it was linked with the setting and the early exposition of the story. However, unless mood is established in support of the paragraph’s main idea used to build suspense, it simply muddies up the clarity of the paragraph. Mo one made mood a central element that contributed to the building of suspense. Consequently, if it is used at all as a supplementary point, and it is a good one, it has to be included with much greater precision to ensure that the difference between mood and the main idea of the paragraph remain clear.
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November 2010
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Freshmen English

This college preparatory class concentrates thematically on the notion of growth through experience. All the major works in this course have been chosen to illuminate this idea in some fashion. Your analysis of the work will be concerned with exploring this primary theme, as well as additional themes and related questions. In addition, the class will always be concerned with the following overarching questions:

From whose viewpoint and from what angle or perspective are we reading?

How do we know when we know? What is the evidence and how reliable is it?

How are things, events, or people connected to each other?

What is the cause and what is the effect? How do they fit together?

What’s new and what’s old? Have we run across this idea?

So what? What does it matter? What does it all mean?


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